As of today, March 20, it has now been six years since the United States invaded Iraq. Yes, the United States still has tens of thousands of troops in Iraq, although we don’t hear much about the war any more. What happened to the war?
The war should have been an issue in the election. It wasn’t. And thanks to the disaster that is the Republican revolution that wasn’t, it didn’t even have to be. We hardly heard about the war after the Democratic and Republican presidential conventions. Republicans were perfectly willing to exchange one war criminal for another. Many Democrats only opposed the war because it was a Republican war. And now that Obama is president, no one from either party seems to mind that he wants to send 17,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
The war is still an immoral, aggressive, unjust, unconstitutional, unnecessary, and senseless war that that violates every “just war” principle ever formulated. It was a manufactured war based on manipulated intelligence, bogus claims of weapons of mass destruction, and an assortment of other lies.
The war is still making terrorists and enemies of the United States. Although Fred Barnes wrote (in the Weekly Standard) that the invasion of Iraq was “the greatest act of benevolence one country has ever done for another,” we know that it was instead, as Lt. Gen. William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, described it: “The greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history.”
The war is still draining the treasury. The cakewalk that was supposed to cost $50 billion has bled U.S. taxpayers for almost a trillion dollars. About $12 billion was spent fighting the Iraq war each month last year. It costs about $390,000 to deploy one soldier to Iraq for one year. The cost for a lifetime of support and medical care for each severely wounded American soldier is in the millions.
The war is still resulting in the deaths of Iraqis — thanks to the U.S. invasion and occupation and the genocide we unleashed. The latest estimate of the number of Iraqis who have died in the war instigated by the Bush administration, and continued by the Obama administration, is about 1 million. Additionally, there are the millions of Iraqis who are wounded, disabled, displaced, homeless, refugees, widows, or orphans.
The war is still destroying the lives of American soldiers and their families. Many thousands of U.S. soldiers have been severely wounded. Hundreds of these have had limbs amputated. Untold numbers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Defense Department doctors have recently reported that there may be as many as 360,000 U.S. soldiers who have suffered wartime brain injuries. Some returning soldiers will spend the rest of their lives unable to hold down a job. Others will live out their days as physical and/or emotional basket cases.
The war is still killing American soldiers. When I wrote about the war on its third anniversary, 2,317 American soldiers had died for a lie. On the fourth anniversary, that number had risen to 3,218. On the fifth, 3,992. The number of dead American soldiers is now up to 4,259. Although the total number of American deaths per year is falling, there are two ways in which American deaths are rising: military suicides and the war Afghanistan. There were more American soldiers who killed themselves in January of this year than died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Military suicides are not only up for the fourth year in a row, they are at the highest level they have ever been. The number of American soldiers killed in Afghanistan is now up to 666. God only knows how many men from Obama’s 17,000-troop surge will be added to that number. Yet, none of these soldiers had to die. They died neither for our freedoms nor the freedoms of anyone else. They all died in vain.
What happened to the war? Nothing happened to the war. It is still just as wrong as ever. It is still just as deadly ever. I’m afraid that most Americans, like Rhett Butler, just don’t give a damn. As William Lloyd Garrison once said: “The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue leap from its pedestal and hasten the resurrection of the dead.”