I guess we’re all supposed to jump up and down and be happy now that the “last U.S. combat troops” have left Iraq. Forgive me for not celebrating. Feeling jolly about yesterday’s “withdrawal” would be like celebrating because you got drunk and caused a 5-car pile-up that killed 10 people, but you managed to crawl out of your car with just a few injuries. What a charade. There are still more than 50,000 “just in case” U.S. troops in the country, although the official story is that they’ll be training Iraqis (still training after all these years?). Before the withdrawal of the “last but not really the last” American troops, the State Department reminded everyone that “We have a long-term commitment to Iraq,” while Iraq’s top military officer told AFP that U.S. troops may be needed in Iraq for another decade.” To which this writer replies, “Good luck with that, guy,” because if there’s one thing the American public won’t support, it’s more military action in Iraq.
The Iraq War was a horrendous mess from the beginning. The most colossal screw-up in U.S. foreign policy history, it drained our financial and military resources, and was fought for no good reason other than Dick Cheney and his fellow neo-conservative crazies had been wanting to do it since the end of Desert Storm. They found enough bad intel about WMDs to “justify” their freedom-spreadin’ war, and then proceeded to screw the thing up every single step of the way. The results were that one awful dictator, who posed no real threat to anyone outside Iraq, was deposed; the nation’s infrastructure was ruined; its ethnic hatreds were inflamed nearly to the point of overwhelming U.S. efforts to contain them; and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were killed or fled their own country as refugees.
As bad as those “results” were, the things that stick in my craw are two numbers: more than 4,400 Americans are dead as a result of Cheney/Bush’s incompetent blundering; and more than 30,000 Americans are physically wounded, while unknown thousands are psychically scarred. Wars are always promoted and — let’s just say it — marketed as glorious, necessary exercises in freedom, filled with flags, balloons, a tide of P.R., and a populace that, by and large, falls for the b.s. every time.
Wars are seldom necessary — I can think of none in my lifetime that were really "about" what Americans were told they were about, nor that were worth fighting or losing thousands of young Americans’ futures. Iraq may be the most shamefully unnecessary American war of all. We should never have invaded Iraq, the entire war is justly seen by most of the world as a crime against humanity, and it’s pretty damned hard to get jacked up and misty-eyed over today’s phony “end” to it.