march 19, 2003: don't call it a failure. it was a huge success for so many.

Eleven years ago today, the US invaded Iraq.

This unprovoked invasion of another country that had not threatened the United States was justified by the pretense of finding weapons of mass destruction (which the US knew did not exist), and as payback for 9/11 (which the US knew Iraq had no part in), and by ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (who was trained and financed by the US). Many such rationales were advanced, including a Christian crusade against Muslims.

None of the stated rationales for the invasion mentioned the massive profiteering that would reap trillions in profits for a long list of corporations. The names of those companies are not household names, but they are well known to Dick Cheney.

Canada did not join the merry invasion, as the United Nations refused to sanction it. Had Stephen Harper been Prime Minister at the time, Canadian Forces would have gone to Iraq, and would have died there.

No one knows, and no one will ever know, the full extent of the death and destruction that this invasion and occupation caused. One highly reliable source puts Iraqi deaths at about 175,000 and Iraqi wounded at 250,000. 4,489 US servicepeople were killed in Iraq, and at least 100,000 wounded. Many of those wounds would lead to permanent disabilities. These figures do not include more than 3,480 suicides.

We have no idea how many Iraqis, Americans, and Brits suffer from PTSD and other psychological and emotional illnesses from having been exposed to, and participated in, so much violence. The US has mostly turned its back on these casualties, leaving families and private charities to struggle with the consequences.

There is, of course, another side to the story. The Halliburton Corporation enjoyed more than $39 billion from the Iraq War. Halliburton is but the most famous of the many war profiteers.

Not one positive thing came out of this war. Not one. If you believe that deposing Saddam Hussein was somehow a silver lining, consider that your belief may be based on your privilege of being unscathed by the war. Consider, too, that the US supported Saddam Hussein's regime for decades, and financed the chemical weapons that were notoriously used against both Iranians and Iraqis, and were subsequently advanced as an excuse for both the 1990 and 2003 US invasions.

Many thousands of US soldiers quietly refused to participate in the war against Iraq, once they learned the truth. A small number of these soldiers spoke up about their opposition, and some of those came to Canada.

The Canadian Government of Stephen Harper turned its back on those brave men and women. But the Canadian people have not.


James Redekop said...

Charlie Pierce's response to Bill Kristol's whining about how the US isn't going to war against Russia is well worth reading. It starts,

Blow me, you monstrous, bloodthirsty fraud, you silly, stupid chickenhawk motherfker who plays army man with the children of people who are so much better than you are, and who would feed innocent civilians in lands you will never visit into your own personal meatgrinder to service your semi-annual martial erection. You and the rest of your cowardly cohort helped prepare the ground for the worst geopolitical mistake the country has made in 30 years. You fought the battle of the Green Rooms and the think tanks while other people's sons and daughters died for your fantasy of how the world would work if you really were the pimply, adolescent Zeus you see when you look in the mirror every morning. The country does not need you lectures any more. The country does not need your counsel. The country does not need your advice.

West End Bob said...

One positive result of bush/cheney's decision (with the approval of the US Congress) to invade Iraq is that it was "the straw that broke the camel's back" to spur "drf" and I to leave the Excited States for a better life in Canada. I'd wager there were many others with the same rationale for departing the world's policeman.

Now . . . . If we could only get the Canadian electorate to send harper packing his bags for return to (hopefully) quiet retirement in Alberta . . . .