What Does the US Owe?

When President George W Bush invaded and occupied Iraq (under Vice President Dick Cheney’s orders), he (they) set off a series of events that have made a mess and a sort of quagmire.  We hear daily that violence has been significantly reduced versus one year ago but as events show, even today, there are senseless killings taking place in settings that the western mind can not compute.  Yesterday, two female suicide bombers blew themselves up attacking religious processions.  How much more “surging” will be necessary to eliminate this type of violence?

Let’s back up a moment.  There are various explanations for why Bush and Cheney decided to invade Iraq but the least believable (although actually true) is that Hussein was a “bad” person.  The most honorable reason but still unjustified is that they believed they could make a positive impact on the Middle East and hasten a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The most probable explanation, however, is that “they could do it and it would be worth their while”.  Bush and Cheney had the power, could show other bad actors what would happen if they disobeyed the US, and the spoils of war would accrue to their backers and supporters.

Regardless of the rationale for the invasion, the occupation was a disaster.  With insurgency (call it civil war) unleashed and the fundamental services of Government totally broken, the US suddenly had a legal and moral obligation to “fix” Iraq and return it to a sovereign and functioning Government.  It is now going on 6 years later and 4000 deaths/almost $1 trillion have been wasted.  The end game is still very unclear.

Republicans lead by John “one note” McCain still try to connect removing US troops over the next 16 months as “losing the war”.  It seems to have evaded their understanding that you can not lose an occupation.  It also seems clear that no amount of US occupation can change a thinking process that divides Shiites and Sunnis who profess to be highly religious and yet will murder each other in the most bizzarre and cruel ways.  When Sunni and Shiite religious leaders themselves step forward and blow themselves up (rather than their followers), I might be better able to understand their motivation.  There is no sensible definition of religion that can justify the manner in which the various factions in Iraq are treating each other.

All of this was known before the invasion and there are no magic bullets to change this behavior.  Maybe time will change these century old practices but it is time for the Iraqis and all Arabs to take care of this problem themselves.  At $ 10 billion running costs per month the US has spent more than enough and it is time to come home.

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 Election, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Dick Cheney, George Bush, Iraq War, John McCain, Politics, Republican Party

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