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Iraq then and now: Reflections from NBC's Richard Engel
Iraq then and now: Reflections from NBC's Richard Engel | GZERO World

Iraq then and now: Reflections from NBC's Richard Engel

As a young freelance journalist, Richard Engel was one of the only US TV journalists to broadcast from Baghdad throughout the US-led invasion of Iraq. On the 20th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent, shares the story of how he ended up reporting on the ground and what he saw after troops arrived.

Despite limited access for journalists, Engel was able to get into Iraq by applying "human shield" visa and entered the country under the guise of a peace activist. What he found upon arrival was a population beaten down by years of dictatorship, and a choatic, disorganized government. As the invasion began, more and more people came out of the shadows, and expressed their joy that “ Americans were coming in and getting rid of Saddam,” according to Engel.

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Iraq War's legacy: Loss of lives, rise of ISIS, & political turmoil
Iraq War's legacy: Loss of lives, rise of ISIS, & political turmoil | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

Iraq War's legacy: Loss of lives, rise of ISIS, & political turmoil

On the 20th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq, US Senator Tammy Duckworth and NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel sit down with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to reflect on the legacy of a war that reshaped the Middle East and continues to reverberate around the world.

Senator Duckworth, a former helicopter pilot who lost both her legs in the Iraq War and now sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She emphasizes the importance of honoring the promises made to veterans and the impact it has military readiness. "The cost of going to war isn't just the tanks, the guns, the helicopters, and the ammunition during the period of actual conflict," Duckworth says, "The cost of war goes on for many decades."

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Richard Engel on Iraq, Ukraine, and the danger of 'wars of choice'
Richard Engel on Iraq, Ukraine, and the danger of 'wars of choice' | GZERO World

Richard Engel on Iraq, Ukraine, and the danger of 'wars of choice'

Richard Engel, NBC's Chief Foreign Correspondent, was one of the few US TV journalists on the ground in Baghdad when the US-led invasion of Iraq began in 2003. Engel joins GZERO World to reflect on his experience covering the Iraq War as a freelance journalist, and what lessons he took away as he covers other global conflicts, like the war in Ukraine.

Engel recounts the lead-up to the war in 2003, when it was very difficult to enter Iraq, and how he ended up getting into the country on a "human shield" visa. Once inside, he found a population that was beaten down by years of dictatorship, and a chaotic, disorganized government. While many Iraqis expressed their joy that "Americans were coming in and getting rid of Saddam," it got ugly very quickly. The Bush Administration made a lot of mistakes, and there was lingering resentment from the Sunni Muslim community, which led to anger and animosity.

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From Iraq to Ukraine: Reflections on "wars of choice"
Iraq/Ukraine: The problem with "wars of choice" | NBC News' Richard Engel | GZERO World

From Iraq to Ukraine: Reflections on "wars of choice"

In their discussion on GZERO World, Ian Bremmer and NBC's chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, delve into the lessons that can be gleaned from the Iraq war in light of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Engel's key takeaway is to avoid “a war of choice,” as resistance from the invaded people can make the situation worse.

Drawing parallels with Iraq, he notes that “Ukraine is also a war of choice for Russia,” despite the perception of an existential crisis. Unlike Iraq, the situation in Ukraine has a clear narrative of one country trying to occupy another.

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Podcast: The costs of invading Iraq: Sen. Tammy Duckworth & Richard Engel assess war's lasting effects, 20 years later

Transcript

Listen: It's been 20 years since the US-led invasion of Iraq began. Can we say the world is any better off? Despite its official end over a decade ago, the war still casts a long shadow––the loss of countless Iraqi lives, the emergence of ISIS, and continued political turmoil and sectarian violence in the region. Moreover, the war significantly damaged the United States' credibility, making it difficult to gather global support against current threats such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On the GZERO World podcast, Ian Bremmer interviews US Senator Tammy Duckworth and NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel. Their firsthand experiences and perspectives offer a more profound comprehension of the intricate legacy of the Iraq War and its implications for international politics.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

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