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What We Learned in Iraq

 Coined by American military officers, it encapsulated a situation in which everything went right until everything went wrong. The term was "catastrophic success."

But before the war began, supporters were bursting with confidence. Vice President Dick Cheney predicted that "we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." The Pentagon expected to withdraw most troops by summer's end. Reconstruction would be a bargain because Iraq would pay for it with oil revenues.

Wrong, wrong and wrong again. By the time we finally left Iraq, more than eight years had elapsed, 4,486 Americans had died and $1.7 trillion had gone up the chimney. Despite our success in removing Saddam Hussein from power, the Iraq war stands as the nation's most grievous foreign policy blunder since Vietnam.

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