When I learned that in Texas you could go to jail for masturbating, I thought, well that’ll stop that nasty habit. When I heard John McCain say we should go into Iraq again, I thought well, why not? It worked so well the last time. Today he told a journalist that we had won the war in Iraq and had it stabilized, I couldn’t believe his selective memory. At no time after the 2003 invasion was Iraq stable. When we removed the strongman who held the country together sectarian violence began immediately. Of course he can take any notion he wants to the news media and get a free platform for revisionist history. I mean this is the same American news media that purveyed the lie that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and would give them to our enemies.
After three weapons inspection teams, the best experts in the world could not find a single chemical, biological of nuclear weapon, we still invaded. We removed the power structure (Sunnis) with their enemies (Shiites) and expected to take this millennium long struggle and turn it into a democracy. This was an easy sell to the masses of Americans who couldn’t find Iraq on a map with two hands and a flashlight.
So how hard could it be for Americans to believe that we could just march back in and kick everyone’s asses? We invaded Afghanistan and couldn’t stabilize it either. The problem for me is that most of us in this country have a deeply held believe that we can win every battle with everyone else. You know when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Having the most powerful army in the world tends to remove the diplomatic option. Why ask for reason when a few F-16s and a few drones can fix things?
What was left of Iraq after we bombed Baghdad was a disaster. Predominantly Shiite neighborhoods forced Sunnis out of their homes or just killed them outright. In predominantly Sunni neighborhoods, Shiites were forced out. Shiites attacked Sunni shrines and visa versa and so on and so forth. We not only ignited a civil war, we created a kind of sectarian ethnic cleansing. People who lived their whole lives in the same neighborhood were suddenly refugees on the road with their belongings on their back and their children following in tow.
Bombings in public places killed indiscriminately every week and it hasn’t let up at all. Even Nicholas Kristof claims that Iraq was settled and peaceful at one point. OK. Let’s say no storm lasts forever. The botched invasion and occupation, the de Baathification, the failure to secure arms depots, all the things we did while we’re “freeing the Iraqis”, pulling one side out of power and helping them to marginalized the other side, all of these things done under the purview of the United States helped to create the firestorm we see today. It is time for us to take responsibility for what happened. Yes, this is the necessary outcome from Mission Accomplished.
Perhaps also John McCain should stop exhorting us to go back into Iraq. I know he’s a veteran and former POW. He’s also wrong here and utterly and totally out of touch. He and his neocon rabble-rousers helps to plunge America into a war on contrived pretenses, and no plan to pay for the war.