In 2003 came the decision, that retrospectively, can only be viewed as a titanic failure, even though many activists of the time were able to come to this conclusion prospectively, even before the first battalions were deployed. This failure effectively minified the Afghanistan war to merely serve as a prelude for the Middle Eastern crisis that was to come. It’s self evident that, had it been successfully executed, pursuing the Taliban would have been the correct foreign policy decision in Afghanistan, even if the priority should have been Al Qaeda in Iraq. What does not constitute good foreign policy however is invading Iraq on the false pretence of chemical weapons, and even more frighteningly, in George W. Bush’s case, the misguided notion that such destruction could lead to the deaths of Gog and Magog, biblical desert dwelling demons allegedly hiding out in the plains of Central Asia. As farcical and satirical as this sounds, French President, Jacques Chirac actually claims this was the way that Bush tried to entice him to join the war, by playing into his Christian values and offering him the scalp of a scriptural yeti.
In Saddam Hussein we had a politically secular leader that we usurped of power and as far as I can tell this was merely for the benefit of obtaining oil. Hussein was an awful person and Iraq at the time seemed to resemble a nepotistic bloodbath with regards to the Governmental blind spot to continual rape, torture and murder on the part of his psychopathic sons. This doesn’t serve as justification for the invasion but it does show that we didn’t rob Iraq of a sovereign Government and prosperous society. However, it certainly seems a fair analysis to recognise bad foreign policy may just have exacerbated the issue. Blaming Iraqi representatives for the ensuing conflict is like going to your neighbours’ house, knocking a hornet’s nest out of their tree and then blaming them for not dealing with the swarm appropriately, when seemingly, they had the measure of the situation. It’s clear that the task becomes far more challenging after the commencement of chaos. By the time we left in 2011, hundreds of thousands of civilians had been sacrificed as collateral and virtually no progress had been made in developing Iraqi culture beyond the practice of honour killings and pious gangbanging. Today, the situation is worse than at the start of the century, our misbegotten policy led to the rise of the Islamic state and much like Afghanistan, the tussle against theocracy rages on.