Donald Trump still says the Iraq War is a major cause of Mideast problems.
I’m sorry, but this is nonsense. The Middle East was not stable with Saddam in power, and the present instability is far more related to the Arab Spring and the American pullout from post-Surge Iraq than it is to the initial decision to invade. In 2009, Barack Obama inherited a Middle East where American and Iraqi forces had crushed the al-Qaeda insurgency, Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi was effectively neutralized — agreeing months after Saddam fell to abandon his own WMD stockpiles — and Iran’s power was checked in part by the presence of American combat troops next door.
First, let’s dispense with the absurd notion that with Saddam Hussein still in power, “you wouldn’t have the problems you have right now.” From 1980, when he launched his war with Iran, until the fall of his regime in 2003, there were few greater agents of instability in the world (much less the Middle East) than Hussein. He invaded his neighbors, gassed his people, built up a vast stockpile of chemical weapons, supported terrorism, and triggered multiple military confrontations with the U.S., including Operation Desert Storm — the largest American military deployment since Vietnam. Even when he was allegedly “contained” — walled in by no-fly zones, hampered by sanctions, and subject to periodic bombing raids — he still fomented regional discord.
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