The Iraq War is Over

It’s over.  And yet no one is talking about it much publicly.

Perhaps it’s because it was never our war.   We were supposed to go shopping.   Remember?  It was Bush’s war.  And it was (like virtually all his lifetime accomplishments) an unqualified failure.

Why did the U.S. go to war at all?  It was not the weapons of mass destruction (that was a lie.)  It was not bringing democracy to the middle east (that was ex post spin).  Nor was it even to set up a beachhead for the military in the region (that was plausible, but not necessary.)   It might have been about oil (but I’m not going there.)  It might have been about getting Bush re-elected (but I’m not going there either.)

No, I suspect (and this would explain the terrible lack of planning) that one main purpose of the war was to demonstrate to enemies and rogue states just how easily, quickly, and economically, America could move, reach out, and crush them—all without bearing much of a price.  It was in a phrase—Shock and Awe—a kind of military theater.   A display of “rapid dominance“–designed not just for the enemy, but for all the world to see.

Only, the script didn’t pan out.  And instead of demonstrating the awesome capacity of the United States to carry out foreign policy by military means, the Iraq war demonstrated exactly the opposite.   It was a military and foreign policy disaster—effectively displaying to the entire world that the military might of the No. 1 warrior nation in history could be thwarted and untold pain inflicted by relatively small, poorly armed groups of guerilla fighters.   That is what the United States spent in excess of three trillion dollars demonstrating in HDTV to the entire world for seven years straight.  Its own ineffectuality.

So yes, I suspect we don’t want any part of this.

But it was our war.  And we will pay.  In all sorts of ways.   A great deal and for a long time to come.

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