So it’s finally over – well almost – the long national nightmare of Iraq. All American combat troops are to be withdrawn by Dec. 31st. Halelujiah!
We’d still be there, of course, if Muqtada al-Sadr, leader of the radical Shia Mahdi Army, hadn’t insisted we depart.
Still, almost 9 years later, 4400 deaths, 30,000 wounded, more than a trillion dollars wasted we’ve finally thrown our hat at this hellhole.
Only time and the VA will tell how many who served now suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress – upwards of a quarter of a million?
Oh, I almost forgot to mention the countless Iraqis slaughtered, maimed and dislocated.
Sorry to upset you with these figures, but they’ve been on my mind since catching a glimpse of President Bush doting on his beloved Texas Rangers during the World Series. God bless him, he still has no problem sleeping through the night.
And the outcome was all so obvious. Like Yugoslavia splintering into religious and ethnic factions after the death of Marshall Tito, something similar was bound to happen in Iraq as soon Saddam Hussein was deposed by foreign forces.
People just don’t like being invaded, simple as that! Put Iraqi troops on the streets of America you think the natives will be saying, “Yoh, how you doin’, Ali? Nice to see you bro!”
How could we have been so hoodwinked into allowing Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the others talk us into this foreign misadventure?
Well, we’re suckers for good old razzmatazz. Just wave the flags, blow the trumpets, and we’ll follow any dingbat, especially with a media only too willing to be manipulated. The New York Times even saw some sense in this looming disaster, and forget about the Post, News and the puppets at the various TV networks.
President Bush and his team were not bad people, in and of themselves. I never thought they were going to war to enrich the oil industry – no, they did so on the somewhat plausible idea that if you create an American style democracy in Iraq it will fan out over the region. Hey, given time, these new Iraqi Republocrats might even accept Israel.
The best laid plans of mice and DC dreamers! Was there ever a chance of such success? Sure, the occasional nag comes in at 60/1, but your doddery old Aunt Statia is the only one with a couple of bucks on it.
You would think that after the 50,000 lost in Vietnam lessons would have been learned. But, no, hope springs eternal for the best and the brightest - especially when neither they nor their children will do the fighting.
The big question is: will we allow it to happen again?
Given the economic climate, there’s a decent shot we’ll give up the ghost on Afghanistan in 2014. Karzai’s corrupt government will fall, the Taliban and Haqqani syndicates will nail down their piece of the action, Pakistan and India will go on squabbling, and so it goes…
Then what? Will the trumpets blare and the flags wave someday for another foreign misadventure disguised as a national crisis?
The Republican presidential contenders are understandably reticent on such matters - apart from Ron Paul who level-headedly questions our armed and expensive presence in Germany and South Korea. It’s vitally important that we hear their foreign policies – or lack thereof.
Iran has already been set up as the next bogeyman – “let’s take out their nuclear weapons!” – when, given time and demographics, the mullahs will be unseated by their own people, just as would have happened with Saddam.
In memory of the 4400 who didn’t make it back alive from Iraq, let us vow that this travesty not be repeated.
And for those who did serve – especially the injured – let’s be sure we honor them not just with yellow ribbons and hollow words but with education, jobs and the simple slogan – never again!
Nothing against Texas, but there was a certain symbolism in seeing the Cardinals win the World Series. Would that all victories came at such little cost and over seven games on a bloodless October.