Where do you start on this subject? There are so many places to go. We could discuss the complicity of the American press in some of the worst decisions made by any President, or the idiocy of that moment four years ago where “GI” W. landed on an aircraft carrier in a fighter jet where he declared Mission Accomplished, or the fact that thousands of Americans have lost their lives in Iraq after our mission was accomplished, or the stupidity of comments like “the insurgency is in its last throes”, or the false bill of goods that was sold to the American people in order to go into Iraq (slam dunk or not) or just the fact that the President today vetoed a rational option for changing the course in Iraq.
I couldn’t begin to write in this essay all my thoughts about everything that has gone wrong with Iraq and the offense I feel that the American public was duped into a war that never had a defensible casus belli – all you need to do is look at many of my previous articles on the subject.
Some of us were offended by our preemptive war before it ever happened. Many of us protested on the eve of the war (the first preemptive one in our history). We were beating the drum that 9/11 and Iraq had nothing to do with one another- but most of the country wasn’t listening. We were saying that the war had nothing to do with terrorism and more to do with oil but again most of the country didn’t listen. Many of us thought the arguments about WMDs were specious at best, but again the country didn’t listen. We were the proverbial prophets – the vox clamantis in deserto.
I wish we had been wrong. But sadly we were not only right that this war was a bad idea- a colossally bad idea- but it exceeded our most dire nightmares.
I am sick and tired of being told that those of us who think that this war was a mistake and want to give a deadline to get out are helping the terrorists and the insurgents. What a load of bilge water.
Firstly- the current al-Maliki government in Iraq has nothing to gain by stabilizing the country and making nice between Sunnis and Shi’a. We kicked the Sunnis out of control, and implemented a mistaken policy of debaathification (we even let some Nazis stay around to make sure that the trains ran on time after WW II). The Shi’a have nothing to lose here – they have everything to gain and the Sunni feel disenfranchised by the Shi’a majority
Secondly- the idea of a “country” that is Iraq is a pipe dream that can really only exist under the hard thumb of a despot like Sadaam. The boarders make absolutely no sense for the populations that are there. Maybe that’s why there is a Civil War. The boarders are absurd – just look at what T.E. Lawrence outlined for a rational map of this region in the early 20th century.
Thirdly- there weren’t any terrorist havens in Iraq under Sadaam. Now, Iraq is not ONLY a safe haven for terrorists but it is a cause célèbre for terrorist recruitment efforts around the globe. Terrorist attacks worldwide shot up 25 percent last year. Altogether, 40 percent more people were killed by increasingly lethal means around the globe. With the rise in fatalities, the number of injuries from terrorist attacks also rose, by 54 percent, between 2005 and 2006 according to the US State Department’s Country Reports on Terrorism 2006. So someone needs to tell me how Iraq is helping in the “fight on global terrorism”. Terrorism is getting worse, not better and it doesn’t seem to me like they are waiting us out to really get their juices flowing.
Although I support a troop re-deployment out of Iraq, I have had mixed feelings about how we leave Iraq- because although I was never supportive of this insanity, my country went into Iraq and summarily destroyed it. I understand Colin Powell’s caution in those prescient remarks – “You break it you own it”. I have felt that we have some sort of moral obligation to clean up the mess we made. I still have those feelings- but our being there is really doing nothing more than delaying the inevitable- a Civil War that will not be resolved with us still around. The United States needs to own up to its colossal error and move on and allow a political solution to evolve. That’s now what we owe to the Iraqi people- or more definitively those Iraqis that haven’t already fleed or died.
The Democratic Congress today offered a rational option to withdraw militarily from Iraq and allow a regional political process in which we could still have influence to take hold, but sadly our myopic and intransigent President wouldn’t have it.
The press’s role as co-conspirator to this debacle primarily due to the inability of the third estate to talk truth to power because they are afraid of loosing their acceess to power is another low point in this whole story. Frank Rich, who has become my favorite political writer, wrote a brilliant piece in the Sunday New York Times last weekend where he outlined this incestuous relationship and the damage it has done- so I’ll point you in that direction to read a superlative bitch-slap to the press.
Let’s face it, the usually milketoast Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Ried (D-NV) was right when he said this war is over. It is; and we must finally admit that there is no military solutiuon to the mess that Presdident Bush and his neo-conservative coterie made there. Congress today carried out the will of the people that was mandated to them in the 2006 election and the President went deaf.
So Mr. Bush the Mission is Over. Let’s just learn a lesson from this and move on. After all it was you- Mr. President- that declared with much fanfare that the war was over four years ago. So let’s make that little fantasy a reality, albeit 1,461 days late.