The New York TimesThe New York Times

20 years on, a question lingers about Iraq: Why did the U.S. invade?

By Max Fisher

18 Mar 2023 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

A compelling investigation into the U.S. invasion of Iraq, revealing an intricate web of intelligence failures, political maneuvering, and public opinion that paved the way for the war.

There is a question about the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq that, 20 years later, remains a matter of deep uncertainty and debate among historians, political scientists and even officials who helped set the war in motion.

It’s not the war’s toll in American military deaths (about 4,600) or Iraqi lives (estimates generally fall around 300,000 or more killed directly by fighting). Nor the financial cost to the United States ($815 billion, not counting indirect costs like lost productivity).

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