Opinion: Inside Saddam Hussein's 'chamber of horrors,' I reflect on 20 years since the Iraq War

Sulaymaniyah, Iraq CNN —Two decades ago, on March 19, 2003, then-President George W. Bush ordered the US invasion of Iraq.
The museum is a chamber of horrors showcasing the cells where prisoners were tortured by electrical shocks and had the soles of their feet beaten so they couldn’t walk.
Small twinkling lights on the ceiling represent the 4,500 villages in the region that Saddam’s forces also destroyed.
So, when Saddam was toppled by the Americans two decades ago, at least some Iraqis were happy.
And Iraq today has made some strides to a more accountable political system compared to its neighbors in the Middle East.
Iraq has held several elections since the US invasion in 2003 that were followed by peaceful transfers of power.
Uncomfortable similarities with Russia’s invasion todayThe Iraq War also set a precedent for unprovoked wars that we see playing out in Ukraine today, which the Russians are already using to good effect.
Of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s’ conduct of the war in Ukraine is orders of magnitude more brutal than the American war in Iraq.
Also, Putin’s forces are attacking a democratic state, while, in Iraq, Bush ordered an invasion that toppled a dictatorship.
Putin justifies his war in Ukraine by claiming that it isn’t a “real” country and should be subsumed into Russia.
Also, neither the Iraq War nor the war in Ukraine have had much in the way of international support.
In the museum dedicated to Saddam’s crimes against his own people, you feel the weight of his brutality.