George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in March 2003 was a tragic error. It was compounded by his follow-on decision to install Western-style democracy, and the ensuing military occupation that entailed. The tragic loss of life, the instability, the sectarian strife, and the rise of ISIS are all in many respects attributable to those decisions. Over four thousand American soldiers had been killed in Iraq by the time Bush left office, and over thirty thousand wounded. Iraqi deaths exceeded 100,000. Another two million Iraqis had fled to other countries. And the direct military cost to the United States approached $ 600 billion. In the immediate aftermath of 9/ 11, America’s international prestige had rarely been higher. When Bush left office in 2009, respect for the United States had rarely been lower.
Jean Edward Smith, from his book ‘Bush’