That monumental vote enabled what is arguably the biggest strategic foreign policy blunder in American history, needlessly killing hundreds of thousands and costing trillions of dollars. To this day, the United States is still militarily engaged in Iraq and Syria, dealing with the continued fallout of Bush’s decision to invade back in 2003. For decades to come, the United States will spend tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars caring for American service members wounded both mentally and physically in that conflict.
If you think the U.S. government learned its lesson from this tragedy, think again.
Former Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) was one of just 29 senators—all Democrats—who voted against the Iraq war authorization in October 2002. Last year, he issued a stark warning:
If an administration again pounds the drums for war and the media reacted as they did [during the run-up to the Iraq war], without serious thought, with just a visceral emotional response rather than thinking critically and seriously and responsibly, I don’t think what happened in Iraq will unfortunately matter very much. I wish I could say to you something else.
Well it just so happens that an administration is pounding the war drums again, and the media is playing right along.
Trump’s Approach to Iran
Team Trump showed its hand in the early days of the administration when then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn randomly stormed into the White House press room to put Iran “on notice” (for what, it was unclear, but in any event, Iran was on notice). Soon after, the Trump administration began its quest to dismantle the Obama administration’s legacy of working through differences with Iran diplomatically and to put the United States back on the path to war.
While Trump began signaling his desire to leave the historic nuclear deal, administration officials started dialing up the bellicose rhetoric. Later that year, then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo pushed the baseless narrative that Iran is in cahoots with al-Qaeda.