Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Anniversary

On the tenth anniversary of the Iraq invasion, a dying veteran of the war pens a letter to Messers Cheney and Bush. It's powerful stuff:

... I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences...
It was, I guess, a considered decision by the Obama administration not to put the country through the awfulness of holding people accountable for the debacle. It's a tough issue, not the least of which would have been the implication that so many died and were maimed for nothing; for lies, for a short-sighted and wrong-headed fantasy of America's power, for the inexcusably poor planning. For oil, despite the outraged backlash against anyone who suggested it at the time. (Read that link, if you think it wasn't.)

I had mixed feelings when Obama opted to move on, and still do. But there's something deeply wrong about those two, and their followers, getting off entirely, despite having knowingly lied, broken international law, and, to this day, gloating about it.

Meanwhile, 42% of people polled recently feel the war wasn't a mistake. (Fox "news" goes even further.)* How can that possibly be? On what criteria would such a judgment be based?

*In saying invading Iraq was "the smartest thing Bush ever did," the man could be slyly pointing out that the horrible debacle, being the smartest thing Bush did, makes Bush the worst president ever. Which he was. But I sorta doubt that's what the guy was getting at.

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