Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Five Years Tomorrow

Bella detesta matribus -- Horace

Well, that went horribly badly, didn't it? Yes, it was March 20, 2003, that we (and by "we" I mean the West in general, even those of us who aren't officially directly involved) embarked upon the living, breathing, definition of an illegal war. It was billed, of course, as the necessary removal of a brutal dictator who was conspiring with Osama Bin Laden while constructing stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. We would be greeted as liberators, and everybody would be back home in six months.

Well, we got the "brutal dictator" part right. As for the rest of it? Not so much:

Conspiring with Al-Qaeda? Nope.

Producing weapons of mass destruction? Unh-uh.

Greeted as liberators? Submitted without comment:

And the "home in six months" prediction worked out about as well as it did the last time.

Somehow, unimaginably, we have made Iraq a worse place to live than it was under Saddam Hussein. Mission accomplished, indeed...

So what has this carnival of wrongness cost? Well, let's start with the ungodly number of dead Iraqi civilians. We can then move on to the four million refugees, many of whom have been forced to find not-so-novel ways to earn livelihoods. Compared to that, the four thousand dead American and allied soldiers seem trivial, but that too is a horrendous number. Not to mention the sixty-five thousand wounded who will need medical and/or psychiatric care for the rest of their lives (and I'm not even going to get into the issue of the shoddy treatment of wounded Iraq veterans). Oh yeah, I should mention that you can add "and counting" to all of those numbers. Furthermore, we have the less-quantifiable costs. We have the increased influence and popularity of the people who actually are our enemies. We have the lasting legacy of hatred and despair that will taint that region of the world for generations. And we have the horrendous mental and emotional toll wreaked upon the soldiers sent by their idiot C-in-C to carry out this unspeakable task, on their families, and on the families of those who will not return home.

This, then, is what the increasingly buffoon-ish Dick Cheney described as "a successful endeavor."

So what do we do about it? Iraq has been ruined, and will be decades in the repairing, so it makes little difference at this point when we pull the troops out. Well, my suggestion is this: we remember. In particular, we remember every single politician who ever thought that invading Iraq would be a good idea. Then, having remembered them, we remove them from public office even if, as in the case of Canada, their opinion on the matter was over-ruled. Impeach them, recall them, defeat them in elections, and get them away from the reins of power. Send the message that this sort of thing is NOT ACCEPTABLE, and that finding it acceptable will bring about the end of one's political career. Send the message that this cannot, will not, and must not ever happen again.

March 19th Blogswarm