What’s the point of the U.S. going back to Iraq?
Nearly 12 years ago, the United States government lied to its citizens and other countries around the world to start a war in Iraq, a country under the thumb of a regional strongman but that never had anything to do with the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S. We invaded, destabilized the region, and disbanded the Army. We spent trillions of U.S. dollars, tanked our own economy, caused nearly 4,500 American troops to lose their lives, and left tens of thousands of members of the U.S. military wounded, maimed, and worse.
Where Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims used to live in relative peace, they are now segregated and at each other’s throats. Where once al Qaeda was successfully kept out of the country, it is now being overrun by a group so bad that al Qaeda doesn’t even want anything to do with it. There were no weapons of mass destruction. Most of the weapons Saddam Hussein had were the ones sold to him during the 1980s through Donald Rumsfeld when he was President Reagan’s special envoy to the Middle East. And yet some members of the GOP can’t wait to send in troops again.
Sen. John McCain (R, I never met a war I didn’t like) thinks he’s playing a successful game of gotcha with the media and the Obama administration. “The fact is, we had the conflict won,” McCain said on MSNBC the morning of June 13. Funny way to define victory — wreck a country, claim success, then go on TV and hope the American people won’t remember how wrong you’ve been all along.
We were never greeted as “liberators,” as Vice President Dick Cheney so often claimed at the beginning of the conflict. It was only supposed to take months, if not weeks — remember those promises by so many in the Bush administration? The Iraq war would pay for itself because of all the oil revenue. Yet the U.S .spent more than $1 billion a week for a decade on the war.
McCain, who has been wrong so often that you would think he might show an ounce of humility, left a classified briefing on Iraq early to rush in front of the cameras to denounce the Obama administration’s foreign policy. According to a piece in Politico with the headline, “GOP on Iraq: We told you so,” McCain demanded that the entire Obama foreign policy team resign. Funny, he never asked the entire Bush administration to resign after they lied about WMDs, yellow cake, mushroom clouds, and the like. And don’t forget that McCain is such a shrewd judge of character that he chose $arah Palin to be his running mate.
House Speaker John Boehner (R, Sun lamp) accused the president of taking a nap. This from a guy whose House of Representatives has been the least productive in modern history, has wasted nearly 50 votes on repealing the Affordable Care Act, and meets only one out of every three weeks. Hey, Boehner, head back to the tanning booth. I think you need a nap yourself.
How wrong was John McCain on Iraq? He claimed that Saddam was tied to the 9/11 attacks, telling ABC in 2001 that Iraq was part of a “network” of terrorists. (It wasn’t.) McCain knew — he just knew! — there were WMDs there. (There weren’t.) In 2001, he even blamed Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. (Attacks were finally linked to an American.) He told CNN in 2002 that success in Iraq would be “fairly easy.” We all know how that turned out.
Why should we listen to someone who has been so spectacularly wrong? Why should the media give him such a large spotlight? Hint to news networks: Just because John McCain opens his mouth doesn’t mean you have to stick a microphone in front of it.
On June 13, President Obama clearly said no — no U.S. troops will head back to Iraq. The United States has a history of backing corrupt leaders in unstable countries, and the American people are rightly saying, “No more.” Air strikes and limited military aid are a possibility, Obama said, but there’s not much point unless Iraqi leaders act to be more inclusive of the Iraqi population as a whole in all government levels. And where would these air strikes be, and against whom? Who would get the military aid?
No good answers, no good options. Remember, we elected this president — twice — because he said, “I am not opposed to all wars. I am opposed to dumb wars.” And the Iraq War was a dumb war.