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Iraq: 10 Years After Invasion
March 19, 2013 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Iraq: 10 Years After Invasion. "The United States invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003 on the false pretext that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. The mass destruction of the invasion, occupation, and civil war followed, and amplified the societal and health disintegration caused by the previous decade of sanctions. Iraqi lives and communities remain war-devastated ten years on. American military and contractor families struggle with the loss of loved ones as well as the emotional and economic burdens of living with long-term injuries and illnesses. Total US federal spending associated with the Iraq war has been $1.7 trillion through FY2013. In addition, future health and disability payments for veterans will total $590 billion and interest accrued to pay for the war will add up to $3.9 trillion."

"The goal of the Costs of War project has been to outline a broad understanding of the domestic and international costs and consequences of those wars. A team of 30 economists, anthropologists, political scientists, legal experts, and physicians were assembled to do this analysis. Their research papers are posted and summarized on this website."
posted by homunculus (223 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Guardian is running a series about Iraq a decade after the war:

Iraq war: 10 years on
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Based on the number in the Costs of War report Mother Jones suggests that, with interest, the war will end up costing $6 trillion through to 2053, against projected costs of $60 billion.

But, hey, that's what happens when you elect a low tax and spend fiscal conservative.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


. x 2x10^5
posted by lalochezia at 10:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Remember when Sec. of Defense Wolfowitz said Iraq's oil money would pay for the war?
posted by surplus at 10:23 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2013


Juan Cole: What we Did to Iraq
posted by homunculus at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a national disgrace that no one has been held accountable for this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [21 favorites]


The Last Letter by Tomas Young
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis.

Most of whom wish we'd left a long time ago.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on March 19, 2013


The Guardian's blog on data visualisation (which is great by the way, found here) have made this infographic as part of the '10 years on' series homunculus mentioned. Well worth a look.
posted by Ned G at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Bush had spent that $3,000,000,000,000 on shoes, no American child would ever have to wear the same shoes more than once. Or he could have bought everyone in Iraq an Aston Martin. Those would be the actions of a madman, of course, yet still more sensible than what he actually did do.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 10:32 AM on March 19, 2013 [37 favorites]


The United States invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003 on the false pretext that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

WHAT?!
posted by shakespeherian at 10:33 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


But, hey, that's what happens when you elect a low tax and spend fiscal conservative.

Indeed. History is not kind to Republics who decide to spend their blood and treasure in such feckless ways. See Alcibiades and the Peloponnesian war for more information.
posted by bartonlong at 10:34 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interestingly, Gallup's polling since 2004 has shown remarkable consistency in terms of the 50-60% of Americans who see the war as a mistake.

22% of Iraqis have a favorable view of the US leadership.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:36 AM on March 19, 2013


I caught some of the MSM coverage of this by accident earlier and I nearly threw something at the TV when the talking heads yammered about "Who could have predicted that Saddam wouldn't have WMDs, that there would be civil war, that we would still be there many years later, etc, etc, etc."

I was like, "Uh, most everyone on MetaFilter?"
posted by entropicamericana at 10:40 AM on March 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


MI6 and CIA were told before invasion that Iraq had no active WMD: BBC's Panorama reveals fresh evidence that agencies dismissed intelligence from Iraqi foreign minister and spy chief

Iraq: The spies who fooled the world. The lies of two Iraqi spies were central to the claim - at the heart of the UK and US decision to go to war in Iraq - that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But even before the fighting started, intelligence from highly-placed sources was available suggesting he did not, Panorama has learned.
posted by homunculus at 10:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The United States invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003 on the false pretext that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

WHAT?!


In interest of a historically accurate MeFi comment, the proper response should be: "Surely this will spell doom for the Bush administration."
posted by entropicamericana at 10:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's not a particularly honest web site: " While bringing democracy to the two countries was not the initial rationale for either war (v. eliminating safe haven to terrorists and weapons of mass destruction), democracy promotion quickly became a stated goal for each."

That's completely and documentably false. The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq specifically includes:
"Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;"
And all that talk about neo-conservatives and their desire to promote democracy abroad through military force never happened either?
posted by Jahaza at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a national disgrace that no one has been held accountable for this.

Who’s held accountable for Iraq? Despite all the fatalities, injuries and costs of the conflict, 10 years later we've apparently learned nothing
posted by homunculus at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The memory hole this war has already gone down and it's not more than a decade later is truly horrifying.
posted by blucevalo at 10:43 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


This article from the Guardian is particularly relevant to me, who was 15 ten years ago, and particularly this sentence: For many, the Iraq war was a demonstration that power could ultimately bypass any civil protest. Protesting against the Iraq war was really my first political activity and I think the fact that not only did it not work, but that we knew it wouldn't work and that the war was a foregone conclusion casts a large shadow across my thinking about a lot of things.
posted by hoyland at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2013 [33 favorites]


So, when are we going to start looking into arresting Cheney and Bush for this and trying them for war crimes?
posted by Old'n'Busted at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Does anyone remember what the big furor was in the news in the weeks leading up to the Iraq War buildup? You know, the stuff that was going on before Bush started talking about WMDs and how we had to go in right away?

I do.

Dick Cheney was refusing to hand over some particular documents, and he had literally just lost a FOIA suit and was about to face renewed pressure to hand it over. But all of a sudden, whaddya know, Bush suddenly was talking about WMDs and insisting we do something now now now, and....the whole Cheney documents thing got dropped.

I have always been suspicious about that. Always. Since day one. And I have always said so.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


Jahaza,

I don't see how that quote you pull up is in any way inconsistent with the statement on the web site about the initial rationale for war. What am I missing.

EDIT: changed 'consistent' to 'inconsistent'.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:45 AM on March 19, 2013


I don't see how that quote you pull up is in any way consistent with the statement on the web site about the initial rationale for war. What am I missing.

They say that democracy promotion was not an initial rationale for the war, but it was from the beginning. The United States had a policy of democracy promotion in iraq from at least 1998, that's the "Iraq Liberation Act" it refers to. The Iraq War was never just about WMD.
posted by Jahaza at 10:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dick Cheney was refusing to hand over some particular documents, and he had literally just lost a FOIA suit and was about to face renewed pressure to hand it over.

Right. I remember that, too. Cheney was under pressure to disclose who had been involved in the secret energy taskforce discussions to formulate his secret long-term energy plan and other details. We still don't know much about who was involved and what he and his other oil industry pals were up to. Although it's not implausible to speculate that their secret plans might have included taking over oil rich countries like Iraq, so maybe the war wasn't so much a smokescreen as an acceleration in the timeline.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


You say: "They say that democracy promotion was not an initial rationale for the war"


The website says: "While bringing democracy to the two countries was not the initial rationale for either war"

emphasis added.

I think that is the difference.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.

None so blind as those who will not see.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:52 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, you're misreading it. It says democracy promotion became a rationale later, which isn't possible if it was among the initial rationales.
posted by Jahaza at 10:53 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cheney was under pressure to disclose who had been involved in the secret energy taskforce discussions to formulate his secret long-term energy plan and other details. We still don't know much about who was involved and what he and his other oil industry pals were up to. Although it's not implausible to speculate that their secret plans might have included taking over oil rich countries like Iraq, so maybe the war wasn't so much a smokescreen as an acceleration in the timeline.

Whatever - it was pitched as being a sort of "we're going after the guys behind 9/11", and it came when Cheney's back was against the wall, so I've always been suspicious.

And I still wish I'd seen this on Googlemaps just that once.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"While bringing democracy to the two countries was not the initial rationale for either war"

"An" or "The", I think changing the casus belli when the original one doesn't work out is pretty damn shabby.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It says democracy promotion became a rationale later,

$preading democra$y!
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2013


If Bush had spent that $3,000,000,000,000 on shoes, no American child would ever have to wear the same shoes more than once. Or he could have bought everyone in Iraq an Aston Martin. Those would be the actions of a madman, of course, yet still more sensible than what he actually did do.

Obviously the actions of a madman. Any sane person would buy everyone in Iraq a Toyota Corolla and shoes for every American kid every month.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:59 AM on March 19, 2013


On 10th Anniversary, Who Is the Most and Least Sorry About Supporting the War in Iraq?
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah--maybe I'm thinking of a different thing Cheney was busily covering up, then, EmpressCallipygos. The man had a fetish for secrecy like no other VP we've seen, so the energy task force business was only one of dozens of things people were pushing him for. I'm constantly amazed how quickly people seemed to have forgotten just how much Cheney and the rest of the administration insisted on keeping secret.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:02 AM on March 19, 2013


Remember when Sec. of Defense Wolfowitz said Iraq's oil money would pay for the war?

Bacevich via Fallows: Ten Years Later, What Paul Wolfowitz 'Owes to the Country'
posted by homunculus at 11:04 AM on March 19, 2013


"An" or "The", I think changing the casus belli when the original one doesn't work out is pretty damn shabby.

That was George Bush's entire case for war. Remember the week when it was meant to be avenging the gas attacks on the Kurds that had occurred while (or right after, I don't remember) Rumsfeld was in Baghdad? In 1988. Those same gas attacks the US only acknowledged so Bush could use them to attempt to justify the war.
posted by hoyland at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2013


$1.7 trillion in federal spending, divided by 142 million employed people in the US, divided by 10 years, comes out right around $100 a month. $100 a month out of every paycheck in the US for the last 10 years.
posted by kadonoishi at 11:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


And today, there's this:

Baghdad hit by deadly blasts on invasion anniversary: Up to 60 people have been killed in a series of car and suicide bombings mainly in Shia areas in and around Iraq's capital, Baghdad, officials say.

Fuck.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, when are we going to start looking into arresting Cheney and Bush for this and trying them for war crimes?

2016, at the earliest. Better to read it now, before it gets memory-holed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:20 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least CNN is commemorating the event with a hard-hitting "Where are they now?" retrospective - you know, to cover the important issues. Who wants to think about the deaths of innocent civilians when you can learn that Tommy Franks now sits on the board of Chuck E. Cheese!
posted by antonymous at 11:22 AM on March 19, 2013


My son's 10th birthday was yesterday.

"Ten years ago today," my wife said, "we were sitting in the hospital watching the war start."

Not exactly how I want to remember that day.

For the record, it was that kind of white-light sunny with impossibly beautiful fluffy clouds and I was tired and excited and happy and scared all at the same time.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


$100 a month out of every paycheck in the US for the last 10 years.

When the war was actually going on, and it was costing something like $20M an hour (or more), I was valuing everything in terms of how many minutes in Iraq it would take to fix this. Restore Buffalo Central Terminal? Ten minutes. New Detroit-Windsor bridge? Half a day. That sort of thing.

