I couldn’t believe it: A rugged, conservative-looking white working-class male sitting in a fast food restaurant telling it like it was in Iraq today to his companion, and why the war that George Bush had started had been a total waste of time, lives and money. The Islamic insurgents didn’t need to win the war against U.S. forces: They only needed to outlast them and survive. They could lie low and let the U.S. pretend that it had “won” the war, and when the Americans left, they would come out of hiding and win the war for real. That was the lesson that we should have learned from Vietnam. We didn’t learn it. True “democracy” for all of the people regardless of ideology and religious affiliation was not a value the South Vietnamese government presented, and it is still an alien philosophy in the Islamic world.
There are a lot of soldiers and former soldiers who served in the Iraq War who like to display their “pride” in their participation in it, believing that they actually accomplished something. We were there and you were not. Support the troops who fought for your “freedom” and all of that. But the truth of the matter is that I feel sorry for them, because 4,000 soldiers died and tens of thousands of others maimed for life needlessly to save Bush family “honor” and satisfy the armchair warrior lust of Bush’s underlings and puppet-masters. Today Iraq (as is much of the Middle East) is in turmoil, and has been only getting worse since U.S. forces left the country.
I find it interesting now that the current Iraqi government is complaining that the U.S. has not provided air bombing runs over Islamic and Sunni extremist positions in central Iraq that are threatening its existence. Theoretically all of this could have been “averted” if the U.S. had been allowed to retain a presence of 15,000 troops in the country which the Iraqi government rejected. It might not have made a great amount of difference, but certainly the “threat” of U.S. military action might have hindered insurgent activity.
But that is now water under the bridge. The Shiite-led government has only itself to blame for its troubles, for failing to take the high road and see fit to give Sunnis and Kurds a stake in the running of the country. The U.S. has run out of patience with the current regime, and is now “rewarding” its Kurdish “friends” with air support against ISIS insurgents. The eventual outcome of the conflict has yet to be decided, but there is no doubt that unless there is a drastic change of perspective by all parties, Iraq as it was once known may be all but finished—unless, of course, another Saddam Hussein-type character emerges to “unite” the country, or the insurgents win and establish an Islamic “republic.” This certainly isn’t what the Bush administration “intended” when it started its war, but if the U.S. can retain the “friendship” of the Kurds and their fight for autonomy, there is still the “benefit” of all that oil in that region of the country.