Four years later, as a vicious anti-occupation insurgency in Iraq erupted into a full-blown civil war, China again expressed its displeasure with the operation, blasting the U.S. for "flagrant abuses of human rights" and "violation of sovereignty" in the country.
And yet, despite these (and many similar) statements, it's worth pointing out that one of the grim ironies of the Iraq War was this: no country, with the possible exception of Iran, benefited more from it than China.
Before we begin, it's worth acknowledging that there's something more than a little gauche about declaring a "winner" in the Iraq War, which, as our James Fallows writes, surely ranks as one of the greatest strategic blunders in American history. For the United States, the Iraq War led to the death of almost 4,500 soldiers and injury of 30,000 others, cost over $1 trillion, and failed to establish a thriving, capitalist democracy in the country. For the Iraqi people, the costs have been far higher: over 100,000 civilians lost their lives during the conflict, and over 2 million others sought refuge in other countries.