« Dozens Dead, Wounded After Wave of Attacks in Iraq | Main | Obama New Year Greeting to Iranian People Includes Warning »

Gen. Dempsey: Iraq War Gave Iraqi People 'An Incredible Opportunity'

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The nation’s top military officer suggested the decision to invade Iraq 10 years ago on Tuesday was probably worthwhile despite some serious missteps that occurred during the war.

Speaking Monday at a forum hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said while the debate on whether it was the right choice should continue, the U.S. did Iraq and the world an enormous favor by deposing Saddam Hussein, who was ultimately captured and executed by the people he once terrorized.

Dempsey said that eliminating Hussein gave “the Iraqi people an incredible opportunity” although “it remains to be seen, still, about how strong a partner they are willing [to] and can become.  But we have a partner.”

The invasion of Iraq was undertaken on the presumption that Hussein had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction he would either use directly against the U.S. or pass along to terrorists.  It wasn’t long before the military and the rest of the world realized Iraq had no WMDs, which raised questions on whether the war was launched on false pretenses.

Dempsey didn’t discuss the controversy nor other criticisms of the U.S. mission that included the abuse of detainees at Abu Grahib prison and how the Bush administration underestimated the strength of the insurgency in Iraq that dragged out what was supposed to have been a relatively quick occupation.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio