The evolution of excuses for blundering into and maintaining the Iraq war is becoming comical. The first excuse was weapons of mass destruction. Do you remember the constant talk about weapons of mass destruction, "the worst weapons in the hands of the worst dictator"? Do you remember how President Bush said the sole reason for the war was to disarm Saddam Hussein? Do you remember how we were warned about a smoking gun that could be a mushroom cloud? Do you remember how Iraq was an "imminent" threat to the world? Do you remember how a 65-year-old dictator, widely acknowledged as not the smartest guy in the world, was compared to Hitler, who had put together a regime and an army that conquered Europe?
Well, oops. Not a single weapon of mass destruction was found in the country. Furthermore, the Iraqis had said there were no weapons of mass destruction. To cover their behinds, U.S. officials started peddling the story that Saddam wanted people to believe he had weapons of mass destruction. That U.S. lie didn't fly because Saddam and his government repeatedly denied that the weapons existed. Furthermore, Iraq had invited in U.N. inspectors who were verifying the absence of weapons, which was one reason Bush forced the inspectors out by going to war. He had to start his war before the inspectors proved his bogus intelligence amounted to a pack of lies.
Enter the second excuse: Bush wanted to spread democracy in the Middle East, starting with Iraq. That never progressed past elections because, as everyone familiar with the country knew or should have known, a vote would elect a Shia majority with two fractious minorities, Kurds and Sunnis. This is the government that has proven to be totally ineffective. It also greatly increased the influence of Iran. It has sparked the civil war in Iraq.
Bush lately has hinted that his faith in democracy is weakening by implying that a reasonable authority would be acceptable. Trouble is, the U.S. can't even find a dictator willing to take the job, given the present situation.
Now, when the issue has become getting Americans home from a war that has lasted longer than World War II, the final excuse is to trot out the empire's favorite ambiguity: stability. If we leave Iraq, instability will result. It's hard to believe anyone can say that with a straight face. Iraq is unstable already. It's in the midst of civil war, with a million refugees and displaced people, hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, its economy a total wreck, and virtually all work on repairing the infrastructure at a standstill.
Ironically, the last time Iraq was stable was when Saddam was in power. Iraq is unstable because we made it unstable. We destroyed Iraq's infrastructure, its economy, and its government. We did. One of the most shameful lies peddled by the Bush administration has been to blame the poor state of Iraq's infrastructure on Saddam. We destroyed that infrastructure with wars, bombings, and medieval sanctions. The miracle is that with all we were doing, Saddam managed to produce more electricity and more oil than our occupation has been able to produce.
Finally, how is it the U.S. can claim that after four years, there is no trained Iraqi army and police force able to handle security? We send kids into combat with about 16 weeks of training. And why is the U.S. building the largest embassy in the world in a Third World country that is in chaos?
What "Herbert Hoover" Bush has done is destroy the credibility of the U.S., sully our reputation almost beyond repair, demonstrate the weakness of our leadership and the vulnerability of our military, and convince many people in the world that we are an evil nation of idiots led by fools. Let's at least hope that he destroys the Republican Party, too. It deserves a zero existence.
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 50 years.