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August 31st, 2010
10:10 AM ET

Bergen: Mission accomplished in Iraq?

Peter Bergen | BIO
CNN National Security Analyst

Peter Bergen says Iraq war has been enormously costly.
Peter Bergen says Iraq war has been enormously costly.

Editor's note: Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst, is a fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington-based think tank that promotes innovative thought from across the ideological spectrum, and at New York University's Center on Law and Security. He's the author of "The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader."

Washington (CNN) - On May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, President George W. Bush announced "major combat operations" in Iraq had ended. The defeat of Saddam Hussein, he told the American people, was "a crucial advance in the campaign against terror."

For the umpteenth time, Bush bracketed Saddam and the 9/11 attack. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September 11th, 2001, and still goes on."

The president went to describe the 9/11 attacks - "the last phone calls, the cold murder of children, the searches in the rubble" - as if this had any bearing on the Iraq War.

The president also made the definitive statement that Saddam was "an ally of al Qaeda," something that his own intelligence agencies had determined was not the case before the war.

Now seven long years later, another president will again announce that the U.S. combat mission is over in Iraq, which is a good moment to ask: Was the Iraq War somehow post facto worth the blood and treasure consumed?

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Filed under: Iraq • Opinion • Peter Bergen
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