Let’s face it; many of us thought the idea of going into Iraq was disastrous. We knew that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and many of us thought that the arguments about WMDs were specious at best.
The goal, the objective, the end result- whatever they are calling it these days- of what President Bush has publicly stated he wanted to accomplish in Iraq has changed so many times one’s head continues to spin.
Barbara Bodine- a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who served as Ambassador to Yemen was a senior envoy to Iraq in 2003 has the most chilling and accurate assessment of the situation in Iraq and what led the Bush administration into this disastrous predicament:
“They [the Bush administration] didn’t understand the kind of forces that they were unleashing. And they had this arrogant idea that the Iraqis would be passive to all of this; that we could go in with our ideas and our plans and our way of doing things, and that the Iraqis would just simply sit there and wait for us to come forward with our plans. And it was going to be this Petri dish of every single one of their political philosophy ideas – you know, flat taxes, complete privatization – that didn’t work anywhere.”
We created a colossal mess – and that’s an understatement- just to give the neo-conservatives an opportunity to do some grotesque social experiment that is the sociological equivalent to the medicine practiced by Dr. Josef Mengele in Nazi Germany.
There are really no words to describe the level of hubris, arrogance and the lack of humanity that are part of the mix in such a calculus.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had a policy that he called the Pottery Barn Rule regarding Iraq- “You break it, you own it.” He wasn’t promoting “owning” Iraq as much as he was saying that once you break something you are responsible for it. President Bush broke Iraq and now he is punting the responsibility for fixing it to the next occupant of the Oval Office; he said as much in his speech last night. For all his bluster and swagger it is clear that President Bush is a coward and is ducking out of his responsibility to the United States, Iraq and the world.
Now President Bush is revamping his spin and is telling the world that his surge has worked and that is allowing the Pentagon to begin a strategy that would draw down the number of troops by 25,000 by the end of July 2008. Wow what a feat! He is promising to cut the number of troops by 5,000 less than have been sent to Iraq as part of the surge that was only authorized through July of 2008 anyway. Now that is spin! Not to mention the fact that there really is not alternative because the army is deployed beyond its capacity at the moment. Quite frankly if the President even considered extending tours of duty he would be guilty of such a gross abrogation of his duty of Commander in Chief he would be, in my estimation, guilty of a crime so grave that it could be considered treasonous. Thankfully he didn’t extend tours of duty but I think he would have done it in a heartbeat if he thought military leaders wouldn’t have strategized a military coup.
So here we are in the final months of 2007 and my synopsis of the state of affairs is: there is no good reason why we invaded the Iraq; we have destabilized a region that is ironically also the cradle of civilization; we have no real objective for this mission that was declared accomplished more than 4 years ago; we have re-defined success so many times that it is now defined as nothing more than any state of affairs that is not complete anarchic genocidal violence and we are commiting ourselves to this debacle for decades to come.
So- yes I am angry. We shouldn’t be in Iraq and we are responsible for the horror that it has become. We cannot just leave- we broke it. So there’s the conundrum. How do we responsibly extricate ourselves from the mess that the Bush administration so callously and carelessly created? I don’t know the answer and I don’t like the politicization that created this and is sustaining it.
It is astonishing to me that we, the American people, allowed this to happen. And yes- Congress allowed it too. Many of us with consciences never approved of this war and we are at our wits end trying to figure out how to end the debacle. It seems that most of the nation- those that didn’t stand up to the immorality of the war at the very beginning- are now tired and bored by the situation and just want the horrific news that is reported every night to go away. You don’t get off the hook that easy folks.
This is not about “leaving with honor”- the Nixonian rhetoric of Vietnam. Our country dishonored itself when we invaded Iraq. It is not clear if the United States is even capable of helping Iraq out of the turmoil that we created for them- after all, those experts that give dire prediction if we pull out have been wrong about everything else.
So how do we leave and how do we do it in a way that doesn’t destroy the region or the world for that matter? I have no idea and it doesn’t seem that anyone does. So- that is why I am so angry I could spit- we currently have no good options because the President created a situation where we have to choose one horrible option over the more horrible options.