Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Iraq Shit Storm, Posterity, and You

So we're finally getting the hell out of there.  After 10 years of monetary and human cost, we're finally saying that Iraq has to fly on its own and shape their own destiny.  So what does that mean for us?

Well, firstly, I think posterity will be somewhat kind when looking back on the Iraq War.  They will talk about how inept Donald Rumsfeld was, and how for 8 years of the war it looked like an unwinnable shit storm that was poorly executed.

They will also talk about how unpopular the war was and how President Bush was largely villified for the whole affair.  Text books will show the protesters holding their "No Blood for Oil," signs, and when talking about American culture it will be noted how big of a fad it was in Hollywood to shit allover the Bush administration.  The books will speak of a country divided over the prospect of "making the world safe for democracy."

There might also be mention of the military implications of the whole conflict.  I think we've lost less than 10,000 American lives after 10 years of bloody conflict.  We actually toppled the government and affected the surrender of Saddam's army within a month of actually invading the country.  This will be a lesson in how technology has significantly impacted the way wars are faught.  We seem to have reached a point where we can inflict heavy casualties upon our enemies while sustaining as few casualties as possible on our end.  Our technology is making it so that one man can kill as many human beings as possible.

Should Iraq prosper, should their democracy work and actually help the country flourish, then the Iraq War will likely be viewed as a success.  It might sound sickening to us to consider such a thought, but if the Iraqi people can live free in a democratic society then why shouldn't it be considered a success?

Perhaps there's no such thing as a "successful" war.  All wars are bad, even if they're justified, and even if the end result means the world has a greater potential to be a better place.  Wars leave deep scars that can't ever be undone.  Though there are many dead, there are those still living who will have the bear the burden of their loved ones' sacrifices until they draw their own terminal breath.

Unlike Vietnam, we didn't sustain heavy casualties and we stuck with it to the end.  After 10 years, we can say that Iraq at least has a chance to craft a decent society.  We can only hope that the Iraqi people take this opportunity that we've given them with spilt blood, and flourish as a democratic society that values liberty and justice.

5 comments:

Country Thinker said...

Critics are saying that we are leaving the country to Iran and terrorists. Neitehr were a problem in Iraq before the war, even if Saddam was a brutal dictator. I can't say that keeping a military presence there for decades or longer to maintain "balance" that we disrupted makes any sense. I indeed hope that the Iraqis can make it on their own.

Harrison said...

The real reason we're leaving Iraq (for now anyway) is because the Iraqi government would grant immunity to the remaining U.S. forces. Had this not been the case, we would have stayed and if they change their minds we will stay.

Nonetheless, Obama could not muster the use of the word "victory" in his little speeches on the subject.

As you say, real victory won't be known for some time (if at all) but, for now, it seems positive.

A "successful war" would be something like WWII was for the West though, of course, all wars change lives.

I think Bush will probably come out ok on the Iraq War after 100 years or so.

Jersey McJones said...

ack, casualties in Iraq were quite substantial. Fatalities were relatively low, but that is because of modern medicine. I've seen estimates that the fatalities would have been two and one half times higher had the war been fought a generation earlier.

Cost wise, the invasion of Iran was more expensive than Vietnam and will eventually be more expensive than WWII! A large part of that relates to those very medical advances.

And for what?

Iraq's government remains one of the world's most corrupt and unstable. The federalist/parliamentary system we essentially forced on them is not up to the task, and sure enough Al-Maliki and co are slowly but surely reestablishing a strong-man rule with a theocratic bent there.

Socially, culturally, religiously, Iraqis remain a deeply, violently divided people. The ever-growing ties with Iran may have seriously destabilizing consequences for the whole of the Middle East - and not in a good way.

The invasion of Iraq will always be thought of as a terrible national mistake. There's no lipstick that can ever make that pig look pretty.

JMJ

Silverfiddle said...

Jersey: Thanks for posting that Rachel Maddow transcript.

Jack Camwell said...

Well Jersey, if the Iraqi people flourish in a democratic society then exactly how would that be considered a mistake?

Why was it a mistake to stop Saddam from brutalizing his people?

But Libya is not a national mistake, right? It's totally cool to help the Libyans overthrow their dictator, but helping the Iraqis was just plain stupid. Right?