Ten Years Later, What Really Went Wrong in Iraq? 

Slate's online video magazine.
March 8 2013 7:04 AM

The Road Not Traveled in Iraq

Ten years after the Iraq invasion, a diplomatic insider reminds why it didn’t have to go the way it did.

Ten years ago this month—March 20, 2003, to be precise—U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq on a mission to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. Tens of thousands of people were killed in the war, including more than 4,000 U.S. service members. In the years since the invasion, several books have been written about the suspect rationale for the war: the notion that intelligence reports showed Saddam Hussein had a ready arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. But for some, there are even bigger questions.

Carne Ross was Britain’s leading United Nations Security Council diplomat in the years before the war, and he later testified that the intelligence did not show that Saddam’s Iraq had WMD capability. Further, Ross says that even if you believed that Hussein and his repressive regime were a threat that needed to be neutralized, going to war was not the best option even at the time. That’s the subject of our latest episode of The World Decrypted.

Ross expanded upon his argument about alternatives to war in Iraq in his then-secret testimony to the U.K.’s first official inquiry into the war, the so-called Butler Review. You can read his evidence and the story of how he gave it on his blog.

Advertisement

The question of what happened to the infamous WMD is covered in this U.S. government report by Charles Duelfer, a former U.N. weapons inspector and CIA official. The detailed report includes information about sanctions-busting in Iraq. 

Ross does not argue that there should have been tighter sanctions on Iraq—just better-targeted ones against the regime because the comprehensive economic sanctions largely punished the Iraqi civilian population. This was chronicled in David Rieff’s powerful 2003 article in the New York Times Magazine.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.