Nevermind directing all that money to public education or health -- even if it had gone to the domestic construction industry for WPA-type projects instead of the industrial-military complex, it would have been far more productive and valuable and lasting.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:30 AM on March 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Channel 4 news have been asking this week whatever happened to George W Bush?
posted by brilliantmistake at 11:31 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


2016, at the earliest. Better to read it now, before it gets memory-holed.

Never, because no candidate who can get the kind of campaign financing and press coverage needed to be taken seriously will ever be willing to open up this can of worms. Especially since so many who are still economically and politically powerful played contributing roles in the fiasco (some of them with better intentions than others). We always act like this ugly chapter in our history was a Bush/Cheney two-man-show, but the truth has always been that most of the Washington establishment went gleefully along for the ride.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:34 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


From the start, the only U.S. historic event that seemed comparable in foolishness, predictable regional destablization, and sheer waste of treasure is Johnson's escalation of the Vietnam war.

What a bloody shame, literally. The whole sorry exercise.
posted by bearwife at 11:38 AM on March 19, 2013


Interestingly, Gallup's polling since 2004 has shown remarkable consistency in terms of the 50-60% of Americans who see the war as a mistake.

What's more interesting to me is that the percentage has gone down, by 10%, since 2008.
posted by seemoreglass at 11:40 AM on March 19, 2013


Let's try to remember what happened here. Especially those who spat on our troops when they returned from Iraq.
posted by surplus at 11:58 AM on March 19, 2013


blah blah blah
posted by larry_darrell at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2013


Nevermind directing all that money to public education or health -- even if it had gone to the domestic construction industry for WPA-type projects instead of the industrial-military complex, it would have been far more productive and valuable and lasting.

I have a suspicion that oligarchs want to make the United States into a third-world banana republic, which can be easily exploited and managed in the same way that other third-world oligarchies in South America, Africa and Asia are run.

To do this, you need to keep people from being able to move around freely and reduce services for most to poverty-level subsistence: Set up a surveillance system throughout the country through domestic wiretapping and drones. Require papers from citizens and non-citizens alike. Let the bridges collapse and the roads turn into a mess of potholes. Let public schools get shut down for lack of funding. Starve fire, police and emergency services so that neighborhoods decay into war zones. Set up welfare-to-work programs that are kickbacks to employers. Distract people with culture wars and reality TV. Etc. etc.

The war for Iraqi oil fits neatly into this in a lot of ways. More money for military-industrial projects further enriches oligarchs, while putting the American public further into debt. Oligarchs in the energy sector get more control over dwindling Middle East oil supplies. Surveillance and population control technology can be improved quickly in war zones, which is then brought back home to the United States to further whittle away civil liberties. Public debt further squeezes domestic budgets for basic services, as we are starting to discover more acutely when Republicans do their obstructionist dance that causes across-the-board funding cuts to things that actually make the country work, like air traffic controllers, or FBI agents going after real criminals, or NIH grant funding that facilitates cancer research, etc.

War is a racket in a lot of ways. It is about spreading corporatism as far and as wide as possible, but particularly here in the US.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


TAC: Fawlty Towers In Mesopotamia
I was reminded of that classic comedy recently when Tony Blair, who helped lead us into the Iraq flytrap ten years ago, appeared on BBC’s “Newsnight.” In painstaking detail, the former British prime minister admitted that life in Iraq today is not quite what he had hoped it would be.

After all, there “are still terrorist activities that are killing innocent people for no good reason.” The “liberation” of Iraq saw the death of at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians (other estimates are up to 200,000), not to mention thousands of coalition troops. The country is still facing “big problems.” All true, conceded Blair. But when all is said and done, he reasoned, at least a murderous despot is gone and democracy has taken root in the heart of the Arab world.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:29 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eight Haiku For Iraq War's 10th Anniversary
"Those who sold the war
Still are respected voices.
Our blinders are dark."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:32 PM on March 19, 2013


Reason: The Iraq War - 10 Years Later
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. To mark the anniversary, Reason asked a group of leading policy analysts, scholars, and journalists to consider the lessons and legacies of the war, a decade after the launch of hostilities. What follows is a critical look at both the war abroad and its impact at home
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:35 PM on March 19, 2013


I take no pride in knowing that I was right about the War on Iraq being a crime, that the reasons given for committing this crime never made any sense because they never were about making sense, just the excuse of a bully eager to throw a shitty little country against the wall daring you to disbelieve him, that where our leaders didn't turn out to be bullies and crooks, they were fools and yes men, that thousands of US, UK, Dutch and other soldiers would die for their vanity, let alone the uncounted numbers of Iraqi civilians.

There's no pride to be had because everything we did to stop the war from happening was futile and it turned out that democracy meant just voting every couple of years, not actually being able to stop your leaders from committing crimes against humanity in your name.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:39 PM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


I have a suspicion that oligarchs want to make the United States into a third-world banana republic, which can be easily exploited and managed in the same way that other third-world oligarchies in South America

I think this is probably backwards (though accurate) - oligarchs want to make the United States easily exploited and managed (deregulated, weaker unions etc), but all things being equal would probably prefer that those changes wouldn't turn the country into a banana republic, and many probably labor under the misconception that it's good for the country and makes it more competitive, but ultimately what life becomes for the regular people is just Not Their Problem. Regulations are their immediate "problem". (plus - myopia, short-term thinking, etc).

People can be immensely socially destructive out of blinkered self-interest without intending to be immensely socially destructive.
posted by anonymisc at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Harper's: A Letter To Paul Wolfowitz
In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter’s Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue. “We cannot wait to act until the threat is imminent,” you said in 2002. Toppling Saddam Hussein would validate the alternative to waiting. In Iraq the United States would demonstrate the efficacy of preventive war.

So even conceding a hat tip to Albert Wohlstetter, the Bush Doctrine was largely your handiwork. The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed. What made it necessary to act immediately was not Saddam’s purported WMD program. It was not his nearly nonexistent links to Al Qaeda. It was certainly not the way he abused his own people. No, what drove events was the imperative of claiming for the United States prerogatives allowed no other nation.

I do not doubt the sincerity of your conviction (shared by President Bush) that our country could be counted on to exercise those prerogatives in ways beneficial to all humankind — promoting peace, democracy, and human rights. But the proximate aim was to unshackle American power. Saddam Hussein’s demise would serve as an object lesson for all: Here’s what we can do. Here’s what we will do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yesterday, FRONTLINE published this little interactive:

How We Spent $800 Billion (and Counting)
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's completely and documentably false. The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq specifically includes:

"Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;"


I think it's hilarious that you had to go through a list of 15 "whereas" clauses before you get to this.

While this was definitely on that list, you're shitting me if you think this was any part of the rationale by which the war was sold to the American public. Do you honestly think that, but for the lack of Iraqi democracy, we would not have invaded Iraq?
posted by me & my monkey at 12:46 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Let's try to remember what happened here. Especially those who spat on our troops when they returned from Iraq.

You have documented evidence of this thing happening, I trust?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:48 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


How We Spent $800 Billion (and Counting)

Nice, though caveat; the presentation is conceptually flawed IMO - we (humans) intuitively vastly underestimate the volume difference between an inner and outer circle. By depicting the costs as ring-volume instead of bar-length, it vastly underplays the scale differences, even when mathematically accurate. Some people are trained or experienced in getting ballpark scale estimates from ring volume, but that's not the norm.
posted by anonymisc at 12:53 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


While this was definitely on that list, you're shitting me if you think this was any part of the rationale by which the war was sold to the American public.

You think neoconservative democracy promotion by force and things like the Project for the New American Century just never happened?

Democracy promotion was part of the rhetoric from 1998 at least, they pushed a regime change policy that was adopted as law by the U.S. Congress.

"a determined program to change the regime"

"But Saddam has an Achilles' heel: lacking popular support, he rules by terror. The same brutality which makes it unlikely that any coups or conspiracies can succeed, makes him hated by his own people and the rank and file of his military. Iraq today is ripe for a broad-based insurrection. We must exploit this opportunity."

"Recognize a provisional government of Iraq based on the principles and leaders of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) that is representative of all the peoples of Iraq."

Do you honestly think that, but for the lack of Iraqi democracy, we would not have invaded Iraq?

What a strange question. I haven't said anything like that, so asking if I "honestly" think it is silly.
posted by Jahaza at 12:56 PM on March 19, 2013


Could Twitter Have Stopped The Media's Rush To War In Iraq?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:56 PM on March 19, 2013


Saddam Hussein's name is mentioned eight times in this thread.

And zero times -- zero! -- in the linked Juan Cole article, which includes plenty of sentences like this -- 'The US created a power vacuum and exercised a pro-Shiite favoritism in Iraq that fostered a Sunni-Shiite civil war' -- which contain no information.

Irritated now.
posted by waxbanks at 1:00 PM on March 19, 2013


You think neoconservative democracy promotion by force and things like the Project for the New American Century just never happened?

Oh they happened, its just that the really important people, like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, were not neoconservatives.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:01 PM on March 19, 2013


Really? There are still morons who think democracy promoting was one of the reasons "we" went to war? Our is it just the dead ender factions still spouting propaganda for a paycheck?

Because, you know, it wasn't.

The resolution from Congress? All about the WMDs.
The UN vote? WMDs.
UK parliament vote? WMDs.

The smoking gun was not whisky, democracy sexy.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:14 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


You think neoconservative democracy promotion by force and things like the Project for the New American Century just never happened?

I know they happened, but I don't think that PNAC positions were used as a rationale to justify the war to the American people at large. When the original article talked about a rationale for the war, I think it's pretty clear that it means "how was this war justified to the American people", not "how this was thought of in neocon circles".

What a strange question. I haven't said anything like that, so asking if I "honestly" think it is silly.

Perhaps you and I have different understandings of the word "rationale". The plain fact is, though, you didn't see Colin Powell testifying to Congress about the urgent need to instill democracy in Iraq. It wasn't until well after the war started - and the original justification for immediate action (WMDs) became weaker and weaker - that this justification was introduced to the American people as a sufficient reason for a war.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


the presentation is conceptually flawed IMO - we (humans) intuitively vastly underestimate the volume difference between an inner and outer circle. By depicting the costs as ring-volume instead of bar-length, it vastly underplays the scale differences, even when mathematically accurate. Some people are trained or experienced in getting ballpark scale estimates from ring volume, but that's not the norm.

