Iraq: Shock and Awe; Shocking and Awful (September 6, 2010)*

. . .

K          “If journalists provide the first draft of history, historians may be in trouble.”

J          “At least there is some pretense of getting out of Iraq.  In 2002 and 2003 when we got in, too many journalists were cheerleaders for the unprovoked invasion of Iraq which was, of course, a sovereign nation.  The times required more careful observers and critics of those in power.”

K          “Enough works are actually available chronicling the folly of the invasion and occupation and its aftermath.  But has anyone learned anything?”

J          “The conventional wisdom is that history will tell.”

K          “Tell what?  That seems to be a cop-out particularly by those who supported the invasion.  Too many individuals are not observing the obvious.  Some Truths are clear now.  After 9/11, the American people were going to kill someone, but invading Iraq was akin to invading Belize after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.”

J          “What about his daddy’s honor and all that.”

K          “What honor?  His dad handled the prior engagement with much more skill except for the abandonment of the Kurds.”

J          “And the abandonment of the Shiites.”

K          “A President is obligated to protect national interests not to pursue a family vendetta.  The whole WeMaD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) charge was a fraud and a fabrication.  The current spin to blame the CIA when the CIA was forced to modify its assessment to support the invasion.  Colin Powell was conned by the neo-cons into making his February 5 speech, yet he has made a record that the neo-conservatives demanded war in the Middle East simply for the sake of war and to keep the U.S. committed militarily in the region.”

J          “Something happened that kept Bush from invading Iran.”

K          “The public may have had enough.  The surge was not a surge of more troops but rather an infusion of cash to bribe influential leaders.  The military ledger recorded the number of troops deployed rather than the number of dollars distributed.  However, the impact ended when the funding ended.”

J          “Talk about spewing cash.  The conventional wisdom is that the invasion and occupation cost $750 billion, although the real cost is at least $3 trillion.  That is a figure that can be more carefully calculated by thoughtful historians and economists.”

K          “So much could have been accomplished with the money.  Like getting Afghanistan right, if that was or is possible.”

J          “Build schools here rather than build schools there.”

K          “Bush and his buddies did not even know what they were trying to accomplish.  If the government sought to kill Saddam Hussein, they should have killed Saddam Hussein.  One of the grand ironies is that assassination of a foreign leader violates international and American law, yet bombing a command and control center with the leader in residence is an acceptable engagement.  The bombing of Kadafi’s command and control center shut him up.  The U.S. did not need to destroy a country to kill its leader.  The U.S. did not even need to kill its leader to silence him.”

J          “Hussein was not a friendly chap.”

K          “Profoundly bad guy.  We are better off with him out of the picture, but we can’t take all the bad guys out of the picture.  And the next Saddam Hussein is alive and well and currently an ambitious young lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi Army plotting right now to take over and enter the picture.”

J          “And the next Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz, Gonzalez, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush et al. are all aggressively recruited and copiously credentialed by the Ivy League universities that want a piece of those in power.”

K          “Iraq was a spectacular failure in ways that we don’t now even understand.”

J          “An honest history will not vindicate the invasion, it will only highlight the criminality.  Seems that nothing changes.  Which makes the future so predictable.”

. . .

(* Others used the phrase “shocking and awful” in other works.)

Bumper stickers of the week:

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.”  Oscar Wilde

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits on a hot stove-lid; he will never sit on a hot stove-lid again–and that is well; but also she will never sit on a cold one anymore.”  Mark Twain

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