Twenty years after Iraq was invaded by a “coalition of the willing,” led by the United States under former President George W. Bush, the devastation left by the long war that followed is still evident in some parts of the country.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died between 2003 and 2011 when coalition forces withdrew from the country, leaving behind an unstable situation and a country torn by sectarian strife.
Looking back, some of the statements made when the US, strongly supported by its close ally the UK, tried to convince the world that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, along with others made as the war progressed, they seem ironic today.
On September 24, 2002, then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair told the British House of Commons that the WMD claims were true and that action in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein was imperative. declaring: “Of course, there is no doubt that Iraq, the region and the entire world would be better off without Saddam.”
The United States entered the conflict with confidence, as shown by comments by Donald Rumsfeld, then US Secretary of Defense, to CBS Radio Connect, who said on November 14, 2002: “The Gulf War (the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq) in the 1990s lasted for five days. on the floor. I can’t tell you if the use of force in Iraq today would last for five days or five weeks or five months. But it’s certainly not going to last longer than that.”
But the war dragged on as Iraqis fought the occupation, and sectarian tensions were exacerbated by the conditions.
Nearly six years later, on December 1, 2008, Bush told ABC’s World News: “The biggest regret of the entire presidency must have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. Many people risked his reputation and said that weapons of mass destruction are a reason to remove Saddam Hussein.”
Here are some other notable quotes from the war in Iraq, some illustrating what happened while others underscore the futility of the war.