Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Iraq war
This will be George Bush's legacy: The Iraq quagmire, the Bush blunder, the unnecessary war, the war of choice, the attack on a sovereign nation that had not attacked us on 9/11/01. None of the multitudinous reasons .... excuses.... given for our being there have ever been found to be true.
The neocons told us this war was what they wanted long before Bush was president; while Clinton was president, they sent him a signed letter asking we take on Iraq. Many of us guessed that when Bush was given power, we would be at war with Iraq within two years. This projection was made without the fantastic excuse of 9/11.
9/11 didn't actually change anything except for our sense of superiority. We finally joined the rest of the world in coping with terrorism within our own borders. Our foreign policies had finally come home to roost.
So Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz finally got their war. It will be fast! And cheap! The oil will pay for everything! Saddam is bad! He mocked George Bush senior! His moustache is evil! The neocons were indifferent to anything but what they were about to get their hands on.
So the country literally came apart. Very much like what happened in Yugoslavia, old enmities rose up once the dictator was gone. Foreign insurgents flooded in, religious differences began to show, tribal loyalities became strong. Instead of fighting one enemy in one war, there were suddenly twenty wars with fifty different reasons going on. It became a civil war.
And Bush had deliberately opened the Pandora's box. Without a real plan. They thought Chalabi, who had been groomed to pop into place, could just slip into Hussein's spot. But somehow the people didn't want him. Several 'leaders' later, no one is able to unify the factions that now control the country, or even get any kind of agreement between the sockpuppet politicians to vote together. When Bush complains that the Iraqis aren't doing enough to get the government going, the response is, "What Iraqi government?" Many of the pseudo politicians that were voted in with purple fingers are actually out of the country. If the people do not support the government, there is no government. I guess that's a hard concept for George.
So now we have been there five years. What have we accomplished? What have we done? We have a tenuous peace with al-Sadr who has agreed to a ceasefire. We have teamed up with the very people who were shooting at our soldiers just a few months ago to help them shoot at the al-Qaeda... who were not in Iraq until we attacked. We are balancing a dangerous tightrope between the Saudi-supported Sunni and the Iranian-supported Shiite, trying to prevent Iran from taking over a huge section of Iraq. Saudi Arabia is sending insurgents and an immense amount of money into Iraq to fight .... our soldiers, yet we are supportive of the Saudi government and have offered them a huge arms deal. More and more tangled loyalities confuse the issue. There is no one 'bad guy' to defeat. I haven't even mentioned the Kurds and Turkey.
So. How do we 'win' this fight? How do we win this war? How do we extricate ourselves from this quagmire?
John McCain says we will be there for hundreds of years.
Both Democratic candidates say we will leave.
As we ponder this conundrum, bombs are going off and soldiers and civilians are dying. All because of Bush.
This will be his enduring legacy.
The Iraq war.