6 Years of Iraq War Photos
Yesterday, as was noted here and there, was the 6th anniversary of the United States invasion of Iraq. That we’re still there after so many years is remarkable — depending on who’s counting, it’s the second longest war in American history — but the number 6 isn’t one we pay much attention to. We like round numbers and multiples of 5.
Anyway, TPM has created an interesting photo gallery (“6 Years in Iraq: A Timeline in Images”) commemorating the milestones of our involvement there with images. They’re worth a look.
In the early going, it sure looked like these would be the iconic photographs:
As time went on, these seemed more likely to be the images history remembered the war by:
Soon, though, this looked like a strong possibility:
I’m not so sure anymore. The war-as-war has largely gone off the radar screen. Indeed, while it was the issue that put OTB on the map, weeks go by now when I don’t write about it. That’s the nature of it having gone from a mostly kinetic operation to a counterinsurgency/stability mission.
So what’s going to be the defining image of the war looking back from, say, 2020?
I believe reasonable people can look at that ledger (or a more complete version of it) and conclude that the Iraq war was not worth it. I also believe reasonable people can look at that ledger and conclude that the Iraq war was a defensible gamble or even the right decision. However, I do not think that reasonable people can seriously look at that ledger and conclude, as so much of the angry-shout part of the commentariat does, that all of the evidence stacks up on only one side of the balance sheet.
Six years into this long war, it is high time we started having an honest debate about it, and that honesty requires a great deal more humility, on both sides of the debate, about the decisions that were made and the paths that were not taken.
Not likely, I’m afraid.