Every American should reflect on the past five years of lying promises about the eventual victory in Iraq and transformation of the Mideast. Why dwell on the past? The answer is simple. If you don’t understand the past you are incapable of intelligently approaching the future. The IPS has this article assessing our conduct in Iraq: “Devastation on the ground and largely held Iraqi opinion contradicts claims by U.S. officials that the situation in Iraq has “improved towards the fifth
anniversary of the invasion Mar. 20. . . . U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney, during a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday declared the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a “successful endeavour”. . . . According to the group Just Foreign Policy, more than a million Iraqis have died as a result of the invasion and occupation, now entering its sixth year. A survey by British polling agency ORB estimates the number of dead at more than 1.2 million. . . . Nobel laureate and former chief World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz recently published a book with co-author Linda Bilmes of Harvard University titled ‘The Three Trillion
Dollar War’, a figure it considers a “conservative estimate” of the long-range price tag of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. . . . The authors say the Bush administration has repeatedly “low-balled” the cost of the war, and has kept a set of records hidden from the U.S. public. . . . According to the U.S. Department of Defence, close to 4,000 U.S. soldiers have been killed. The number of British casualties is 175. . . . “The war in Iraq has been one of the most disastrous wars ever fought by Britain,” journalist Patrick Cockburn of London’s Independent Newspaper wrote Mar. 17. “It will stand with Crimea and the Boer War as conflicts which could have been avoided, and were demonstrations of incompetence from start to finish.” . . . According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than four million Iraqis are displaced from their homes, with roughly half of them outside of the country. . . . The Iraqi Red Crescent estimates that one in every four residents of Baghdad, a city of six million, is displaced from home.” For the entire article click here. Also valuable is Juan Cole’s piece here.
[Added 9:26 AM] Yet, Mr. bush’s arrogance and audacity knows no limits. Here are some of his anniversary remarks: “‘The successes we are seeing in Iraq are undeniable, yet some in Washington still call for retreat. . . . War critics tcan no longer credibly argue that we are losing in Iraq, so now they argue he war costs too much. In recent months, we have heard exaggerated estimates of the costs of this war. . . . No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure, but those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq,’ Mr. Bush said.” Of course, these necessary are paid by others–the fruit of the American republic and the people of Iraq. Our constitutional systems requires some serious tinkering to prevent such costs being imposed in the future.
[Added 12:49 PM] Mr. Bush continues his dastardly rationalization for the debacle in Iraq with these remarks: “The battle in Iraq is noble, it is necessary, and it is just. And with your courage the battle in Iraq will end in victory.” It’s difficult to appreciate how our misadventure in Iraq can be called “noble” or “just.” Perhaps, it is naive to be surprised at these remarks. Only last last week, Mr. bush’s called the war in Afghanistan “romantic.” Mr. Bush’s privileged experience in America–a long with his own defects of character–have caused him to be morally obtuse and insensitive. After all, he is never the one who has to sacrifice for the “noble” and “just” virtues he forces other to pursue. He will never appreciate the depth of his wrongdoing; nor pay the price for being absolutely the worst and most harmful president–wounding both the spirit of American constitutionalism and the fabric of our politics–in American history.