The Many Lives and Deaths of Iraq, as Witnessed by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

Amidst massive protests around the United States and the world, on March 19, 2003, the U.S. began its invasion of Iraq. This week on Intercepted, Jeremy Scahill, Murtaza Hussain, and Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad discuss the long-lasting impact of the war on Iraq and its people. Throughout the 20 years since the invasion, Iraq was torn to shreds by a gratuitous American occupation and a U.S.-fueled sectarian civil war. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died as U.S. policy gave rise to Al Qaeda — and ultimately the Islamic State in Iraq.

While many commemorations of this bloody anniversary focus on the 2003 invasion, the plans to destroy Iraq were launched much earlier and were supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. Scahill, Hussain, and Abdul-Ahad discuss life under Saddam Hussein, the lead-up to the U.S. invasion, the brutality of the occupation, and the systematic refusal to bring any accountability for those responsible.

“Of course, the Iraqis could not believe that their new colonial masters had no clue, had done no planning and made no preparations for what was going to happen after they invaded the country,” Abdul-Ahad writes in his new book, “A Stranger in Your Own City: Travels in the Middle East’s Long War.” “When the myth of an American-generated prosperity clashed with the realities of occupation, chaos and destruction followed. Resentment and anger swept the country and all the suppressed rage of the previous decades exploded.”

Abdul-Ahad shares stories from his deeply human reporting on his personal journey from an architect living in Baghdad to a celebrated international journalist documenting the rise and fall of ISIS.

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