It wouldn't have normally been our first choice to represent scale-- when I was writing the code I saw firsthand how the volume of a circle increases exponentially with a small increase to the radius. But the real point is when the user drops in the DOD token and wonders if they broke the game.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:15 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


David Corn, co-author of Hubris: The Selling of the Iraq War:

Iraq 10 Years Later: The Deadly Consequences of Spin. Those who questioned the case for war have won the fight over history. But that won’t bring back the tens of thousands of lives lost.
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not that there's ever a bad time, but this is a particularly good time to revisit the stunning explanation for the war's necessity provided by America's Most Important PunditTM, Tom Friedman:
What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying, "What part of this sentence don't you understand? You don't think we care about our open society? You think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna let it grow? Well, suck on this." That, Charlie, was what this war was about.
The quote starts around 2:30. The fact that Charlie Rose nods solemnly as this is being said tells you all you need to know about media credulity and its willingness to treat any statement made by an officially sanctioned Very Serious Person as worthy of serious consideration.
posted by gompa at 1:20 PM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


I know they happened, but I don't think that PNAC positions were used as a rationale to justify the war to the American people at large. When the original article talked about a rationale for the war, I think it's pretty clear that it means "how was this war justified to the American people", not "how this was thought of in neocon circles".

Both arguments were being made by members of the administration well before the beginning of the war. There's no doubt that the WMD one was the attention-grabber and the sine qua non of the effort to mobilize public support for the war effort, but it's also clear that the other rationale was genuinely important to members of the administration and not simply something invented out of thin air when the first rationale evaporated.
posted by yoink at 1:24 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The fact that Charlie Rose nods solemnly as this is being said tells you all you need to know about media credulity and its willingness to treat any statement made by an officially sanctioned Very Serious Person as worthy of serious consideration.

Charlie Rose isn't in shot during any part of that statement. I'm not sure how something you imagined into existence is supposed to tell us anything we need to know about media credulity or anything else.
posted by yoink at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2013


Jahaza: "They say that democracy promotion was not an initial rationale for the war, but it was from the beginning. The United States had a policy of democracy promotion in iraq from at least 1998, that's the "Iraq Liberation Act" it refers to. The Iraq War was never just about WMD."

Just as long as we understand that "Democracy" is code word for US hegemony through imperial and economic interests, yes.
posted by symbioid at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Charlie Rose isn't in shot during any part of that statement. I'm not sure how something you imagined into existence is supposed to tell us anything we need to know about media credulity or anything else.

I've seen the whole interview. You can hear Rose begin to ask his next question right at the end of the linked clip. He doesn't break tone, doesn't pause, hesitate, loop back to verify, doesn't in any way indicate that he is anything other than tacit agreement with the idea that sending the message "Suck on this" via house-to-house military raid is a perfectly legitimate reason to wage war.

I don't think it's wildly presumptuous to assume that he in no way telegraphs disapproval while Friedman is speaking, since he doesn't at any other time in the interview.
posted by gompa at 1:32 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


PHIL DONOHUE: You could have the supporters of the President alone. And they would say why this war is important. You couldn’t have a dissenter alone. Our producers were instructed to feature two conservatives for every liberal.

CNN/MSNBC reporter: Corporate executives forced pro-Bush, pro-war narrative
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:33 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


America's Most Important PunditTM, Tom Friedman

also wrote this:

"Watching this Iraq story unfold, all I can say is this: If this were not about my own country, my own kids and my own planet, I'd pop some popcorn, pull up a chair and pay good money just to see how this drama unfolds."

I still think this is one of the most callous things I have ever read.
posted by seemoreglass at 1:34 PM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Charlie Rose isn't in shot during any part of that statement.

Not exactly. At around 2:40, in the upper right hand of the frame you can see Rose's head nodding. Without seeing his face though it is a bit of a stretch to characterize it as him "nodding solemnly"--he may well have been sticking his tongue out at Friedman at that point from the viewer's POV. But you definitely can see him nodding.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:34 PM on March 19, 2013


Without seeing his face though it is a bit of a stretch to characterize it as him "nodding solemnly"

Jeesus, it's not the fucking Zapruder film. Nodding solemnly is what Charlie Rose does professionally. If you were to caricature him broadly, he'd be hunched forward over a table, nodding with a slight frown. There are limitless hours of him doing so on camera, in the presence of Friedman and pundits like him. But if you must, mentally edit the statement above to read "gives no indication of the slightest hint of disagreement and nods with what appears to be solemnity at the edge of the frame and does so in full frame elsewhere in the interview" and I will try to frame my characterizations of him more precisely in the future.
posted by gompa at 1:39 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest: "You think neoconservative democracy promotion by force and things like the Project for the New American Century just never happened?

Oh they happened, its just that the really important people, like Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, were not neoconservatives.
"

What?

Perhaps you have a 100% different definition of neocon? They might not have been at one point, but eventually they pretty much became THE definition of Neocon. Wolfowitz, Libby, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Podhoretz, Kristol... Etc...
posted by symbioid at 1:39 PM on March 19, 2013


10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis.

Most of whom wish we'd left a long time ago.


Actually, this is an interesting question. I wonder what Iraqis think of the war, 10 years on. Do most wish it had never happened? Or do they view their liberation from Saddam as having been worth the cost in lives?

As for wishing the U.S. had left a long time ago - do they wish the U.S. had left before the Surge, and let Iraq descend further into civil war?
posted by Dasein at 1:39 PM on March 19, 2013


The WMD rationale was put front and center because without a threat of some sort (and/or carrying out UN sanctions sanctioning same), the whole thing would have been "illegal."

Democracy promotion is not an acceptable reason to invade another nation, at least as far as Int'l Law is concerned.

Not that it matters. The wolf always finds justification for its slaughter of the lamb.
posted by notyou at 1:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry gompa--I didn't mean to beanplate it. I was actually just trying to agree with you but throw yoink a bone at the same time since he seemed to have such strong feelings about it...
posted by saulgoodman at 1:44 PM on March 19, 2013


Actually, this is an interesting question. I wonder what Iraqis think of the war, 10 years on. Do most wish it had never happened? Or do they view their liberation from Saddam as having been worth the cost in lives?

You could always fly to Baghdad and do some man on the street interviews, conduct a survey, person-to-person... see what the Iraqis really think?
posted by ennui.bz at 1:45 PM on March 19, 2013


Fox News Sunday, 9/8/02
SECRETARY POWELL: I think it is important for the United States to speak clearly about its goals and objectives and then to act on them. And what we have said clearly is that this is a regime that must not be allowed to retain weapons of mass destruction. This is a regime, at least the United States believes, should be changed. Our friends in the Arab world know it. The leaders in Turkey know it. I met with the President of Turkey earlier this week. They are all anxious to see whether or not the UN will be involved in this. There is a desire for the international community to act.

And I think it's important for us to stick to our principles and stick to the policy objectives that we have out there. And it may not be the gates of hell opening; it may be the gates of promise opening when Saddam Hussein finally leaves the scene.

MR. SNOW: Is the Iraqi opposition capable of putting together a functioning democratic government?

SECRETARY POWELL: We believe that in due course the Iraqi opposition, plus individuals within Iraq, both those outside and those inside, with the support of the international community, after the departure from the scene of Mr. Hussein, have the potential and the promise of putting together a better system of government that reflects the will of all the people of Iraq and is based on some concept, a solid concept, of democracy. Sure, why not?
The Administration's Position With Regard to Iraq, 9/26/2002
All of these demands on Iraq are spelled out in the sixteen Security Council resolutions levied against that country since 1991. If these demands on Iraq sound like regime change, then so be it. And Mr. Chairman, if there is regime change, brought about either by Iraqi voluntary compliance with these demands or by the use of military force to compel compliance, the United States will commit wholeheartedly to the reconstruction of Iraq as a democratic state with its territory intact.
posted by Jahaza at 1:47 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As for wishing the U.S. had left a long time ago - do they wish the U.S. had left before the Surge, and let Iraq descend further into civil war?

I'm sure most would probably still have wanted us out immediately. On a personal level, when you've had loved ones killed and seen innocent bystanders slaughtered wholesale, I'm pretty sure it'd be a natural, pretty much unavoidable response to just want to see the people that brought all that death and devastation down on your country get out, whether that makes sense from a more detached perspective that has the benefit of hindsight or not.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:48 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


surplus: "Let's try to remember what happened here. Especially those who spat on our troops when they returned from Iraq."

Citation needed.
posted by ShawnStruck at 2:11 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Not to be a jerk, but the only nations to come out ahead after all this are China and Russia
posted by Renoroc at 2:11 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


: "Let's try to remember what happened here. Especially those who spat on our troops when they returned from Iraq."

This guy?
posted by mullingitover at 2:15 PM on March 19, 2013


The New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan: For 10th Anniversary of Iraq War, a Low-Key Approach From The Times
On the news side, no stories have appeared in print to date. The At War blog has a series this week from those directly affected by the invasion.

I asked Dean Baquet, a managing editor, about the low-key approach. He said that while a few stories are planned, editors did not see a need for a major project or special section, as they did with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“The war itself has been dissected to a tremendous degree,” he told me. “You have to have something new or fresh to say.” He would not provide specifics about the articles that are planned, but said there might be one or two that would make their way onto the front page this week.
Via Charles P. Pierce at Esquire's Politice blog: Pleased To Be Shutting The Piehole Now
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:20 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think a sensible reading of that Powell quote is that we wanted regime change because we believed that the current regime was a threat because of WMDs. Without those, the threat disappears.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:21 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ten Years On and a Long Way Down
posted by jcruelty at 2:26 PM on March 19, 2013


Open letter to the rest of the country circa 2003.

Ten years ago, this country was as dark and fucked up as I have ever seen it in my lifetime.
The media was a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week rabid badger, throwing the words "treason" and "anti-American" to describe those of us that didn't think it was particularly wise of us to bomb a hole in the Middle East and dump our treasury in the smoking crater. It wasn't just an illegal, unjust and ludicrously wasteful war, but it was a deeply stupid failure on every front conceivable by anyone that didn't own Haliburton stock.
A decade, hundreds of thousands of casualties, and a newly estimated 3 Trillion dollars later, the very same media that rolled over from watch to lap-dog know wants to wring their hands and lament about "where did it all go wrong? Who knew Saddam didn't have WMDs trained on Lower Manhattan?! There was just no way to know!"
Which of course is nonsense. So now, a decade later, with so many lives lost. With so much opportunity wasted. With so much resource wholly and completely blown. It feels good to say that WE were right. On ever level. Phil Donahue was right and got fired for it. Danny Glover was right and got fired for it. The Dixie Chicks were right and got pilloried for it. Lots of us un-famous types got flipped no end of shit about it. Constantly.
WE were on the right side of history.
I am amazed that we were able to steer back from that stupid dark chapter of our shared history, but more than anything I want you people that supported this to know what your shit-headed fake patriotism bought us. We bled out our treasure and ruined countless lives. And for what? You are part of the problem. And you will be all too happy to make the same mistake the next time someone edits some convincing Waving Flag b-roll on Fox. Maybe in Iran next time.
Again. WE were right. You were wrong.
Dipshits.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 2:28 PM on March 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


Actually, this is an interesting question. I wonder what Iraqis think of the war, 10 years on.

AJE just had a segment addressing that very question. Seemed to suggest that younger folks were split/ambivalent while older folks preferred the old repression over the new danger.
posted by seemoreglass at 2:30 PM on March 19, 2013


Global Policy Forum: Iraqi Public Opinion Polls and the Occupation
posted by Drinky Die at 2:35 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


U.S. Military Neglects Huge Data Trove of Iraq War: The Iraqis Themselves
posted by homunculus at 2:39 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hans Blix: Iraq War was a terrible mistake and violation of U.N. charter, Hans Blix, Special to CNN, 19 March 2013
posted by ob1quixote at 2:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I feel as if we need a grassroots effort to remind people of GWB (as JEB ramps up to 2016).

Tell artists to draw GWB's face and post it everywhere, real and virtual.

Tell writers to write novels, history books, articles, blogs, anything about GWB and that time.

Help people remember (or, at this point, teach people who will be old enough to vote in 2016, but not old enough to remember all of this as it happened).

P.S. NPR was playing clips of GWB this morning, and just hearing that voice, those lies, that arrogant bully . . .ugh.
posted by MoxieProxy at 3:02 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am still blind with anger over being asked "Why do you hate America so much?" by dipshits repeating obvious lies. I will never get over that.

No one who voted for that war while in Congress will ever get my vote for anything. That includes you, Hillary Clinton.
posted by vibrotronica at 3:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


The only people who have spat on returning soldiers have been members of congress (and their supporters) who refuse to fund veteran's benefits...largely the same pieces of shit who get all hot and bothered about the "nobility" of "those who serve our country" as long as said nobles are abstract constructs or big defense contractors and not, you know, actual people.

They'd much prefer that the soldiers "made the ultimate sacrifice" rather than come back with medical and mental health issues, wanting care and jobs and other un-american things.
posted by maxwelton at 3:07 PM on March 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


And while Bush and Cheney walk free, Bradley Manning remains in jail without trial.
posted by tommasz at 3:07 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


On 10th Anniversary, Who Is the Most and Least Sorry About Supporting the War in Iraq?

Strange bedfellows.
The War on Iraq will make it clear to our friends and enemies in the Middle East (and elsewhere) that we mean business: Free your people, reform your societies, liberalize, and democratize... or we're going to come over there, remove you from power, free your people, and reform your societies for ourselves.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 3:24 PM on March 19, 2013


George Bush should get the punishment SPOILER Cersei endured. My hope there is no Hell is about as charitable as I can get, when it comes to Bush and the Iraq war
posted by angrycat at 3:29 PM on March 19, 2013


Something a friend posted that I thought valuable...

When we first invaded Iraq in 2003, I was just starting my political science undergrad degree. In one class I gave a presentation about why the war was illegal, and was attacked so virulently by my fellow students that I left, crying and then had to go to class everyday for the rest of the semester mocked and derided. Around the same time, while protesting on 72nd and Dodge against the war, I was hit in the face with a water bottle and called everything from a "traitor" to a "cunt." As much I normally love to be right, as much I like seeing everyone accept and understand the truth, these events made me feel that my voice, and the voice of other like-minded, rational people don't matter when the social norms have been set. I can't revel in being right, because the problem still exists. We say "progressive tax system", they shout "Communist!" We say "legalize gay marriage", they shout "sexual deviants"!

The point is until we recognize dissent as a valuable and inherent part of a functioning democracy, it doesn't matter if a decade later they admit we were all right, what matters is they admit they should not have shut us out and that our voices are an important part of the conversation because history does repeat.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 3:51 PM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Strange bedfellows.

Jesus, I can't believe Dan Savage wrote that.

Asshole. Oh, but before I forget, I came here to denounce the New Yorker's George Packer, another vacuous asshole.
posted by Auden at 4:14 PM on March 19, 2013


Yet another good article: Way Worse Than a Dumb War: Iraq Ten Years Later.
posted by zardoz at 4:17 PM on March 19, 2013


The point is until we recognize dissent as a valuable and inherent part of a functioning democracy, it doesn't matter if a decade later they admit we were all right, what matters is they admit they should not have shut us out and that our voices are an important part of the conversation because history does repeat.

Yeah, you are very right there. A lot of western military interventions don't end up in total disaster, Libya comes to mind, but that doesn't mean the protestors should be mocked for pointing out the many potential problems involved with the chosen course. When you make a decision that serious, you can't afford to try and shut out the voices of caution and restraint.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:18 PM on March 19, 2013


Dan Savage reversed himself on the eve of the war.

FWIW.

It took a few more years for liberal hawks such as Jonathon Chait to perform their flip-flips, doing so once it was clear that the right career move was to recant the career moves they had made in 02-03.
posted by notyou at 4:33 PM on March 19, 2013


For every Libya, which was only moderately successful, there is an Iraq, a Syria, an Iran... things don't end well when we go beyond putting people back in their borders and helping those who want help. And of course, Gaddafi and Rice were very friendly in 2009, weren't they? Why didn't she start the revolution and throw him out for being a tyrant?

Oh, he was playing ball? He even got a Lockerbie bomber pardoned? Holy shit. That's right. Now I remember.
posted by tripping daisy at 4:40 PM on March 19, 2013


Buzzfeed's posted a pretty dizzying trip down Iraq War Memory Lane that, for me anyway, really put me back in the weird overwrought hyperbolic mood of the early weeks and months of the war:

The Iraq War Timeline As Told Through Front Pages
posted by gompa at 5:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charlie Rose: Nodding solemnly is what Charlie Rose does professionally

Let's try to remember what happened here. Especially those who spat on our troops when they returned from Iraq.

"You have documented evidence of this thing happening, I trust?"


Perhaps you're not familiar with their work?

I don't know that anyone has actually spit. But Ron Paul verbally crapped pretty hard on Chris Kyle. I'm sure his mom wasn't y'know, proud of that being said.

I don't much like the lionization either. But there are plenty of examples, on MeFi even, of people blaming the troops for the war, calling veterans names, etc. There are people who hear about vets being homeless, committing suicide, and would say they have it coming.
No actual spitting, I know, but have you not seen that?

...largely the same pieces of shit who get all hot and bothered about the "nobility" of "those who serve our country" as long as said nobles are abstract constructs or big defense contractors and not, you know, actual people.

Exactly. We have the money to go to war. Not to actually support anyone though.
When it's time to collect, it's the "heroes" who pay.

I think in the future "hero" is going to have alternate connotations like the word like "special."


The "Alternatives to a military response on 9/11" is a bit misguided. Probably because it's so brief. The paper by Matthew Evangelista is good. Though too, a bit short.

On the one hand, the war in Afghanistan was necessary to deal with AQ bases there. On the other hand, once that was taken care of, we didn't need to occupy the place.
And indeed, there were people, myself among them, noting that the big gorilla on the scene at the time (and now again) was Pakistan.

And of course, where did we ultimately find OBL?

So some of that is coming from false pretenses in the first place. We didn't need a military response to 9/11 anymore than we need to shut the door once the horse runs out of the barn.
By the same token, we did need a counterterrorism response. Which we completely did not get.
And we needed to not totally fuck up the Af-Pak region and shove the world violently closer to a nuclear engagement over making a few bucks.
In fact, this happened not because of politics or the MI complex (well, yeah it did, but hear me out) but because no one in any position to deal with what was happening considered anyone stupid and crazy enough to do that.

I mean, terrorism is a problem. It's not a huge problem in that not that many people die by terrorism. It's typically the public response that is a problem. Which is precisely what the terrorists want.
But there are certain ways where it can become a big problem. WMDs obviously.

What you don't want is a nuclear state mmmm...off the top of my head - Pakistan. Having ties with states who are known to sponsor terrorism and getting some more sophisticated weaponry. Even the threat is dangerous.

So you would want to A. minimize public response. B. minimize your military profile - that is - not be where they can hit you, so avoiding a static position. C. not overreact in such a way to unify the forces against you. Oh and D. not overstretch your treasury so you can deal with an actual major threat when it comes.

All that is exactly the opposite of what those wars achieved.

We drummed "BE SCARED OF TERRORISTS!" into our population. We built bases which are nice and secure and perfect for a WMD statement. We pissed away all the sympathy we had by trying to take a swing at everyone else in the room. And we dropped a ton of cash and human capital we don't want to pay for which means we live in a less stable society.

It's funny, I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (pt.2) the other day. Everyone thinks Harry is so noble for breaking the elder wand. But who the hell wants the big powerful whatzit? Who wants to live with everyone trying to take it away from you all the time?
It's common sense.

But I don't know. You can bribe people to poison their own drinking water so *shrug*.
How the hell do you fight that with bullets? Or hell, diplomacy or - anything?
posted by Smedleyman at 5:14 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Dan Savage reversed himself on the eve of the war.

It's an extremely weak "reversal".

He writes Unlike Coulter, though, I wasn't in favor of converting "them" to Christianity; replacing one idiotic fairy tale with another doesn't seem like a net gain to me, but clearly still believes in the idiotic fairytale that the western powers can (not to mention have the moral right and obligation to) "impose democracy" on the Middle East by force.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 5:15 PM on March 19, 2013


No actual spitting, I know, but have you not seen that?

Honestly, no. Most everyone I've talked with were absolutely terrified to do anything but shower the troops with praise, or to make very clear that, despite their disagreement with the war, they would honor the troops. The US culturally is very, very pro-military, to an alarming degree.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:18 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


No actual spitting, I know, but have you not seen that?

Actually, I know Iraq veterans who have been spat on, and had things thrown at them, including fresh manure.

They were anti-war veterans, in uniform, engaging in a protest against the war that had taken so much from them and theirs.
posted by corb at 5:50 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


War’s effect on Oscars show is anybody’s guess.
posted by migurski at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2013


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe that there have been any occasions when the United States actually took steps to sincerely promote peace, democracy and human rights anywhere in the world. Certainly, it's never happened as a result of military operations.

Blame for the invasion and devastation of Iraq should not be simply heaped on the GWB/Cheney crew: a dozen years of heavy sanctions and occasional bombing runs had already softened up the country's infrastructure in a way that would have foreshadowed no other conclusion. And, leading up to Desert Storm, there was the Kuwait incident -- which, with the solution employed, fit American plans for the region to an almost incredibly precise degree.
posted by fredludd at 5:55 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because it belongs here - Rise Against's Hero of War. Look past the initial bits, but watch the video - it's incredibly powerful and by no means jingoistic.
posted by corb at 5:56 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A half percent of liberals on liberal websites being mean to the troops is about #50,027 on the list of challenges they have to face.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Q: How will you measure whether the war in Iraq was a success 10 years from now?

A: Well, we’ve dropped a huge depth charge into what was a completely frozen and imprisoned region. It will take longer than 10 years for us to find out what the long-term effect is of millions of Iraqis suddenly getting the right to vote.... The ripple effect of things like free press, blogging, satellite dishes, rights of national minorities, all of that, in Syria, in Lebanon, in Egypt -- a lot of that’s been very positive already. Years from now I hope to be meeting young Iraqis who don’t really remember the war very well but who can date their own emancipation from it.

--Christopher Hitchens, 2006
posted by waxbanks at 6:04 PM on March 19, 2013


Much higher up on the list of challenges is conservative and libertarian economic arguments that support cutting social spending that helps support poorer families that often have members of the household in the service.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:08 PM on March 19, 2013


United States actually took steps to sincerely promote peace, democracy and human rights anywhere in the world. Certainly, it's never happened as a result of military operations.

Well, the marshall plan and the administration of Japan after WWII are pretty damn successful in stabilizing a war torn region (europe) and installing democracy (Japan and Europe).

Now what happened in Iraq was a huge fiasco but sometimes the US does manage to do some lasting good.

BTW the problem in Iraq, and the middle east/north africa in general pretty much stem from Churchill's...mistakes following the withdrawal of British Colonianal Administration following WWI and the nazi's founding of the Ba'aath (really) party in Syria (HMMMM) and Iraq...

Wars, even necessary wars, have very long lasting consequences and the law of unintended consequences is always waiting to bite you in the ass.
posted by bartonlong at 6:13 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A half percent of liberals on liberal websites being mean to the troops is about #50,027 on the list of challenges they have to face.

Ron Paul's a liberal? Neat. Yeah, so calling gay men "fags" is ok because there are people in power pushing against them? Or being down on whores is ok because they choose to sell themselves?
Or maybe it's complex and part and parcel is ignoring that complexity?

krinklyfig - here's Mayor Curley calling a tank commander a "sadist" in what I think is an offhanded way for an obviously thoughtful guy.

This thread went awry pretty early. Comments deleted.
I remember a bunch from years back. I think blaming the troops for war is a big problem in the sense that it plays into exactly the same avoidance paradigm that serves the interests of people who profit from war.

This is not to overblow the issue or argue against criticism.

On the contrary, the U.S. is far too militaristic. That is not the same as being pro-military though. Otherwise stuff like Walter Reed wouldn't have happened. Otherwise we still wouldn't be having problems with the VA.

That is the problem. We mistake the trappings of war for it's causes. It really is a racket.

But people still run numbers in neighborhoods. Folks still buy drugs. There are still hookers. There are plenty of scams and people selling goods stolen from neighbors from the trunks of cars.
The hell of it is people buy into it.
Meanwhile people who know nothing of poverty piss all over all of it, the thieves, the people buying the stuff stolen from their neighbors, the cops who can't stop it, as though if they were put into that situation they would do better.

And thereby it gets perpetuated. War. Crime. Everything. Failure of thought and empathy.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:16 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Much higher up on the list of challenges is conservative and libertarian economic arguments that support cutting social spending that helps support poorer families that often have members of the household in the service.

Oh, FFS. Speaking of that half a percent of liberals on the internet...

Poorer families with members of the household in the service are generally supported primarily /by/ that member, who can claim them as dependents if they're poor enough.

Challenges of veterans primarily involve VA administration attempting to save a buck by denying them their claims, or forcing them to jump through two years worth of hoops in order to get care or recompense. They also involve the Obama administration's TRICARE cuts.

Conservatives do cut a lot of shit, but when it comes to veterans, liberals cut way harder than conservatives, because they don't think veterans deserve treatment any better than the average citizen.
posted by corb at 6:19 PM on March 19, 2013


That is just one of the many, many things you are regularly wrong about on this site.
posted by Aizkolari at 6:22 PM on March 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


A half percent of liberals on liberal websites being mean to the troops is about #50,027 on the list of challenges they have to face.

Ron Paul's a liberal?


No, a racist nut with some influence and some stopped clock positions where he is kind of okay. I don't think Ron Paul is who we are talking about when we break out the spit on troops trope though.

Conservatives do cut a lot of shit, but when it comes to veterans, liberals cut way harder than conservatives, because they don't think veterans deserve treatment any better than the average citizen.


Liberals think the average citizens deserves more support than conservatives do. It's not wanting less for vets, it's wanting more for all.

Citation needed for cutting vet specific benefits though. I'm talking about household support as whole. If you are a married woman on PA unemployment with a husband overseas this month you just got a notice that in April the sequester might cut down your benefits. I think Democrats will be there for you if you want that undone but Republicans won't.

ANY cut that hits the working class and the poor hits the vets and the people in the service because they are often a part of those groups.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:30 PM on March 19, 2013


So, when are we other people, not me (as I'm busy on the Internet) going to start looking into arresting Cheney and Bush for this and trying them for war crimes?
FTFY.
posted by waxbanks at 6:32 PM on March 19, 2013


Conservatives do cut a lot of shit, but when it comes to veterans, liberals cut way harder than conservatives, because they don't think veterans deserve treatment any better than the average citizen.

Congressional Research Service: Veterans Affairs: Historical Budget Authority FY 1940 - FY 2012

Constant-dollar (2011 $) increase from 2009-2012 was ~$21 billion.

Constant-dollar (2011 $) increase from 2005-2008 was ~$14 billion.

The Republicans are not the "conservative" party.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:37 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


We do well to avoid the dangerous (not to mention: stupid) tendency to think of 10-years-on analyses as 'postmortems.'

Anyone else around here read Tony Judt's Postwar? The first section is about the aftermath of WWII -- a period of barbarism, instability, private and official purges and witch-hunts, forced dislocation, outright butchery not only of dissidents but of those (rightly or wrongly) suspected of collaboration, and (needless to say) a truly astonishing amount of 'Well hey can you blame me?' shit from folks like the Vichy gov't.

Needless to say, Europe in 1955 -- excuse me, I will use the currently fashionable though completely daft 10-years-on metric, I mean 1949, nineteen forty-fucking-nine -- was still deeply fucked in ways most everyone here is (we are) lucky to have difficulty imagining.

Determining this comment's relevance to the sanctimonious, cynical clusterfuck that is this thread is left as an exercise to whoever.
posted by waxbanks at 6:46 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not wanting less for vets, it's wanting more for all.

Except when costs are imposed on vets /specifically/ because people believe it's not fair for them to have much better benefits than the average citizen.

Some cites on specific cuts/increased veteran hardships from the Obama adminstration for DrinkyDie

Trashing Tricare
Significantly, the plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels.
Tricare Prime Cut in Five West Areas
Under the changes that will start April 1, as many as 170,000 Prime enrollees across all three regions eventually may have to drive longer distances to see a Prime provider or switch to Tricare Standard, which has no enrollment fees but carries greater out-of-pocket costs:

• Cost shares are 20 percent for active-duty family members and 25 percent for retirees and other eligible beneficiaries.
Military Families Get 2400$ Bill From Obamacare
As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Families covered by Tricare, the health program for active and retired members of the military, must pay as much as $200 a month to let an adult stay on their plan until age 26.”
posted by corb at 6:51 PM on March 19, 2013


They'd much prefer that the soldiers "made the ultimate sacrifice" rather than come back with medical and mental health issues, wanting care and jobs and other un-american things.

"Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." - H. Kissenger (and the picture on the page demonstrates how the returned can look)
posted by rough ashlar at 6:52 PM on March 19, 2013


Conservatives do cut a lot of shit, but when it comes to veterans, liberals cut way harder than conservatives, because they don't think veterans deserve treatment any better than the average citizen.

As you seem to have a handle on this - got proof for your claims?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:56 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


FYs begin october 1, FY 2010 started 1 OCT 2009. Here's a better count (including VA FY 2013 budget):

FY 2006 (1 OCT 2005) - FY 2009 (1 OCT 2009): ~$21 billion increase in constant dollars (2011 dollars)

FT 2010 (1 OCT 2009) - FY 2013 (1 OCT 2012): ~$13 billion increase. The "Fast Facts" does not indicate constant dollars or not, but they appear not to be. FY 2012 (1 OCT 2011) was the smallest increase since the chart started, in 2004.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:59 PM on March 19, 2013


corb, do you really think you are getting the best possibe perspective on this from ideologically conservative outlets like the Free Beacon or Merrill Matthews?

Well, okay, if we address it on purely political terms here is the defense:

In an effort to mislead Americans about President Obama’s proposal for the TRICARE program for military retirees, Mitt Romney falsely accused the President of slashing benefits for military retirees. “He’s going after TRICARE,” Romney said. “Saying, ‘Ok, we’re going to raise the co-pays. We’re going to cut the benefits.’ Why is it we go after military families?”

Romney is completely mischaracterizing the President’s proposal while ignoring the reasons why such a policy is necessary. TRICARE spending has more than doubled since 1999, with military personnel costs making up approximately 34% of the Defense Department’s annual base budget. A moderate increase in premiums would help maintain the TRICARE program’s sustainability while still making sure that military retirees pay significantly less for their coverage than comparable private or public sector options.


Bush increased by several times the need for spending in this regard, it's not a knock on Obama if he tries to address the consequences. It's kind of the story of his entire Presidency, he looks bad because he has to make the adult sacrifices because of the conservative policy choices that set the stage.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:07 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Y'know, lack perception of irony is sort of the sign of a fanatic.

Not to get off on a tangent here. My only point was that such things as - purely metaphoric - troop spitting exist.
Not a big contestable point. Examples abound.

And too, the "hero" worship that also seems to conflate the mission with the servicemembers who carry the mission out.

All part of the program to 'DON'T MENTION THE WAR' there fawlty.

When "The Troops" get in the way of things, they're just as ignored as any other segment of the population.

"Largely ignored at the time was an analysis of the vainglorious endeavor by that bastion of left-wing thought, the Army War College...The report sums up with the words, “The war against Iraq was not integral to the [Global War on Terror], but rather a detour from it.”
We knew it then. We just wouldn’t listen.
On to Iran.
"

It's funny, I find myself in the same strategic thinking on Iran as I did on Iraq: "If .... then...."

But apart from the abstraction, as it sits now as a reality, I'm willing to take a few million people as a hit before accepting military action on Iran. Let 'em nuke us.
Hell, let's see what N.Korea is willing to do. One of the lessons about Crying Wolf is not just that eventually no one trusts the little bastard they put on wolf patrol if he keeps sounding off false alarms, but that it completely erodes your sense of discernment of threat and so screws up your sense of self-preservation.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:09 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I bet somebody spit on Micheal Jordan at some point.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:12 PM on March 19, 2013


corb, do you really think you are getting the best possibe perspective on this from ideologically conservative outlets like the Free Beacon or Merrill Matthews?

Honestly, these aren't my usual sources for news, but they were what came up with the easiest Google search terms. It's hard to remember the exact wording of the articles from more "neutral" outlets - they often say things like "The White House" or "The administration" rather than "Obama", so it's harder to pull up in moments like these.

I do recall at the time, though, that one of the defenses cited - and one mentioned in your own excerpt - is that since military retirement premiums were already below private-sector costs, that military retirees should not complain about having said premiums raised 300%. That's kind of what I mean when I say that the desire to equalize everyone often leaves those who are already ahead falling further behind.

Bush increased by several times the need for spending in this regard, it's not a knock on Obama if he tries to address the consequences.

Obama could have addressed the consequences of the war spending in a variety of ways - prime among them reducing contractor expenditures. It would be really, really easy to significantly cut the DoD budget without affecting personnel - and there's no reason personnel costs /shouldn't/ be 34% of budget.
posted by corb at 7:30 PM on March 19, 2013


I feel that anyone with a head on their shoulders knew that the Iraq War was a trumped up, disastrous idea even way back in 2003.

I think the run up to the war was fueled by a collective desire for frontier justice from an ineffectual media, a vindictive polity and a weak-minded president.

I think the real reason for the war was money: defense spending, contractor profiteering, political kickbacks and oil.

I think America has paid a terrible price for this war which is directly felt in the state of the economy and country today. I think it will continue to pay for decades to come.

I think the Iraq War will go down in history as one of the worst decisions my country has ever made, one of the worst deeds it has ever done. I'm not a vindictive person, but I hope those responsible for it rot in hell.
posted by nowhere man at 7:43 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


There is nothing Obama could do to erase what he was left with, massive invasions in two separate countries.

I promise you that if he didn't have to pay for military invasions he didn't support or launch he would love to give it to vets.
posted by Drinky Die at 7:44 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I bet somebody spit on Micheal Jordan at some point

A moose bit my sister once.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:51 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Smedleyman: " krinklyfig - here's Mayor Curley calling a tank commander a "sadist" in what I think is an offhanded way for an obviously thoughtful guy."

Well, that's one thing, but he's saying that about one person, not everyone who is a soldier. I still think the idea that anyone could never say anything negative about a soldier to be way too worshipful of the whole concept. The idea that soldiers got spat on verbally is a bit overblown. Try speaking out for peace in the run up to war. That takes courage.

I personally think school teachers are heroic in ways that are different but no less important than soldiers, and I hear people on the right wing tear into them on a regular basis. Being a soldier may be noble but no more so than the lives of millions of other civilians who have sacrificed for their country, but who are never recognized for it.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:57 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


liberals cut way harder than conservatives, because they don't think veterans deserve treatment any better than the average citizen.

Corb, Tricare was not cut "way harder" or frequently as you imply, and it was championed by noted Republican Bob Gates. Gates tried to get the cuts in place for 3 years before they finally went through.

The premium increases passed were modest. The current cuts Tricare might see would be due to the sequester which is not something either party is actually thrilled with. Vets are getting better care than the average citizen, these cuts didn't change that. The idea that liberals are cutting veteran benefits to reduce their care to the average citizen is Beck-ian conspiracy nonsense and calls into question your understanding of how "average" citizens actually live in this country. I really don't know what planet you are from.

Here is what the administration was asking for in 2011 when this came up::

"The new plan asks families to pay $520 a year, up from $460. Individual coverage would rise to $260, from $230. The higher fees, for the program's popular HMO, are part of a Pentagon effort to slash personnel costs by $7 billion. They would set the stage for future increases tied to growth in health costs, which the Pentagon estimates at just more than 6 percent a year."

This, by the way, is the second result for "tricare cuts".
posted by spaltavian at 8:00 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Smedley, I know you're saying that the "spitting on the troops" thing was just "metaphoric" now, but that's still quite a particular choice of words you used there.

If I didn't know better, I'd have thought you were trying to remind everyone of cases whe protesters were spitting on Vietnam Vets - which would be an unfair comparison, as the public sentiment towards the Vietnam War was hugely different from the public sentiment towards the Iraq War. So drawing a comparison like that took me rather aback.

I agree the troops got shafted, but this time around it was by the government - there wasn't anywhere NEAR as much of the grand-scale public pillorying that there was during Vietnam. (Note that I'm not saying it never happened ever, just that it happened to a far lesser extent than it happened to Vietnam Vets.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:09 PM on March 19, 2013


Wherever the standard of freedom and Independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. --John Quincy Adams

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
posted by seemoreglass at 8:11 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any way, in regards to Iraq. I was against the war from the start, and I thought it would be a disaster. I didn't imagine it would be this big of a disaster. I knew it was a stupid idea, but I didn't know it would be executed so stupidly.

As is typical, I opposed it from what could be considered the left and the right. I anticipated a humanitarian disaster. I resented the hyper-militarization of our politics, culture and diplomacy in the wake of 9/11. I was dismayed at the fraying of our traditional alliances. But I was also really pissed that our resources were being diverted from destroying al-Qaeda and bin Laden to take out some petty dictator. I remember thinking in the Fall of 2002, "surely one of Hussein's generals is getting sick of this. Just pay one to kill him, and in return we'll recognize him".

Ultimately, though, the biggest influence on my opinions towards that war were how baldly, smugly and obviously Bush and his officials lied. How was it that I, a college student in 2002-03, understood that a fundamentalist jihadist like bin Laden was not likely to work with a secular socialist like Hussein, but our decisions makers did not? Of course, I never actually asked that question, because the answer is obvious: they knew. And if they're telling such fundamental lies to get us to do something, it's obviously a pretty stupid idea.
posted by spaltavian at 8:17 PM on March 19, 2013


Think You Know The Facts About The Iraq War? Think Again
– Myth: At least women’s rights have improved with Saddam gone.

– Truth: Women enjoyed many more privileges under Saddam’s brutal, secular rule. The U.S.-led invasion ushered in Shiite Islamist rulers – most of whom had spent years sheltered by the theocracy in neighboring Iran – who immediately set about rolling back women’s rights in matters of family law. The lack of security since Saddam’s ouster also has been used as justification for keeping women indoors, shutting them off from political and civic life. The Shiite and Sunni militants who’ve roamed Iraq since the invasion have targeted women’s advocates.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:18 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I wonder what ParisParamus and Stephen DenBeste are up to.
posted by bardic at 9:11 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


corb, as a dirty hippie librul you know how I did my part to make life better for veterans?

I tried to prevent a stupid-ass war that got lots of them killed and/or maimed for a reason beyond "Jesus told me so."
posted by bardic at 9:13 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


corb: As the Wall Street Journal reports, “Families covered by Tricare, the health program for active and retired members of the military, must pay as much as $200 a month to let an adult stay on their plan until age 26.”

And do you know how much this coverage cost before Obamacare under the Bush administration? It was infinite, because you could not buy this coverage under Tricare for any amount of money. Because Bush and his conservative pals didn't give a damn about children of the military. Obama did.

Oh, and Tricare Standard option for 2013 is $152. Tricare Prime option is $176.
posted by JackFlash at 10:03 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


.
posted by moonbiter at 10:08 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's interesting how "Even after these increases, veterans will pay far less than the general public" becomes "We need to worsen healthcare for veterans to make everyone equal." I'll try to remember that the next time there's a complaint about government pensions or teachers' salaries. There's also the nifty implication that not only should the government not seek to reduce inequality, but taxpayer spending should be used specifically to reinforce, or even increase, inequality.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:24 PM on March 19, 2013


Conservatives do cut a lot of shit, but when it comes to veterans, liberals cut way harder than conservatives, because they don't think veterans deserve treatment any better than the average citizen.

Veterans Today: GOP Looks at Cutting Veterans Health Benefits for 2011-12 Session to Fulfill Pledge

disabledveterans.org: Republicans Seek To Cut Benefits for Disabled Veterans

votevets.org: Please help us spread the truth about the Ryan/Republican Plan!

Obama Tells Boehner No Cuts to Disabled Veterans Benefits

Sanders to GOP: Don’t Cut Benefits for Disabled Veterans
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:29 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I rue my support for the war to this day. My only real defense was that I trusted Powell.

I have always been suspicious about that. Always. Since day one. And I have always said so.

I dunno; they obviously had the PNAC "we need a new enemy" consensus even before the 2000 election, and Clarke quit in disgust because they were already focused on Iraq as of 2001. So it wasn't like they suddenly cooked this up because Cheney was under the microscope -- it was part of their grand strategy, probably from Day One.

Also, public opinion had little to do with the judicial progress of Cheney v. US District Court.

It's sort of daft to presume they would bet the country, so to speak, on a multi-trillion-dollar enterprise only to briefly distract the press, and I'm suspicious of that because it was a claim made against Clinton to begin with. It's contrary to the realist theory of foreign policy, anyway.
posted by dhartung at 10:39 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


And while we are on the subject, the New GI Bill was vigorously opposed by the Bush Administration and filibustered by the Republicans on the grounds that it would harm retention. In other words, give them some education and they might leave. That's some respect that conservatives have for the military. Democrats were finally able to push it through with just two Republican votes.

And remember when Bush threatened to veto a 10% increase in the budget for the Veterans Administration as thousands of injured troops were returning from Iraq. He proposed a 2% increase, less than enough to keep up with inflation.

Meanwhile there was the scandal at the Walter Reed Medical Center where things were so bad it had to be permenantly shut down when exposed by the Washington Post.

And then there's the Veteran Jobs Act which Republicans are still filibustering to this day, refusing to allow a vote.

Republicans only respect the troops when they are bleeding for them overseas. The moment they hit the U.S. shores, they pretend they don't exist.
posted by JackFlash at 11:01 PM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's pretty typical of us USians to, on the anniversary of an invasion where we utterly fucking devastated an entire country and culture for at least several generations, focus on ourselves and our shitty politicians and our poor abused troops.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:18 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


10 Years Later, an Anniversary Many Iraqis Would Prefer to Ignore

Maliki's Iraq: Rape, executions and torture
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:28 PM on March 19, 2013


I wonder if Obama has abandoned Iraq too much. It seems to me after ruining so many lives we are morally obliged to do what we can within reason to help Iraqis make their country a better place for their children and grandchildren. It doesn't matter how much of a disaster it is, it's our responsibility to keep trying to help fix it.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:32 PM on March 19, 2013


"It doesn't matter how much of a disaster it is, it's our responsibility to keep trying to help fix it."

So, white man's burden, basically.

No.
posted by bardic at 12:34 AM on March 20, 2013


I heard an interview on the radio tonight with Raed Jarrar on Democracy Now about the loss of their country. It was incredibly sad, but it was a new perspective and account I hadn't heard.

I was against it when it first started, because it was obvious it was based on lies and the war was happening regardless of what the truth was. Dr. Hans Blix, Dr. David Kay.. how many UN inspectors and other experts stated there were no weapons?

The New York Times and John Kerry lost a lot of my respect after their vocal support, including the Judy Miller stories.

But I always thought it was mostly about force-extension, empire-building and establishing access to other areas in the region. I knew there were resources there (oil in Iraq, opium in Afghanistan, etc.) we wanted.

But listening to the interview, I came away with the heartbreaking realization that we went in to destroy the country and culture of the Iraqi people. It should have been obvious after all the other things we've learned in the past decade(s?).

War is always destructive. I knew that. But Mr. Jarrar talks about how before the invasion, the division between Sunni and Shiite was minimal. It wasn't an issue to most people. Saddam may have been a murderous bastard, but it was a secular dictatorship.

It was the US designed Governing Council that assigned Iraqi governmental seats based on religious and ethnic affiliation that greatly increased the divisiveness and created a wedge and new civil war in the country. It's strategically brilliant and absolutely heartbreaking. And par for the course.

And his story about US compensation of Iraqi families for deaths is also horrible. $2500 per person. The same amount they pay for destroying your car. Regardless of the intention of those doing the compensating, the loss of dignity by applying that value to their lives is the outcome. (I googled this to double check, and the NGO Center for Civilians in Conflict has a paper on Iraqi compensation that contains multiple examples of compensation for cars and people in that range.

Ugh. I'm going to go hug my loved ones and sleep. Tomorrow, I'm going to reach out to somebody who needs a hand and help them up. Doesn't matter who. For myself and them.
posted by formless at 12:40 AM on March 20, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Last Letter by Tomas Young

That deserves to be its own front-page post.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:00 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mission Accomplished?
posted by Plug1 at 3:21 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Correct, Mission Accomplished.

If by "mission" you mean a large transfer of wealth from US taxpayers to a relatively small number of enterprises in the wider military-industrial complex.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:07 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


More idiocy from Friedman.
posted by Aizkolari at 5:52 AM on March 20, 2013


There is nothing Obama could do to erase what he was left with, massive invasions in two separate countries.

Bullshit.

How about pulling out of those nations?
Why not saying "I'm sorry" then putting up a truth and reconciliation commission allowing for 100% admissions of wrongdoing in X days means 100% skating via the Presidential power of pardoning for 100% admissions. (let EVERYONE play that game from tax cheats to fraudsters to ppl who violated traffic laws. If the matter is not in a filed court action, all past sins forgiven if you convince from, say a week before the announcement.)

Not start bombing in Lybia?

The President has the power of Pardon and is Commander of the Military and can use these powers to correct the past misdeeds.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:50 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


A lot of western military interventions don't end up in total disaster, Libya comes to mind, but that doesn't mean the protestors should be mocked for pointing out the many potential problems involved with the chosen course.

Libya was a completely different situation. The people there were engaged in an active revolted and we offered them military support more or less on their terms. I and a lot of others I know were opposed to the Iraq war from the outset but cautiously supported the engagement in Libya precisely because it was such a different situation and seemed to be so much less a naked imposition of military power. The people of Libya were already engaged in a violent conflict whether we jumped in or not. Not so in Iraq. Libya was not a preemptive war with murky aims but always had very clearly defined objectives.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:55 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


@the man of twists and turns posts an article containing stuff like this:
– Truth: The surge was only one factor in the temporary abating of violence at that time. It was successful only in tandem with several other important events, chiefly the unilateral cease-fire of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army militants, previous military successes against some extremist Sunni leaders and the near-total sectarian cleansing of Baghdad neighborhoods.
Of course, you could easily make the following small style changes to completely alter the nature of the paragraph:
The surge was only one factor in the temporary abating of violence at that time. It was successful only in tandem with several other important events, chiefly the unilateral cease-fire of the Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army militants, previous military successes against some extremist Sunni leaders and the near-total sectarian cleansing of Baghdad neighborhoods.
In that version, you have a matter-of-fact explanation of why the 'surge' produced its intended effect, without lameass equivocating and weasel words. The same article does the now-standard self-contradictory oscillation between 'Iraq was our responsibility and we should've done much much more to help post-Saddam' and (of course) 'We can't get out fast enough and no good end is or indeed ever was possible; any US presence in Iraq is intolerable.'

A writer who can't be bothered to avoid contradicting him/herself is on timeout. Reading the articles you post before you post them is a good idea, everyone!
posted by waxbanks at 7:02 AM on March 20, 2013


Re "spitting on troops".

It's been hearsay, never photographed, never prosecuted, never proved. If you find one of these "It happened to me at the airport" stories, you'll find it on a rightwing pro-war pro-Bush website.

My point is "spitting on troops" is part of an anti-liberal folklore.
posted by surplus at 7:06 AM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea that Dan Savage was that horrible in the run-up to the Iraq War. DTMF.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:08 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re "spitting on troops".

It's been hearsay, never photographed, never prosecuted, never proved. If you find one of these "It happened to me at the airport" stories, you'll find it on a rightwing pro-war pro-Bush website.


Spitting on troops has happened. I was with other veterans and watched it happen. However, it was not by liberals. It was by pro-war people who thought that veterans had no business opposing the war.

So what I'm saying is, that shit really happens, but maybe not as part of the narrative that other people are wanting it to fit.
posted by corb at 7:12 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Libya was not a preemptive war with murky aims but always had very clearly defined objectives.

And how was the use of the Military in that situation strictly compatible with the Constitution?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:14 AM on March 20, 2013


Because the Constitution allows the President to abide by international treaties, if a treaty is binding to the point that the treat requires military action, there is no need for a formal declaration of war.

Or at least that is how many of the constitutional scholars who study this stuff argued that military action in Libya was clearly constitutional.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:17 AM on March 20, 2013


Its hard sometimes to remember how batshit insane everyone was:

"the overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country."

-Glenn Greenwald
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:33 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was with other veterans and watched it happen

Pardon my skepticism. How did this group of veterans respond to the spitting? By quoting Gandhi?
posted by surplus at 7:36 AM on March 20, 2013


A lot of veterans opposed the Iraq War and openly protested our invasion. I remember seeing them out on the sidewalks with the rest of us, and that was one of the things that early on gave me hope popular efforts to prevent the war might actually have a shot.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:50 AM on March 20, 2013


Pardon my skepticism. How did this group of veterans respond to the spitting? By quoting Gandhi?

By following the principles of nonengagement they had previously agreed to in order to march together. Why is this so hard to believe? Everyone knew that any retaliation would be published or videotaped and used against the message. Like saulgoodman says, folks wanted the war over. It was more important than what individuals did.
posted by corb at 7:53 AM on March 20, 2013


So you had been warned retaliation would be videotaped and nobody thought to videotape the attack?
posted by surplus at 7:58 AM on March 20, 2013


Iraq and Afghanistan veterans return medals at NATO protest
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:02 AM on March 20, 2013


surplus, let's not do the whole "corb-v-everyone" thing in here again.

So what I'm saying is, that shit really happens, but maybe not as part of the narrative that other people are wanting it to fit.

Which is why I called saulgoodman on it, because I suspect he was using the whole "spitting on vets" thing as an appeal to the collective guilt some people feel about how Vietnam Vets were treated. And, personally, I think it's some of that same guilt that fed into the squelching of protest against the Iraq War itself; the country has, in recent years, been going through some remorse over how the protests against Vietnam were often channelled against the troops themselves, and rightly so. So when I've heard the "support our troops" talk, I've often sensed the subtext of "because we didn't last time and look how that turned out".

I'll grant you this may be something I'm reading into it, but I've sensed it there, and that's why saulgoodman's "spitting on the troops" struck me - was as a manifestation of that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:11 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


That wasn't saulgoodman, it was smedleyman, Empress...
posted by saulgoodman at 8:56 AM on March 20, 2013


My apologies, saul, you're right.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:01 AM on March 20, 2013


Was there a window of opportunity for success in Iraq?
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:18 AM on March 20, 2013


On the day that Iraq was invaded – Thursday, 20th March, 2003 – together with thousands of others, we walked out of our workplaces in protest and took to the streets of our city.
posted by adamvasco at 11:10 AM on March 20, 2013


Dahr Jamail Returns to Iraq to Find Rampant Torture and a Failed State Living in "Utter Devastation"

Col. James Steele previously.

Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq With Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers
posted by homunculus at 11:27 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ten Years Later, U.S. Has Left Iraq With Mass Displacement & Epidemic of Birth Defects, Cancers

This is it, entirely. Our willingness to rip apart the fabric of their society and our unwillingness to earnestly and actively engage in reparations has visited lasting terror and death and waste and poverty on an innocent people. If anyone can honestly say they believe the war has led to counterbalancing improvements anywhere in the world, then they have not been paying attention to the real world.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:39 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right to Heal: Iraqi Civilians Join U.S. Veterans in New Effort to Recover from War’s Devastation

Demanding the Right to Heal
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


$4 Trillion in 10 years spent on a war nobody wanted.

Meanwhile, we have many cities in decline. Infrastructure is crumbling. Some of our own cities are becoming war zones. Homelessness and joblessness are up. Distress is up.

Apparently that's what happens when one is more intent on destroying someone else's country than taking care of their own. It doesn't make rational sense... unless the people in charge had something to gain. Like, say, they were from, say, the energy and defense sectors?

If $4T had been spent on alternative energy sources, middle eastern politics would have ceased to be relevant to US domestic policy.

It's the architecture of control. The messaging focuses on "moral" issues. Abortion. Gay marriage. Immigration. A culture of fear is created. The electorate votes for safety from the fear that's been manufactured, ushering into power a group of people who serve to profit greatly from a war, whilst simultaneously destroying both countries.

