Mission Accomplished: Was Bush Right?
October 29, 2012 by Bruce Wallace, 121Contact
Suppose we had believed Bush's audacious proclamation of May 2003...Suppose we had packed up and left Iraq at that moment...Would we be better off? Would the Iraqis be better off?
That's not what happened, of course. What followed was eight and a half years of horrific destruction of life, society, and morality. What started out as a search for weapons of mass destruction morphed into the absurd attempt to execute the Army's deeply flawed COIN tactical manual. And it ended in the U.S. being defeated.
If we left in 2003 we would have avoided the deaths of 4,487 U.S. troops, the serious wounding of 32,223 others. We spent some US$3,000,000,000,000. That three trillion dollars did not just disappear into the sky. Most of it found its way into the influential American Military Industrial Complex which thrives on death and destruction.
But what of the Iraqis? If we left in 2003 what would have become of them? We don't know, but it's hard to imagine anything worse than what we unleashed upon them. Upwards of 100,000 deaths, millions of orphans, uncountable cases of prolonged trauma, concentrations of hideous birth defects, and a ruined culture now more deeply divided than before we arrived.
Thier physical infrastructure is so badly damaged that electricity and clean water are still scarce, even in the capital, Baghdad. The medical establishment, which was one of the strongest in the Middle East, is badly weakened by the exoduss of trained, experienced physicians and teaching doctors. Bombings are still common. Public Education has taken a large step backward.
Labor unions, crushed by coalition forces in order to enable privatization of industry, are under serious pressure from P.M. al-Maliki, including his order to oilfield managers to stop dealing with worker representatives. Travel abroad to build trade union solidarity has been restricted and union activists have suffered discriminatory pay cuts and job transfers.
The list of losses is long, but let's look at what we gained. We ended up with an Iraq existing as a satellite of Iran, perhaps our greatest foe in the region. Not the victory we struggled for; not the West-leaning Democracy we fought and died for; not a victory at all.
Maybe we should have listened to Bush and pulled out immediately.