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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

A war’s misleading anniversary

Ten years since the start of the Iraq war: a military buildup sold as a way of preventing a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; an invasion based on inconclusive evidence whose gaps were interpreted in ways most favorable to combat; a false victory symbolized by a “mission accomplished” sign on a jet carrier; a vigorous insurrection costing the lives of thousands of American troops; a surge whose success is still being debated today; and then, at long last, an exit.

That, in a nutshell, summarizes a war whose most definitive lesson was pithily summed up by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates: Any president who wants to send a big American land army to the Middle East again, Gates said, should “have his head examined.”

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