And it's relatively easy to do. The culture is so focused on the primacy of the individual, the electorate often votes on promises made for individual rights and freedoms. Individual taxes are lower, whilst cities decay. The right to bear arms remains, as the electorate shoots themselves, and the government butchers chop apart the weak in a foreign place. The brave army soldiers, who obeyed their codes and trainings are left to decay in the decaying cities.

Power reinforces its own position. The gap between the wealth of the average person and elite grows.

When this war began, it looked a lot like a bank heist. Strong arm techniques used to hold a country hostage, with an eventual accession to hostile demands. Today, so many lives have been lost on both sides. Young bodies destroyed. Economies imperilled. Memories filled with the aftermath of shock and awe. Parents taking care of disabled children. Children taking care of disabled parents. Medical systems running out of money and supplies. And more than enough blame to go around. It's hard to know if the above description is about the United States or Iraq, for it seems to suit both.

And for all the people that were exploited, their skin seared and their bones shattered, there are people living better today than they were before. There are people living well, still being payed retirement for their "service" to the nation. It would be nice to know exactly what that "service" was, for as the financial crisis illustrated, the citizenry can immerse itself in debt without any help.

And the last 10 years can not be unwound. Nor the responsibility for the costs of the next generation be shirked. At best, this is the failure of a society as a whole to prioritise self-preservation over blood-thirty (oil-thirsty) imperialism. At worst, this is a criminal act perpetrated by a cabal of very smart individuals, using the levers of authority against the system itself.

Perhaps there would be a lesson from Cypress. Review the tax returns of anyone involved in the Bush administration for their average income in the ten years before the war. Review the tax returns for the last ten years. Apply the difference to the debt.

But that is a violation of private property rights, it will be said. When an Iraqi made that claim ten years ago, it fell upon deaf ears.

If there is no prosecution, power is so entrenched that it cannot be held accountable. If there is no outrage, power is so entrenched that outrage has no effect. The war against the Iraqi people may be winding up. What about the war against the American people? When will that be wound up?
posted by nickrussell at 1:29 PM on March 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, we have many cities in decline. Infrastructure is crumbling. Some of our own cities are becoming war zones. Homelessness and joblessness are up. Distress is up.

Hey, bootstraps, baby! We're all too busy at empire.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:19 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]



$4 Trillion in 10 years spent on a war nobody wanted.


See, that's where you're wrong. Somebody very definitely wanted a war and they wanted it to be very long and very expensive.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


intent on destroying someone else's country than taking care of their own

Time for a shift in thinking: these C level executives are not American. They are MNC's with no allegiance other than to themselves and their major shareholders.
posted by surplus at 4:43 PM on March 20, 2013


I'm certain this has already been brought up in this thread, but in the very least it bears repeating. On yesterday's 10th anniversary of the Iraq fiasco. this happened.

Confession: I used to cry at night about the casualties. Honestly, I did. It used to keep me up. Now, thanks to an aggressive PR job by our gov't, it's all turned into nothing but a dream - a violent, night terror-ridden fever dream that causes me to pummel my bed-partner to an unrecognizable pulp, but a dream nonetheless.
posted by item at 5:47 PM on March 20, 2013


As Israelis Press Obama on Iran, Let’s Remember they Urged Iraq War, Too.
posted by adamvasco at 6:09 PM on March 20, 2013


And the Most Outrageous Neocon Iraq War Anniversary Remark Is...
posted by homunculus at 6:25 PM on March 20, 2013


How Not To Apologize For Supporting An Unnecessary War
‘Tis the season for Iraq war apologies from the elite class that helped send us there. They are varyingly sincere–Jon Chait, for example, admits he was wrong but just hopes Iraq doesn’t discredit the idea of humanitarian intervention on the whole–and opportunistic. Mike Riggs at Reason notes the odd masculinism in Bill Keller’s long-winded reappraisal that blames a coterie of unexpectedly hawkish writers. David Frum says if he had raised objections, they wouldn’t have mattered; “I could have set myself on fire in protest on the White House lawn and the war would have proceeded without me.”

Yet none of those bother me quite as much as Ezra Klein’s, who calls his support for the war an “analytical failure”:
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:52 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


homunculus, I heard that interview with Perle yesterday. It made me angry. If I expanded that thought, I wouldn't be able to stay polite, so I'll just say again that it made me angry. It also made me wish I'd paid more attention in 2003.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:18 AM on March 21, 2013


The Last Letter by Tomas Young

Dying Iraq War Veteran Tomas Young Explains Decision to End His Life

Tomas Young Reads "Last Letter" to President Bush and Dick Cheney
posted by homunculus at 9:33 AM on March 21, 2013


James Fallows: Why We Won't Learn From Iraq

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Iraq War and History as Self-Flattery
posted by homunculus at 11:08 AM on March 21, 2013


Richard Perle? That toad?

I thought he had long since shriveled up and died under his rock.
posted by notyou at 1:03 PM on March 21, 2013


And Jonathon Chait should know better than to open his mouth ever again on the topic. He was *this close* to redeeming himself.

Gah.
posted by notyou at 1:04 PM on March 21, 2013


Richard Perle Doesn't Understand What Regret Is
posted by homunculus at 1:11 PM on March 21, 2013


The Iraq Apology Tour, Continued
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on March 21, 2013


Confession: I used to cry at night about the casualties. Honestly, I did.

Me too--this story about a young, expectant Iraqi mother in labor and her cousin getting gunned down as they sped through a US checkpoint on their way to a maternity hospital in particular stuck with me a really long time. I can't even imagine how awful it must have felt for those who knew these women personally to hear about this.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:08 PM on March 21, 2013


So, when are we going to start looking into arresting Cheney and Bush for this and trying them for war crimes?

Statutes of Limitations Are Expiring on Some Bush Crimes
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on March 22, 2013


The End of War Stories
posted by homunculus at 6:37 PM on March 23, 2013


I, for one, just want to thank homunculus for the links over the years, since all the way back in the day. He has done yeoman's work.
posted by moonbiter at 12:09 AM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thanks moonbiter, that's kind of you to say. And you're quite welcome, of course.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on March 24, 2013


Washington Post Defends Not Running Article On Iraq Media Failure

The article in question: Reviewing This Week's Mea Culpas on Iraq: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Greg Mitchell: Double Failure
posted by homunculus at 11:18 AM on March 24, 2013


John Kerry urges Iraq to help stop Iranian arms shipments to Syria
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on March 24, 2013


RAND: The Invasion Of Iraq - A Balance Sheet
In sum, the costly removal of a brutal tyrant who threatened his own citizens and neighboring countries won no applause, earned no gratitude, established no reliable ally, and produced no lasting strategic benefit.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:02 PM on March 24, 2013


Iraqis Hope Kerry Visit Revitalizes Ties
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:24 PM on March 24, 2013


Channel 4 news have been asking this week whatever happened to George W Bush?

Jeb Bush says brother taken to painting dogs 'with a vengeance'
posted by homunculus at 8:30 PM on March 24, 2013


The Siren Song Of War: Why Pundits Beat The Drums For Iraq. Covers Yglesias, Hitchens, Sullivan, Savage, Berman, Beinart, Packer and Friedman.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:20 PM on March 24, 2013


Malcolm Tucker soundboard for the anniversary of the Iraq War
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:00 AM on March 27, 2013


For so many Iraqis like Ali, a decade after Washington invaded their country, this is the anniversary of nothing at all.
posted by adamvasco at 5:53 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Baghdad Bob" and his ridiculous, true predictions
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:18 AM on March 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jeb Bush says brother taken to painting dogs 'with a vengeance'

I know what is really meant by this, but I still can't help picturing Bush brandishing a paintbrush and chasing around a bunch of paint-smeared Weimeraners and shouting "hold still!"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:16 AM on March 28, 2013


Even when I know what's meant by it, I picture him in a chef's toque and white smock really angrily painting portraits of small dogs.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:21 AM on March 28, 2013


Canada Free Press: Egypt’s Morsi planning to smuggle Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri home?
...the plan will eventually see Zawahiri disappear into the Sinai region which, since the ouster of Mubarak, has become a mostly-lawless no man’s land. Terrorism experts have already acknowledged that Al Qaeda has a foothold there, under the leadership of none other than Zawahiri’s brother, Muhammad.

So far, there is no external confirmation of the report, though a host of newspapers throughout the region are reporting it as fact.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:35 PM on March 28, 2013


Lessons From The Iraq War We All Haven't Heard Before
Because you read stuff like this, you are probably all for learning and reflection about war, but bored to tears by the Lessons of Iraq, especially when they come in a media-driven festival of official reflection centered, for no good reason, on an anniversary. You likely agree that invading Iraq was a mistake, that the Bush Administration sold the war dishonestly, and that more pre-war media skepticism about smoking guns and nexuses would have been useful. If you do not agree with that, you probably never will. So here are some less tired takeaways from the war that might still be usefully debated.
1. Power is perilous
2. Unity is overrated
3. Planning isn't power
4. Counter-insurgency doctrine is a PR gloss
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:45 PM on March 29, 2013


Biggest Threat to U.S. National Security: Wars
posted by homunculus at 3:41 PM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Survey: Young Pakistanis harbor doubts about future, democracy
...only 29% saw democracy as the country’s best political system, while 32% favored military rule and 38% approved of a government based on sharia, or Islamic law.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:31 AM on April 3, 2013


Remembering Michael Kelly: I miss Michael a lot, not least because he was one of the few funny people in Washington, but also because I miss what he would have written over the past ten years.

A Stupid Death in a Stupid War: Remembering Michael Kelly
posted by homunculus at 6:18 PM on April 3, 2013


Iraq: It's Too Soon To Tell, by Paul Wolfowitz
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:29 PM on April 10, 2013


Flag that covered Saddam’s face stashed in N.H. safety deposit box: U.S. forces pulled down the statue 10 years ago today. Now one Marine doesn't want that flag used as propaganda
posted by homunculus at 12:41 PM on April 10, 2013


From the Iraq: It's Too Soon To Tell, by Paul Wolfowitz link: It may be a long time before we really know the outcome of the Iraq war. To put that in perspective, consider that the Korean armistice was signed 60 years ago, but South Korea struggled for decades after that.

How tone-deaf does Wolfowitz have to be to not see the negative implications of the Korean situation to his argument? South Korea is currently being threatened by the North. Apparently, Paul would like us to wait until some undefined point in the future when Iraq is doing better than it was during the worst of Saddam's regime so he can point to that and say "See, we did good!" Once a tool, always a tool, I guess.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:54 AM on April 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is It “Too Soon To Tell” On Iraq? Nope.
posted by homunculus at 11:12 AM on April 16, 2013


Deadly wave of bombings across Iraq ahead of elections
posted by homunculus at 11:16 AM on April 16, 2013


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