In relation to Iraq, the U.S. is presented as earnest and noble here — concurrently with Iran being presented as malevolent and greedy. The invasion of Iraq is one of the crimes of the century, and no reasonable person thinks that the invasion was done to spread “democracy.” Is that really what a few hundred thousand people died in the war for?
When the United States invaded Iraq 14 years ago to topple Saddam Hussein, it saw Iraq as a potential cornerstone of a democratic and Western-facing Middle East, and vast amounts of blood and treasure — about 4,500 American lives lost, more than $1 trillion spent — were poured into the cause.
From Day 1, Iran saw something else: a chance to make a client state of Iraq, a former enemy against which it fought a war in the 1980s so brutal, with chemical weapons and trench warfare, that historians look to World War I for analogies. If it succeeded, Iraq would never again pose a threat, and it could serve as a jumping-off point to spread Iranian influence around the region.