A debate has been raging in some circles over whether the war's disasters were avoidable or inevitable. Would a smarter U.S. strategy have produced a more stable Iraq? Or were the long-suppressed sectarian feuds destined to gush forth like a geyser, no matter how we tried to control them, once Saddam was blown from his throne?
A better question provoked by this new Army Field Manual: Should we follow the authors' advice in the hope of waging a better counterinsurgency the next time around? Or should we give up these sorts of wars as futile and—do what instead?
A version of this piece appears in the Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Self-Made Man
The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is
Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?
The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment
Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister
Now Stare. Don’t Stop.
The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.
You Deserve a Pre-cation
The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.