The war in Iraq officially ended last week in a dreary speech by President Obama, a speech that hailed the war heroes, tepidly reviewed the results of the war campaign, and ended with a somber reflection on our economy.
If the speech left a taste in your mouth, it was not one to leave you salivating for more.
How do you triumphantly speak about a war with which you disagreed?
As I wrote in this letter to George Bush before the war, there were numerous reasons that I was against the war in Iraq from the outset. In fact, it was one of the reasons why I voted for Barack Obama in the first place.
As we look back now on Obama’s Speech before the war, he foretells the exact debacle that would occur:
I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.
We can now know these “undetermines”. Length: Over 7 years. Cost: Over $1 Trillion Dollars, roughly $8,000 for every American taxpayer. Consequences: More than 4,000 American troops dead and over 30,000 wounded. More than 100,000 civilian Iraqis are dead.
When those who supported the war realize nearly all avenues of justification have evaporated, they resort to the bad dictator line: “He gassed his own people.”
True. You can read about the Halabja poison gas attack here. This horrible attack killed 5,000 Iraqi civilians. The war killed more than 100,000. Do I need to ask the question?
In the end, we left Iraq with a completely demolished infrastructure, a barely viable government, and terrorism activity that did not exist before the war.
It was a bad war…and I’m glad its over.
In a poll taken of the Iraqi people, here are some thoughts about our involvement (taken from this About.com page):
- Iraqis “strongly opposed to presence of coalition troops – 82%
- Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security – less than 1%
- Iraqis who feel less secure because of the occupation – 67%
- Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces – 72%
You just can’t bomb a place to smithereens, leave the people wanting for basic services, inadvertently kill 100,000 people, say goodbye…and then expect much of a thank you.
I just watched the movie W. about the life of George Bush. Just as you can’t entirely trust the facts in a Michael Moore movie that derides conservative policies, you have to have an equally cautious eye with an Oliver Stone movie about George Bush.
As my mom said when we watched it, “they make him (W.) look like a buffoon.”
Many have wanted to assess blame in this war. In fact, some have talked about prosecution for war crimes. In the financial world, we have certainly seen many a CEO fall from grace as they were held accountable for their actions OR the actions of their subordinates.
I remember seeing Ken Lay–who was, quite literally, prosecuted to death-looking beleaguered and personally devastated as they questioned him on the steps of some court house. I couldn’t tell if he knew everything that was going on in that Enron nuthouse or if he had been intentionally blinded by devilish subordinates, like Jeff Skilling.
I think similarly of George Bush as I do Key Lay. Clearly, the devilish subordinates of W. were master puppeteers and guided their toy onstage to do their bidding.
Are prosecutions appropriate?
I’ll leave that for others to discuss, but I read this line today which seems entirely appropriate:
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.
Just as intellectual stupidity may have been the crutch of President Bush, intellectually superiority may be Barack Obama’s downfall.
Yes, he was right about this war. If you look at his record, he will tell you that he has accomplished A, B, and C. This will be the truth. He’s checking off boxes.
But a President should never appear on TV like Barack Obama did during this presentation. Uninspiring, bleak, and downright melancholy.
That is not the President Obama that over 50% of the people voted for and that is why his approval ratings are well below 50% now.
People don’t want to be intellectualized.
They want to be inspired!!!
Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.