I've written so extensively about Iraq since the start of the 2003 war that I can cite four major landmark events that helped to doom the effort as a complete failure. Washington certainly could have avoided any of these problems, but chose not to. Now we all live with the consequences.
February 28, 1991: The first Gulf War in Iraq ends with the unconditional surrender of the government of Saddam Hussein. The first Bush Administration chose not to bring Saddam Hussein down at this time or to place him under arrest and put him on trial for his crimes against the Kurds and his own people because of pressure from Saudi Arabia which wanted his Sunni leadership to continue in Iraq. The United States missed the best opportunity for a peaceful transition of the government in Iraq that could have provided safety and security. There was also strong support from the international community and U.N. at the time that would have helped to make this peaceful transition to a post-Saddam government a success at that time.
March 20, 2003: Operation Iraqi Freedom: After missing the first opportunity to peacefully change the Saddam Hussein government in Iraq in 1991, the second Bush Administration engaged in a second war in the nation with little international support that heavily ruined the government infrastructure in "shock and awe" extensive bombing, disbanded the Iraqi military, and failed to secure massive ammo dumps all throughout Iraq that provided insurgents with the needed materials to wage continued war and build roadside bombs. The U.S. should have been concerned about the previous failure in Iraq by the British occupation that spanned from 1922-1958 that was marked by heavy sectarian tensions and insurgent activity. The violent revolt in 1958 finally forced the British to leave Iraq.
July 2, 2003: "Bring Them On": President Bush challenges insurgents to attack American forces setting up a challenge that encouraged Sunni insurgents, Al Qaeda and foreign fighters as well as Saudi Arabia and Iran to begin pouring money, arms and combatants into Iraq raising American deaths and creating a "test of wills" conflict between U.S. troops and a wide range of insurgent fighters. This also heightened sectarian fighting between the Shiiite and Sunni communities and dramatically worsened Iraqi civilian deaths as well.
January 30 2005: Legislative Elections In Iraq: Under the U.S. appointed leadership of secular Shiite, Dr. Ayad Allawi, who first served as the head of the Iraq Interim Governing Council, gave Iraq had it's best hope to construct a modern society that was based on secular reconciliation between the Shiite and Sunni community. However, it was the misguided doctrine of the Bush Administration to push for democratic elections in Iraq, a nation that never had any traditions in democracy, that only worsened sectarian tensions and brought the Shiite religious extremists and the ineffective Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki government into power.
The fatal problems that developed under these landmark mistakes in Iraq have only helped to fuel the sectarian tensions, provided the insurgents a supply of explosives and weapons, and encouraged foreign fighters and the flow of money and arms by Saudi Arabia and Iran into Iraq. More than anything, this American experience in Iraq failed due to these four landmark events.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!