One of my favorite maxims about history is that fools learn from experience, while the wise learn from history.

But if you want to predict the consequences of the imminent Israeli ground operation into Gaza, you only need to look at my experience to learn something. Between January and July 2004, I was in Baghdad, where I witnessed the reasons behind the failure of the U.S. war against Iraq.

Israel’s likely attack on Gaza and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which started in March 2003, have three points in common. First, both conflicts began without the invading force deciding how to control the area once the fighting is over. Second, Israel is going to war virtually unprepared and fueled mainly by hatred and emotion, just like the U.S. a decade ago. And finally, the decision to start the war was not preceded by a thorough consultation with the parties and experts involved.