The U.S. military lost the Iraq War. If you don’t credit that judgement, consider the view of the fairly conservative Christian Science Monitor:
The ISIS [militant so-called ‘terrorist’ Islamicist group active in both Syria and Iraq] victory is a signature moment – evidence that ISIS can’t be dismissed as merely a ragtag group of insurgents who may be able to hold their own in Syria, but would be unlikely to take and hold ground from Iraqi forces. The US spent more than $14 billion on training and equipping Iraqi security forces. When US forces left Iraq at the end of 2011 (because Maliki refused to sign an agreement extending US military involvement), US politicians and military leaders spoke of how the Iraqis were ready to stand on their own, how the seeds of political reconciliation had been sown by a war that cost more than $2 trillion, 4,486 American lives, and more than 100,000 Iraqi ones.
“We remember the surge and we remember the Awakening when the abyss of chaos turned toward the promise of reconciliation…. In handing over responsibility to the Iraqis, you preserved the gains of the last four years and made this day possible,” President Barack Obama said in a speech to troops shortly before the withdrawal. “In an area that was once the heart of the insurgency, a combination of fighting and training, politics and partnership brought the promise of peace.”
Notice if you will that even in a news outlet that counts 100,000 dead Iraqis in place of the well-documtented over a million, the hollow rhetoric of Barry the Bullshitter Obama is highlighted. As for the well-informed but insufficiently obsequious Juan Cole, he says:
It is an indictment of the George W. Bush administration, which falsely said it was going into Iraq because of a connection between al-Qaeda and Baghdad. There was none. Ironically, by invading, occupying, weakening and looting Iraq, Bush and Cheney brought al-Qaeda into the country and so weakened it as to allow it actually to take and hold territory in our own time. They put nothing in place of the system they tore down. They destroyed the socialist economy without succeeding in building private firms or commerce. They put in place an electoral system that emphasizes religious and ethnic divisions. They helped provoke a civil war in 2006-2007, and took credit for its subsiding in 2007-2008, attributing it to a troop escalation of 30,000 men (not very plausible). In fact, the Shiite militias won the civil war on the ground, turning Baghdad into a largely Shiite city and expelling many Sunnis to places like Mosul.
The future of the Fertile Crescent, the origin of civilization, looks, according to Professor Cole, as follows: