Death & Destruction Good, Oral Sex Bad - Remember That
I've just finished reading Thomas Ricks' new book, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. Now this book, on top of Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, and Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War by Anthony Shadid, leaves me stunned on the one hand, and angry on the other.
These books have left me wondering how in the world Congress took a sitting U.S. President through an impeachment for lying about an act of fellatio in the oval office, yet doesn't seem to have so much as its feathers ruffled about the ineptitude, arrogance, hubris, and fundamental lack of honesty that emanates out of this administration and it's principal players. Let me be more specific regarding who the principal players are when we're talking about this specific issue, i.e. the current Iraq war: Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz (who is now the president of the World Bank, a McNamarian attempt to expunge himself of his sins from his last job as the man main under Rumsfeld, and he couldn't be World Bank president nearly long enough to make that happen), Gen. Tommy Franks, Paul Bremer, and maybe George Tenet, who I feel sorry for on some level but then again his pain comes no where near what the military in the field is going through, what the Iraqi people have had to bear now and into the future, or what the American people are having lifted out of their wallets daily, so my "feel sorry" quotient for the guy who played no small part in our getting into Iraq isn't high at all.
As of today there are over 2,500 American dead, and over 19,000 wounded (for the most recent numbers I recommend Iraq Coalition Casualties). I'm guessing that this site, Iraq Body Count, is essentially bonafide, as it looks well referenced and the major complaint seems to be that they under-report Iraqi casualties, but let's give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that the 40,000 + Iraqi deaths is a reasonable estimate. So we have a large number of American dead, and the number is increasing pretty much weekly, and a huge number of wounded Americans, and if we take the extraordinary number of Iraqi dead and multiply that by say 4 (Americans, due to on-site emergency critical care and rapid medevac to state-of-the-art medical facilities, are MUCH more likely to survive injury than Iraqis), we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 160,000 Iraqi wounded, and why?
First it was because Sadaam had weapons of mass destruction and was supporting terrorists - no, actually, he wasn't and the intelligence was there to support that neither was true but that didn't support what the administration wanted to do so it wasn't paid attention to. Then our focus became helping democracy take root in the region - it's doubtful that the American people would have bought into this were that the prime motive to begin with. Of course our excursion into Iraq was executed with little to no appreciation for the fact that some regions of the world are resistant to democracy when ethnic, tribal, and religious affiliations take precedence to any consideration of the rules for or implementation of democracy, an institution which of course would limit ethnic, tribal, or religious prerogatives. Whatever the reason and how fallacious they were, the fact was that we went into the country with NO plan to take the necessary steps to secure it and afford it the chance to get on an even keel - there was no plan to occupy the country, in spite of the fact that we just conquered it. Neocon fools like Wolfowitz proclaimed that the Iraqis would take over after we did the fighting and won the war (he appeared to have in mind his buddy Chalabi), and the restoration of the country would pay for itself, so who needed a plan for occupation/restoration, or anything else past winning the war?
Now Rumsfeld bought into this ridiculous self-delusion and, in the spirit of his much vaunted "military transformation", decided to ignore every signal he received from the military that told him he couldn't do what was planned for with the troop levels he was dictating - he was CEO of a company somewhere, and was the SecDef once before, what need he for generals, their training, experience, and good common sense? He of course knew better and frankly he, more than anyone else, with the possible exception of generals like Franks and Meyers who essentially supported the man's plan, is responsible for the large number of dead and wounded - their blood is on his hands, but he's too damn obtuse and self-rightous to likely ever been particularly bothered by that.
Each of the books I mentioned at the start of this provide an outstanding picture for how the Iraq adventure became so incredibly messed up, and it didn't start after we got there. Cobra II, as does Fiasco make clear that the planning leading up to the war was rife with problems from poor direction from the Pentagon; the Pentagon excluding the State department from any part in the planning for the war or its aftermath, resulting in eliminating the expertise that would have helped to identify, address and possibly correct the problems we eventually ran into; a rush to make the war happen which guaranteed that the military was not appropriately prepared to take on what it would have to deal with after it won the war; and the list goes on.
Thomas Ricks quotes an Iraqi blogger by the name of The Mesopotamian who shares a possible outcome, which would arise when we left the country, to our involvement in Iraq:
"That would be followed by fighting between Shiite and Sunni groups along the murky ethnic dividing line running southwest from Baghdad. In the capital, 'all shops and markets are closed and start to be looted.' Next, the Kurds would move to capture the key oil city of Kirkuk, on the edge of their historical territory. 'Turkey cannot allow that and invades from the North.' The Kurds would turn to Iran for protection, as would the Shiites, who would feel abandoned by the west and betrayed once more by the United States. In response to the Iranian intervention, he predicted, a torrent of Arabs from Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia would pour into Iraq to support their Sunni brothers. 'All join an infernal orgy of death and destruction the likes of which have seldom been seen,' he said, and oil prices would rocket past one hundred dollars a barrel as 'fanaticism sweeps the region.'"
Now of course this is just one man's speculation for what might happen, but the problem is that something like this can't simply be scoffed at - the possibility of it, or some variation of it occurring is real. Why? Because we went into Iraq without good reason, completely ill-prepared due to an extraordinary hubris, and worse than and of that, we had no plan for what we'd do after we inevitably won the war. This administration has created the chance that we may find ourselves going back to war in the Middle East, fighting a very different enemy, not to mention potentially providing the keys to the Middle East to the Iranian government and leaving us with a much larger problem that we may never resolve.
So I ask you, how is it that an act of oral sex that was lied about trumps all of this?