"…we have in fact accomplished our objectives…"
~ Dick Cheney, January 24, 2007
There’s lots of crazy talk these days about why we went to Iraq, and why — thousands of dead and wounded bodies, billions of dollars of destruction, and over four years later — we are still there, stupid Americans behaving badly. The people mutter and murmur of how Iraq might be winnable, unwinnable, partially winnable, or quagmirish.
The people were once confused, troubled, even angry. But that was before we started listening, really listening, to our very own architect of Armageddon, a proud halcyon-kingfisher of Halliburton, that pied piper of neoconservatism.
Cheney’s outlandish and otherworldly interview with Wolf Blitzer has been studied humorously, seriously, with great concern (and not only for his mental state). We have joked, analyzed, divined and meditated on the esoteric meaning of Cheney’s words, and perhaps, his very existence. Yet, as with so many merely human pursuits, we needn’t have bothered.
Cheney has given us the answer, in his own words. He and his pals have indeed accomplished their objectives in Iraq.
The social reformers and democracy lovers might point out that Iraq is crippled and torn, without a legitimate central state or any functioning democracy. They might point out that the country is enmeshed in a civil war.
The bleeding hearts might bemoan the death and injury to millions of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, and of a level of violence and economic deprivation that should make those responsible for it in this country fall down in shame and beg to be waterboarded.
The patriotic fighters of terror-around-the-world-wherever-it-might-be could point out that the dangerous game of "Kill an American" has never been more wildly popular in Iraq, nor more successful.
The establishmentarians who purchase American Congressmen and women by the boatload might suggest that this escapade has globally devalued that reliable American currency of good will. They might suggest that Iraq has become a two trillion dollar money pit for the American government.
Federal Reserve bankers could quietly worry that the money we have wasted in Iraq (and funneled into friendly pockets) was printed on paper, devaluing today’s dollar at home, and paupering the average working class American family in coming decades.
The neocons brazenly lied, cheered, and goaded the rest of the country to get their well-loved decapitation of Iraq, to gain US military positioning between purported enemies, to make enemies of Iraqi and Iraqi, to fully invest and entangle the American military, and the American back home, in the political struggles of others. Yet even these greasy spots on the highway of American political history have noticed that in fact, the "war" in Iraq has been badly handled.
Dick Cheney rejects all that. It’s all good. OK, he actually said "hogwash" but he meant, "it’s all good." Trust me on this.
They have indeed achieved their objectives. A troubled violent oil-rich region has become America’s own troubled, violent and oil-rich region. Our military provocation has birthed a multifaceted insurgency that can be manipulated directly, or used indirectly, to support any number of new government programs and policies, foreign and domestic.
Want a war with Iran? It’s easy to justify, with "Iranians" working with Iraqi insurgents.
Need to pump up the dollar, or to ensure we can still print and borrow at will? The situation in Iraq allows the President to be seen by the average Joe and Millie as "doing the right thing" in buying up oil to "double" the "Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Just being prudent, you know.
Got an urge to whack a Somalian, or perhaps a Sudanese? These guys show up in Iraq as insurgents or as friends of Iranians, and having the U.S. fleet in place makes a little righteous target practice quick and easy.
Worried about Congress? Don’t be — this is militarized foreign policy, not the old-fashioned kind in which republics once engaged. Don Rumsfeld — unlike FEMA Director Mike Brown, really did do a "heck of a job." Everything the President and his trusty VP want to do they CAN do because military operations (specifically, ongoing military operations) cannot be micromanaged by that finicky old Congress. Everyone knows that, silly!
Freedom lovers? Well, freedom is messy, as Rummy used to say, and sometimes, old-fashioned Constitutional amendments and other clutter that rumbles around in the American psyche may need to be set aside, shelved, and I don’t know, detained indefinitely?
Cheney is right. He became Vice President in an age where American industry and agriculture can no longer compete hands down, where financial centers are decentralizing faster than a New York minute, where service industries are increasingly virtual, mobile, lean and globally owned, and where a nuclear neo-Roman army is as welcome to the party as a flatulent amnesiac. He and his pals, dinosaurs all, could not to adapt to the new world, and instead sought to alter it to their well-established tastes.
Their efforts to alter reality to make their worldviews and personal profit centers appear relevant has worked so far. The good news is the mammals are at the gate, and they smell dinosaur blood.
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for MilitaryWeek.com, hosted the call-in radio show American Forum, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com and Liberty and Power. Archives of her American Forum radio program can be accessed here and here. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here.