Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Over, Sorta

The Iraq War was declared over. Never mind that we will still have thousands of troops there engaged in combat with insurgents.

There is so much that has happened since 2001 that we will deeply regret down the road, and this is the biggest of all. This ranks up there with the Vietnam War as the biggest foreign policy boondoggle in our history. Though it was not quite as deadly (for us), the consequences of this one may be worse. Iran now has no rivals to keep it in check. It now openly works to become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf and a major player in the Middle East. The hand of the USA is much weaker now, and with zero credibility, in dealing with the Palestinian Israeli conflict, and with other conflicts in the Middle East. Both sides can now provoke and attack each other with impunity. The Afghanistan conflict was neglected and left to fester into something which may now be unresolvable. Our conduct of both of those wars has greatly strengthened our enemies. Everything from Abu Ghraib to Gitmo to the Manhattan mosque protests have created golden opportunities for recruiting the alienated young of the Islamic world into the ranks of Al Qaida and its sympathizers.

Iraq is the Big Unmentionable in all the public handwringing over the federal deficit. When Our Dear Leader decided to invade Iraq and then cut taxes on the very rich by $600 billion in the middle of the multi-trillion dollar war, he spent away our inheritance. There's nothing left to spend on growing unemployment, a rotting infrastructure, and declining education. For most of us, except the very richest, the bankers, and shareholders in military contractors, the future looks very grim these days; perpetual war, declining wages, and growing poverty. The think tanks and propaganda machines of the corporate oligarchy are urging us to abandon that old dream of mass prosperity for something that looks more like Hobbes' war of all against all.

And the worst legacy of the war is over 4000 young men and women who we shall never see again, and around 35000 more whose injuries mean that they will never be the same again. And there is that specter that all of our politicians wish would go away, but will haunt our dreams from here to eternity, those masses of Iraqis who died in this war. Estimates vary between 100,000 to 1,000,000 dead.

This was a pointless waste of thousands of lives.

1 comment:

The Religious Pícaro said...

Excellent analysis. I'd say that Iraq is worse than Vietnam, in that those who opposed the war in Iraq tried to appeal to the historical lessons supposedly learned in Vietnam as reasons not to enter Iraq. The country was assured that this was the answer to the post-Vietnam malaise, that it wasn't anything like Vietnam, and that the troops would be home right after whipping Saddam. At least when we got into Vietnam we were only closing our eyes to the French's disastrous experience there. In Iraq, we closed our eyes to our own disastrous experience.