Sunday, May 02, 2004

Iraq Will Go Down as Biggest US Blunder Ever

(first published May 1, 2004)

May Day, May Day! Or should that be m'aidez, m'aidez?

The month of May brings two noteworthy news items--neither likely to give Americans more pride in their selected/appointed president and his government. Although in this case, W cannot be held responsible, it will certainly prove to be another occasion on which the "buck" will stop somewhere else--anywhere else.

First of all we learn of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the famed Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. For those hardened cynics among the gentle readers of this blog, perhaps these revelations are neither shocking nor even deeply disturbing--in and of themselves. But if you are sufficiently cynical (if that is even possible these days), you cannot help but wonder if the Bush Administration and the US Department of Defense are not deliberately doing everything they can to inflame the world of Islam. Given radical Islam's beliefs about women, even though by Western standards reprehensible, the US could hardly have done anything more heinous than having WOMEN sexually abusing Muslim men. And someone actually took pictures? The woman soldier in these images is almost certain to spend time in military prison over this. Who in his right mind would let someone take photographs?

So, the damage is done and now, if anyone even thought it was possible, the Islamic world has an even deeper disgust of the United States than before. And this kind of thing will move moderates to support the extremists. This is so unbelievably stupid. This is throwing gasoline on a fire that threatens to consume the world for the next century. This is catastrophically stupid--and, sadly, not the least bit surprising. The "advisors" in the Bush Administration, the collective brain trust, is either so incredibly ignorant of the world or so genuinely evil that it really beggars belief.

Both "sides" in the US seem to agree that since we invaded Iraq we must stay and fix it. At least, so it has seemed so far. But developments over the early spring point to a much different conclusion. The Iraq invasion is an error of such colossal proportions that even the world's only remaining superpower has neither the money nor the sustainable will to fix it. If you have not read it elsewhere, mark that you have read it here: the United States will ultimately withdraw from a war torn, bloody Iraq with nothing to show for it but the loss of thousands of soldiers (killed or maimed), hundreds of billions of dollars thrown away, the vitriolic hatred of a large proportion of the world's billion or so Muslims, and the complete loss of respect of the entire rest of the civilized world. That will be president George W. Bush's legacy. And America's greatest moment of shame.

The second item involves William Webb's favourite politician, Ted Kennedy. Senator Kennedy was quoted as having said, "The war in Iraq will go down in history as the greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States." Whatever else may be wrong with Senator Kennedy, whatever else he may be guilty of or whatever else he may have said, you have got to give him his due on this one. He is dead on the mark. In closing, let me repeat his words--words that I have said and typed long before now anyway. And for those of you who are still in deep denial and supporting this fiasco of historic proportions, remember you read these words here and now. If we can compare notes in 20 years or so, let's see who was right.

"The war in Iraq will go down in history as the greatest foreign policy blunder in the history of the United States."

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