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.

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.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Sept. 21 2014 11:00 AM Sometimes You Just Need to Print Your Photos the Old-Fashioned Way 
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
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.