A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.~ GEORGE W. BUSH (February 2003)It was predestined that the American adventure in Iraq -- which was the wrong war at the wrong time and in the wrong place -- would end badly, and that becomes even more obvious with the last U.S. combat troops gone.
By way of review:
The vice president in effect declared war.
International support, predicated on doctored intelligence, was tepid.
Generals who pleaded for more troops were ignored -- or fired.
Americans were not greeted by Iraqis with flowers.
The war was not over by Christmas 2003.
Attempts at forming a new government at point of gun failed and a long occupation began.
A bloody civil war, propelled in part by a home-grown insurgency, ensued.
A new government eventually was formed but it's leader was and remains a corrupt Shiite thug.
An already unstable region was further roiled as sectarian hatred washed over Iraq's porous borders.
Yet another new government is about to be formed that may confirm minority Sunnis' worst fear -- an alliance between Maliki and Sadr.
Meanwhile, Iran, with its arch enemy Saddam Hussein conveniently removed, insinuated itself into Iraq's political and civic power structure, fed the Shiite militias and consolidated it's role as the dominant regional power.
Long story short, George Bush's words ring even more hollow today than when he uttered them seven and a half years ago.
The war mongering Dick Cheney seems inept at best and possibly criminally culpable at worst.
Saddam Hussein is revered in many Arab countries as a martyr.
And Iran is more powerful than ever.Photograph by Chris Hondros/Getty Images