The US has been helping Iraq into ever-worsening catastrophe for longer than almost anyone can remember, and just leaving would be a positive step.
You’ve got 5,000 armed foreign troops stationed in your country. You don’t say a word until the idiot foreign emperor stages a surprise visit. Then you’re outraged principally because he didn’t notify you or meet with you or put up any pretense that your country belonged to you in any way. At that point you demand that the U.S. occupation of Iraq finally be brought to a bitter better-late-than-never end. And you’re damn right.
The U.S. has been helping Iraq into ever-worsening catastrophe for longer than almost anyone can remember, supporting European imperialists, backing both sides in a war with Iran, propping up a horrendous dictator, bombing Baghdad in the First Gulf War, slaughtering civilians and retreating troops, imposing starvation sanctions, bombing routinely, shock-and-aweing a horrific sociocide, killing millions, throwing millions out of their homes, creating disease epidemics, demolishing infrastructure, training death squads, stirring up terrorism, flooding the region with weapons, fueling regional rivalries, attacking neighboring countries. If, after all that, a photo-op by an orange-haired buffoon becomes grounds for finally ending it, that’s more than fine with me.
Just the latest installment of the assault on the birthplace of doomed Western civilization began 16 years ago this coming March. The annual protests of the war in the U.S. and other NATO countries have long since (disgracefully and inexcusably) ended. People now legally driving cars were not even born when the U.S. government came up with the clever name “Shock and Awe” for the criminal and terrorist strategy of so devastating a city with death and destruction as to thrill the most sadistic warmongers while allowing them to pretend to believe the result would be surrender or — somehow — friendly, grateful welcoming and thanks. People not yet alive for that are now being recruited by the U.S. military, taught that they can either gripe or vote (!!!), and hitting 30,000 hours of television viewed — don’t even ask about video games.
At around $1 trillion per year in military spending by the U.S. government, justified principally by the need to destroy Iraq, we’re now looking at $16 trillion or so, an amount which almost certainly could have saved the earth’s environment for human life had it been spent on that instead of on an operation that, at its height, put the U.S. military higher than almost all entire nations on earth in a ranking of petroleum consumption per year.
Through the course of this barbaric crime — no mistake, no error, no misjudgment, no strategically flawed noble operation, but crime in the ranks of the greatest crimes ever — U.S. politicians have proven as principle-free and opportunistic as any of their Iraqi counterparts. We’ve been told to support the war, to oppose it, to pretend that escalating it would end it, to pretend that deescalating it was ending it, to blame Obama for the agreement Bush signed to end it, to credit Trump for not ending it, to blame Iraqis for not appreciating it, to honor Americans for participating in it, and generally to load up our skulls with so much bullshit you could plant us upside down in a desert and grow a rainforest.
Basta! End it! Remove every troop, every mercenary, every contractor, every base, every weapon, every flag. Load up the planes, lift them off the ground, and get the Fallujah out. If you want to do good rather than harm, send actual aid, send reparations, send apologies, promise never to do it again, join the International Criminal Court and send top guilty parties over for indictment and trial. Democratize the United Nations and commit to obeying the law. Stop raising the planetary thermostat to the point that will make Iraq uninhabitable. That, along with ending the wars on Yemen, Afghanistan, and Syria, seems like the least we could do. Let’s resolve to take that positive step in the coming year if not the coming week.
This article was originally published at DavidSwanson.org on December 28, 2018.