The American public's skepticism of whether the U.S. invasion should have been launched in the first place began to increase as the occupation continued and the number of American casualties continued to spike.
Ten years after the start of the war, a majority of Americans now believe the war in Iraq was not worth the cost. An ABC News-Washington Post poll released this week showed 58 percent of those polled believed the war in Iraq was not worth the fight.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, served three years in Iraq and he believes it was worth fighting. During an appearance Monday at a Washington think-tank, he said the invasion and the occupation were worth the cost because they provided the Iraqi people with "an incredible opportunity" and has provided the United States "with a partner, not an adversary."
Dempsey said he understands that the debate about the war continues. "It will go on and should go on," Dempsey said. "We should always be introspective about the things we do.
"There is no longer the strong man, the dictator and the threat to the region by the name of Saddam Hussein that there was."
He said the war gave "the Iraqi people an incredible opportunity" and whether that path was "a clean path" or "one fraught with missteps, opportunities gained, opportunities lost, the point is we really did give them an opportunity.
"And today we have in Iraq, we have a partner, not an adversary," he added.
In an interview with ABC News' Martha Raddatz, retired General Peter Chiarelli, the number-two U.S. general in Iraq as the sectarian violence exploded , said he has "got to believe" that the war in Iraq was worth the sacrifice the United States made.
Chiarelli recalls writing more than 500 letters to the families of fallen U.S. service members in 2006 as the sectarian violence in Iraq spun out of control.
He said he saw things "no one should ever see" as the violence increased in 2006.
"We saw murders every single night. We didn't really see them at night, we saw them in the mornings when we went on patrol," he said. "We would find men with hands tied behind their back and shot between the eyes, and there were days where we would find a hundred bodies out in the streets of Baghdad."
Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki was recently quoted as having said the U.S. effort helped establish democracy in his country.
In the Special Inspector General for Iraqi Reconstruction's final report on the haphazard U.S. reconstruction effort, Maliki is described as concluding an interview with their "gratefully, observing that the reconstruction program contributed to an ultimately successful U.S. effort to establish democracy in Iraq."