It’s Finally Over, Sort Of

There’s quite a bit  happening around the world these days making it difficult to focus on any one thing. The historic flooding in Pakistan, displacing nearly 20 million people, has the government there struggling, though help is on the way. Israel and Palestine have agreed to peace talks, again, in DC (though Israel continues to thumb its nose at common decency in the run-up). Franklin Graham is having a field day trashing his father’s good name and making quite the ass of himself over the Park51 nonsense and President Obama’s religion. It’s all a bit much. In fact, those are just the headlines I’ve been cursorily following; there’s plenty more just waiting in the wings and on the RSS feed. What’s puzzling, though, is that the headline that you would think might just cheer our particular country up a little is buried waaay down the list of top stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom is done.

Yes, you read it correctly. As per the timetable favored by then-candidate Obama and endorsed all along the campaign trail, the last combat brigades  are leaving. Of course, some 50,000 troops remain, mostly in a training and advisory capacity. For 7 bloody years, our troops, along with those of other nations and the thousands of Iraqi civilians caught in the middle, have fought and died in a mis-guided war of choice. If Obama doesn’t accomplish anything else in his entire presidency, this should be enough to earn him plaudits from the historians. Come to think of it, he’ll get some from me too. I, along with countless others, have argued since the beginning that Iraq was not only an expensive, deadly quagmire but was also a dangerous distraction from the central front of the War on Terror (nevermind the ridiculous terminology). We can only imagine how things might look today if we had committed the same resources to Afghanistan in 2003 that we did in toppling Saddam. The icing on the cake is that the entire criminal enterprise known as the Bush administration didn’t even have the balls to call it as such. They lied their asses off so they could have their war. Halliburton’s stockholders got rich and the rest of the country got screwed.

So, my hats off to you Obama. regardless of what noted has-been John Mccain says, George W. Bush doesn’t deserve one iota of credit for this withdrawal. He and his cronies deceived and disenfranchised the majority of Americans in their quest for… whatever the hell they thought was great about invading and occupying a sovereign nation on a national credit card. You want to find some deficit savings? Look no further than the complete waste of blood and treasure that was the Iraq War. Just as Obama should be praised generations from now for doing as he said, Bush should likewise be vilified for starting the whole mess in the first place.

For now, I merely hope that the population Iraq, including some acquaintances of mine, can start to forgive us for what our leaders do in our name. Similarly, I hope all the families of the dead Americans can break free of the notion that their sons and daughters’ sacrifice was somehow justified. Back in 2003, amidst the sabre-rattling and the flurry of half-truths, many of us thought no one would seriously be so bold and so stupid as to repeat the mistakes that trapped us in Vietnam. Let us hope that in 2033 we aren’t stupid enough to do it all over again.

Actually, let’s hope we’re never that stupid ever again.

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