There are a lot of numbers in this link that should put the war in Iraq into perspective. I’m going to give you four of them. 162,000 is the number of deaths that resulted from the nine-year conflict. 80 is the percentage of that group that was composed of civilians, mainly Iraqi police. 3,911 is the approximate number out of that percentage who were children when they were killed. $757.8 billion is the direct cost of the war, not counting interest on debts and military care.
Major U.S. combat operations in Iraq have ended – for real, this time – with a surprising lack of fanfare. We all knew it was going to happen during this term; it was just a matter of which month. While Iraqi sectarian war exacerbated the unrest, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers as well as insurgents are in the mix as well, plus Saddam Hussein himself. Remember him? He was there at one point.
When I was a left-wing politico-in-training, writing standard peacenik drivel for The Daily Kos (no, really), I didn’t care about the fallout of ending the war as long as it ended right then and there. Entreaties to “stay the course” inevitably fell flat. We never should have started on that course, so why stay? Simple. When a foreign military invades a country and makes a big mess (insurgency), it’s their responsibility to clean it up. Sadly, that required sending in more troops to kill more insurgents and take out more command centers, with more civilians as collateral damage.
Did I just accuse the U.S. of creating an insurgency in Iraq? Actually, I accused the administration of the day, but whatever. They didn’t ask anyone to try to fight them off, but they sure as hell didn’t do much to avoid it. That would have entailed not bombing the hell out of a country that wasn’t threatening it for the purpose of getting rid of its leader. I cackle with as much glee as the next person at the idea of Saddam being forced to do an Andrews Sisters act with Osama and Gaddafi in Hell’s cabaret, but who asked the U.S. to send him there?
That’s the only argument for going to war that has held up. Saddam was and would always have been evil. But the weapons of mass destruction? The involvement in 9/11? Any imminent threat to the U.S. and its allies? Bunk, bunk and additional bunk. The Bush Doctrine is most commonly associated with pre-emption. I associate it with nation-building using outright war as a means, with costs stomping out benefits altogether. Sometimes, you can justify a war. This was not one of those times.
I’m not calling for anyone’s head. But someone in that administration must be held accountable for getting America involved in the dumbest of dumb wars. If you’re not convinced that it’s manslaughter, we can stick to calling it fraud.