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With the land of the two rivers, Iraq and Syria, now a wasteland of human suffering and rubble, the Report of the Iraq Inquiry, commonly known as the Chilcot Report (after its chairman, Sir John Chilcot), has aimed to help explain how we got here.The first, offered by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, that the world would be much worse today had Iraqi President Saddam Hussein been left in power.To academic observers and others who reported from Iraq at the time, as I did, Saddam was a prototypical regional bully.By December 2001, the Bush administration was considering attacking Iraq, too.Still, leading administration figures were determined to wage war on Iraq, so they manufactured a justification: the threat of WMDs.The damage from regime change in Iraq has been substantial. According to the Chilcot Report, at least 150,000 Iraqis (and possibly four times that number) have been killed in the years since the invasion, and an estimated 3 million people have been displaced from their homes. One can only guess what the world would look like had the 2003 invasion never occurred. An aging Saddam might still rule, but he would pose little threat, except to his own people.
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