'Shock and Awe' Fifteen Years Later

Fifteen years ago Monday night, President George W. Bush announced coalition forces had launched a "shock and awe" bombing campaign in Baghdad.

Just last week, another seven U.S. military members were killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

Six months after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. forces were already entrenched in Afghanistan when President Bush warned Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

“We have no ambition in Iraq except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people,” Bush told a national audience.

“Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly, yet our purpose is sure,” he added.  “The people of the United States and their friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder.”

Though President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished” onboard and aircraft carrier 43 days, he initially hinted at an open-ended post-war.

“A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict,” he told America.  “And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.”

Fifteen years later, national security expert Ed Turzanski calls the war an unfortunate black cloud that still hangs over Bush's presidency.

“The task of transforming that totalitarian tribal society into a stable, peaceful self-governing democracy was a hell of a lot more difficult than the Bush administration or its supporters understood,” he says.

Still, Turzanski says it was President Barack Obama's premature withdrawl that lingers today.

“It is an object lesson in making sure that when you're going to plan something this ambitious, you really perform much greater due diligence to make sure that you have the right people and right circumstance.”

If not for the Iraq War, Turzanski believes Obama may never have been elected.

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