The Iraq War: What Has It Cost? What Are the Lessons?

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As bombs began falling on Baghdad 10 years ago today, American troops crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq. In just six weeks, the Bush Administration went from "shock and awe" to "Mission Accomplished." But combat raged for another eight years and it's estimated that at least 100,000 Iraqis were killed. Some estimates are in multiples of that number. In Iraq on this tenth anniversary of the US-led invasion, a dozen car bombs and suicide blasts tore into Shiite Muslim districts across Baghdad itself and near the city, killing more than 50 people. More than half of Americans now think the war was a mistake. Was it a failure of intelligence? The lack of an exit plan? Was Saddam Hussein the wrong enemy? What will it ultimately cost the US — in prestige as well as in money? And what's next for a ruined Iraq, with a fragile democracy beset by continuing violence?

Banner image: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters