From a retired operative and analyst with decades of first-hand experience who chooses to remain anonymous
Listening to the radio and TV about the current situation in Iraq (and Syria), one is almost appalled at how we forget our cruel and costly war fiascoes and blunders.
I keep hearing that we lost 4,500 killed in Iraq.
And that, because we did go into Iraq and clearly shattered its stability and created the circumstances of the current the civil war, we now have a responsibility not to abandon them.
And, that Iraq is facing a major “humanitarian disaster” which we have a moral responsibility to help minimize.
And that Obama is a wimp for not intervening in Syria and now Iraq, and for pulling out of Iraq.
Hello! Can it be possible that all of the commentators and analysts have completely forgotten that the Iraq War fiasco paralleled the great recession of 2008?
And that we are now in the process of economizing that includes downsizing our military that was forced on the nation in part by the Tea Party and many of the politicians who are now criticizing Obama and advocating intervention?
Has everyone really forgotten that during the Iraq War we painfully realized that we did not have enough military personnel to rotate them in and out, again and again, of just that war? And that Obama withdrew our troops, reluctantly, in accordance with an agreement that President Bush had struck with the Iraqis?
Humanitarian disaster? Our invasion and attempted occupation led directly to the deaths of scores of thousands of people and SHATTERED THE LIVES OF FOUR MILLION PEOPLE! And before George Bush, Bill Clinton ordered the quiet bombing of Iraq, tons of bombs every night or years, plus sanctions that led to the early deaths of 500,000 children.
I listened to an interview on NPR [recently] of Dick Cheney who played a major role in taking us into Iraq, promising that it would only take days to oust Saddam Hussein. He responded irritably when he was asked how he felt about that mistake (of our staying there, escalating our presence, leading to the Civil War).
When the question was repeated, he responded angrily, saying that it was “absurd” to try to second-guess decisions that were made 10 years ago.
One’s first reaction is to say that this nation’s leaders have no collective memory of previous mistakes, a national Alzheimer’s illness.
But, is it mindless? It seems that the United States needs enemies to justify the profiteering of the multinational corporations that Pres. Eisenhower warned us of. An unstable and constantly warring world is “Miracle Grow” for our military-industrial complex, while we are remarkably safe over here between two oceans, with our large and effective security complex, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, NSA — we have taken one hit on our soil, relatively trivial compared to what we are doing to the Middle East and have been doing for over half a century.
They have pulled the trick of empty and fallacious rationalizing to take us to war as many times as Charlie Brown was duped by Lucy with the football. Even without a war, Ronald Reagan bragged at the end of his presidency that he had spent $2 trillion on arms.
It wouldn’t work if we learned from our mistakes, for example the lies and the Bay of Tonkin fraud that justified the Vietnam War fiasco that killed many millions and conspicuously nailed us with our first defeat (pictures of people clinging to and falling from helicopters as we fled in disarray), and Ronald Reagan negotiating with the terrorists who had taken our embassy and held its personnel hostage for over a year, selling them missiles which they could use against us and our allies.
The media endlessly searching for a new issue or crisis or situation to hype. And, too many Americans willfully, even eagerly gullible. Alas.
The bottom line now is that the United States really cannot afford the current string of multi-trillion dollar wars. It saddens me a bit that Obama tries to relieve some of his emasculation by bombing and with drones, and with his recent/current thundering denunciation of Russia as he reignites the Cold War. (Our policy under Bill Clinton, remarkably sane, after the Soviet Union broke apart was to welcome and work to draw Russia into the community of nations.)
We’ve been here before, with the mainstream media beating the drums of war, neglecting the facts, and propagandizing Americans into another imperialist occupation. But there are media outlets and individuals refusing to remain silent on the issue. Below are a few resources and specific articles to keep informed.
- Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report — www.democracynow.org
- Juan Cole’s Informed Comment — www.juancole.com
- Robert Parry and Consortium News — consortiumnews.com
- Al Jazeera America — america.aljazeera.com
- “The sectarian myth of Iraq: We coexisted peacefully for centuries, and need neither brutal dictators nor western intervention” — http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jun/16/sectarian-myth-of-iraq
- “Absolutely nothing: A veteran’s savage indictment of the Iraq War” — http://www.juancole.com/2014/06/absolutely-nothing-a-veterans-savage-indictment-of-the-iraq-war.html