:: posted by buermann @ 2006-02-28 11:21:00 CST |
The Shame of the US Intervention in Iraq
March 11, 2006
The third anniversary of the U.S.-led and dominated invasion of Iraq will occur on March 20th. The invasion three years ago followed months of propaganda in favor of a military intervention by the Bush administration that was applauded by the major media. It elicited broad congressional and popular support, and generated the knee-jerk super-patriotism among a majority of Americans (if the polls were accurate) that typically accompanies our wars. We who opposed the invasion were told again and again that we were un-American for not following our Commander-in-Chief George W. Bush’s mission to invade and occupy Iraq. We were attacked and insulted that our opposition would demoralize the troops. But we stood our ground and said don’t invade Iraq. We said that the best thing we can do for our troops is keep them at home. The America of the super-patriots and their fellow travelers, though, is a country in which they demand that we should suspend our constitutional rights of free expression and dissent any time the President declares that we are in imminent threat and that it is time to mobilize the troops for another war. Unfortunately, it has taken three years for a majority of Americans to realize how misconceived and counter-productive the Iraq war and occupation have been.
As it turns out three years later, we who were in the opposition were more right than wrong. We don’t gloat, we mourn. Over these three years, we learned that the administration’s public justifications for the war back in 2003 were false. We learned that the U.S. military had not planned for the occupation and it got ever worse over time. We learned that many of our troops were not properly equipped. We learned that the occupation exacerbated the antagonisms and violence between the major Iraqi groups. We learned that the occupation dealt brutally with the Iraqi people and directly or indirectly generated tens of thousands, if not over a hundred thousand, of civilian deaths, and many more casualties. We imprisoned 14,000 thousands of them without any due process and tortured more of them than we know. We lost over 2,300 of our own troops and left many thousands with physical and psychological wounds from which they many never recover. We then escalated the air war at some as yet unknown devastating effect to Iraq society. We spent hundreds of billions of dollars on this “war” that might well have been spent to make us much less dependent on Middle East oil. The reconstruction faltered and has done little to help revive Iraq’s economy, oil production plummeted, and the Iraqi people suffered.
Bush and his advisers told us that democracy was unfolding in Iraq, and yet the elected Iraqi government is presently immobilized by sectarian divisions. We were told that, in time, the Iraqis would be in charge of their security, and yet, as sociologist Michael Schwartz writes, “The Iraqi military has no air support, no artillery, and almost no armored vehicles; nor does it have a logistics capacity that would allow it to resupply its fighting units. As a result, even if the Iraqi government could ‘take command’ of its army, it could not fight battles on its own. This distinguishes the Iraqi Army from virtually every other military on the planet. None of its units can go into battle unless they are integrated into the American military.” In the meantime, the highly touted “coalition of the willing,” that is, those nations who sent troops in support of the U.S.-led invasion, has continued to dwindle. By December of 2005, these forces had dropped from 50,000 in 2003 to 23,000 in December of 2005. Since then, Japan has decided to withdraw its forces by the end of May. Britain will withdraw 2,000 of its troops, starting in the spring. Last week, a poll of U.S. troops stationed in Iraq by the Zogby organization found that 72 percent of these troops would like to see all U.S. troops withdrawn by the end of this year, with nearly one in four saying we should leave immediately. Polls of American opinion have found for some time that majorities of Americans don’t think the war was worth it, that it hasn’t made America safer, and that they favor a timetable for the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. Polls of Iraqi opinion indicate a large majority favor a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. And, to top it off, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalizad said on March 7 that the “potential is there” for sectarian violence to become full-blown civil war, indicating bluntly the failure of the occupation.
These three years in Iraq have been a shameful period for our country. We have created a political, economic, military, and humanitarian catastrophe that will haunt us and the world for many years to come. Despite all this, one can anticipate that the super-patriots are just waiting for another opportunity to reassert themselves, waiting for the Bush administration to say the word, waiting to jump on the bandwagon for another military fiasco. Will it be Iran next time?
posted by BobSheak
@ 2006-03-15 07:34:15 | link
I would just take umbrage at "our Commander-in-Chief", he's the CiC of the military, not the rest of us: this isn't a military dictatorship yet.
posted by buermann
@ 2006-03-16 06:27:31 | link