Howard's Alan McPherson says we should locate the precedents for Iraq in past American imperial ventures in Latin America:
Unfortunately, that ancient lesson has evidently been completely forgotten — even though it is most salient. What is Iraq now was Latin America then, a time and place where the force of the United States as an invading power was considered at least as powerful as it is today.
Whether in Haiti or elsewhere, Americans back then believed that they were top dog — and, after invading, could fix up a place like that rather quickly. Little did they know then… Little do we know now…
Greg Grandin's Empire's Workshop made a related argument.