Nine years ago, they were everywhere. The Bush Administration had been pounding the drums for war against Iraq since before the dust settled over lower Manhattan after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Somewhere, a number of us started applying critical thinking skills and realized a few things.
1) Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
2) Iraq did not have any WMD’s .
3) Iraq was not a threat to the US or its interests.
4) An invasion of Iraq would result in a quick military victory and a long drawn out and very costly occupation.
5) We would anger more people in the Middle East than would be drawn to us.
We were right on every single one of those points. Naturally, we were vilified. We were called un-American and terrorist sympathizers.
After nearly 9 years, after the loss of over 4000 American military personnel and (conservatively) 100,000 Iraqis, and somewhere around a trillion dollars, the Iraq War is over. A far cry from Bush’s “Mission Accomplished”speech, the mission ended today with a dignified ceremony and the handover of command of the last American base.
I hope we learned something. I hope those lives were not lost in vain. I hope we are incredibly cautious about flexing our military muscles to free somebody.
You see, the Iraqi people did not ask us to intervene for them. Neither were they in open rebellion against Saddam Hussein. In short, they were not at war. They were not living in chaos. They were not living in fear of daily violence. We introduced these things into the equation. We made their lives violent and brutal for a long time.
I don’t say this to diminish the sacrifices made by our soldiers. It’s not their fault they were sent to Iraq. They did their jobs and they did them well, and they are deserving of our respect and gratitude.
There was an audio clip on the AP hourly news update today. I heard it twice. The widow of a soldier killed by an IED was reflecting on all she and her kids lost as a result of the war. I can’t imagine her loss. At the end, she found herself wondering if the Iraqi people are thankful that we invaded.
I’m not sure whe would like the answer.