The U.S. invasion of Iraq: 20 years later

Camp Taji, Iraq, US and Iraqi soldiers in joint training

Soldiers from the U.S. Army 25th Infantry Division, Iraqi army, and local Iraqi police in joint training at Camp Taji, Iraq, April 7, 2008.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq: 20 years later

Eric Edelman, Melvyn Leffler, Philip Zelikow, Ashley Deeks (moderator)

Tuesday, March 28, 2023
11:00AM - 12:00PM (EDT)
Event Details

A panel of foreign policy experts marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq by discussing Melvyn P. Leffler’s new book, Confronting Saddam Hussein: George W. Bush and the Invasion of Iraq. Looking back, what does this highly consequential foreign policy decision reveal about presidential leadership and decision making? How did Saddam Hussein's record as a brutal dictator influence the decisions made by George W. Bush? Leffler's extensive interviews with top Bush administration policymakers document the war's conflicting objectives and costly aftermath.

Ashley Deeks, a former White House associate counsel and deputy legal adviser to the National Security Council, moderates the conversation with Melvyn P. Leffler, the Edward Stettinius Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia; Eric Edelman, principal deputy assistant for national security affairs under former Vice President Cheney; and Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 Commission.


Tuesday, March 28, 2023
11:00AM - 12:00PM (EDT)
The Miller Center
2201 Old Ivy Rd
Charlottesville, VA
Eric Edelman headshot

Eric Edelman

Eric Edelman, a Miller Center practitioner senior fellow, retired as a career minister from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2009 after having served in senior positions at the Departments of State and Defense as well as the White House. As the undersecretary of defense for policy (2005–2009), he oversaw strategy development as the Defense Department’s senior policy official with global responsibility for bilateral defense relations, war plans, special operations forces, homeland defense, missile defense, nuclear weapons and arms control policies, counter-proliferation, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, arms sales, and defense trade controls. Edelman served as U.S. ambassador to the Republics of Finland and Turkey in the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and was principal deputy assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney for national security affairs.

Mel Leffler headshot

Melvyn Leffler

Melvyn Leffler is an historian and educator, currently Edward Stettinius Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He is the winner of numerous awards, including the Bancroft Prize for his book A Preponderance of Power: National Security, the Truman Administration and the Cold War, and the American Historical Association's George Louis Beer Prize for his book For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. Leffler has served on advisory committees to the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency and was chairman of the department of history and dean of the UVA College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. In 2014, the University of Virginia gave him its Thomas Jefferson Award for excellence in scholarship. The Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations honored him in 2012 for lifetime achievement and service.

Philip Zelikow headshot

Philip Zelikow

Philip Zelikow is the White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the Miller Center, where he has also served as director. He was also the dean of the graduate school at the University of Virginia. His work has focused on critical episodes in American and world history. His federal service during five administrations has included positions in the White House, State Department, and Pentagon. His last full-time government position was as the counselor of the Department of State, a deputy to Secretary Condoleezza Rice. He directed a short-lived federal agency, the 9/11 Commission. He is one of the few individuals ever to serve on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Boards for presidents of both parties, in the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Ashley Deeks headshot

Ashley Deeks (moderator)

Ashley Deeks, a Miller Center faculty senior fellow, is the Class of 1948 Professor of Scholarly Research in Law at the University of Virginia. Her primary research and teaching interests are international law, national security, intelligence, and the laws of war. She is a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on International Law, and she serves as a senior contributor to the Lawfare blog. Deeks served in the Biden administration as White House associate counsel and deputy legal advisor to the National Security Council.