Iraq: We Made This Mess. What Are We Going to Do about It?

 

Our war in Iraq was a totally unnecessary war fought on false premises that has led directly to the present-day genocide of Iraqi Christians.

We invaded Iraq on the premise that the leader of the country was a murderous crazy man who had “weapons of mass destruction” (read that nukes) at his disposal and we had to stop him before he … I dunno … he killed even more people than he had killed up to then. We got over there and couldn’t find these weapons of mass destruction.

I have always thought — oddly enough — that the simple fact that he didn’t plant weapons of mass destruction and then claim he’d found them, that he actually told the truth about this horrible mess, was President Bush’ finest moment. It vindicated his bad judgement in going to war in Iraq in the first place, at least so far as my opinion of him as a person.

However, we had gone to war when we didn’t have to, and now we had a destroyed country to deal with. Before the invasion, I had several arguments with gung-ho family members who were all for invading Iraq.

This is going to be a long-term, horrible mess, I told them.

Nah, they replied. We’ll go in there and whip them in short order. 

That’s not the problem. The problem is the occupation. 

My family members didn’t get it then, but they’ve figured it out by now. Before you go to war with anybody, don’t just think about delivering that first-round knock-out punch. Give a thought or two to the long-term follow-up. There are plenty of countries where the real price of going to war with them are the long-term consequences of winning. Iraq is just that sort of country.

We knocked them out, presto-chango.

But we didn’t fix anything. The idea that everyone, everywhere, is ready and waiting to take on American democracy just isn’t true. Democracy doesn’t seem to work in tribal societies. It doesn’t gain traction in places that are still stuck socially and culturally in the world of 900 AD.

We had great success “planting” democracy in Japan after World War II. But Japan, while it had tried to cling to its old social order, was far different from Iraq. Japan was a country that was able to stand on its own two feet. Japan built its own planes, ships, bombs and bullets. Japan trained a military that was able to conquer vast regions of the South Pacific, go across that big ocean and sink the Sixth Fleet.

They didn’t get their weapons from other people. They built those weapons themselves. They trained and equipped their own troops. They had the discipline and the social organization to wage a world war.

In addition, by the end of World War II, Japan was utterly friendless and destroyed. Everybody they had ever beaten in any war hated them, which is to say every country in their region of the world. Their industry was rubble, their people would have starved without us.

Japan adapted and learned and grew and became a great industrial power. Once again, and unlike China, they built their own factories and developed their own industry. Honda, Toyota, Sony are not American companies who’ve moved their plants to Japan to use slave labor. They are Japanese companies who’ve managed to develop superior products that are purchased because of their high quality the world over.

You can’t compare our success in transplanting democracy to Japan with the situation in Iraq. Iraq is a mess largely because it is a country and a place that has no real interest in building anything. Iraq does not want to go forward. It wants to go backward to the ninth century.

We went over there with the naive idea that we could knock Iraq out with a massive military throw down, find and destroy those fictional weapons of mass destruction, then pour a few billion dollars into the place and have another successful “save” of a country. We could transplant the world of democracy and economic growth into Iraq and build a great friend for ourselves in the region … just like Japan.

But Iraq isn’t Japan, and what we got was a country that can not function as a democracy, that, in fact, appears to be unable to function without a strong-arm dictator. Iraq can and will hold elections so long as American troops are there to keep the killer sharks who swim in their culture from stopping it from happening. But the minute — or, a couple of years after — we leave, what you get is what we’ve got.

What we have is a bunch of killers who’ve obviously gotten their arms from countries who are capable of making armaments, who are running around Iraq, engaging in mass murder as a quasi military tactic in another of those wars of civil destruction the region can’t seem to avoid. They are also killing every Christian in sight.

What we have is an on-going, real-time genocide of the Christians in Iraq.

We made this mess my friends. We pulled the Saddam Hussein stopper out of the bottle and now we’ve got something even worse. What we never considered, and what I hate to say and hope I’m wrong about, is that the only kind of government that can control these murderous mobs that run throughout society in this part of the world is a government that is under the thumb of a murderous dictator.

It appears that there is a large faction within this society that only understands and gives way to the tip of the sword.

We can talk all day about the obvious fact that most Muslims are good, kind people who would build a decent society if they had half a chance. The fact is, they don’t have half a chance. What passes for politics in this whole region of the world appears to be outside interests arming murderous thugs who then proceed to destroy whole countries by murdering at will.

Meanwhile, the Christians of Iraq are being raped, tortured and murdered. We are witnessing a genocide.

We made this mess.

What are we going to do about it?

  • FW Ken

    Speaking of messes, this new Patheos design is a heck of a mess.

    • hamiltonr

      I know. They’re still working on it. I don’t know what you’re seeing, but it looks like hash from my side.

      • FW Ken

        Hash pretty much describes it.

  • pagansister

    What are we going to do about Iraq? Would that there was an answer. As you said, and I totally agree—we should NEVER have gone there to begin with. I have no answers. Reminds me of Viet Nam. We should never have been there either. We finally leave, the north drove in. What was it for? However, it seems to be thriving and Iraq certainly isn’t.

    • FW Ken

      IMO, Iraq is no longer the principal issue and we aren’t going to do anything about it anyway. We never were. The problems there predate us by decades, when the country was cobbled together from a variety of ethnic groups. Saddam was terrible, but what has replaced him is worse. I agree we should never have gone in. Personally, I think he had WMD, probably nerve gas that he shipped to Syria. But the ease with which his regime collapsed suggests an inherent weakness that would have caused the collapse without us spending a trillion dollars and suffering the casualties. The fact is that Christians had it better under Saddam than anyone else. Kurds, no.

      • pagansister

        The problems in that part of the world are centuries old, and just seem to continue.

  • AnneG

    Rebecca, I’d like to reiterate a few historical facts. First, Saddam Hussein DID have WMD, chemical weapons. (Aside, previously, under multiple presidents, our policy was that chemical equalled biological equalled nuclear weapons.) He had used them before on northern Iraq and had a stockpile he moved to Syria. Many remnants of cw’s have been found and US military have been exposed in multiple incidents. ISIL now have weapons with some of those chemicals. That is what Assad used in Syria.
    Hussein had invaded a neighboring country, started a war with another and was showing signs of doing it again. He was shooting at US and UK planes that were enforcing a no-fly zone, put there to protect the Kurds in the north and the southern marsh Arabs.
    He corrupted the IAEA inspections, bribing Kofi Annan’s son (I know, not that hard to corrupt the UN.). He had tried to buy and bought uranium from different places, regardless of what Joe Wilson said. He was harboring the terrorist that took the Achille Lauro and killed Leon Klinghoffer.
    So, you can have your opinion and I care very much about the persecuted Christians. It really is horrible. I have no idea if there was another way to deal with all this. Maybe, maybe not.
    Saying Viet Nam, give me a break.
    We need to deal with what we have and we are not.

  • Rob B.

    Much as I hate to say it, the West will do nothing substantive about the current horrors taking place in Iraq. There will, of course, be the usual posturing, hand-wringing, and vague threats of reprisals, but in the end, we just don’t have the stomach to deal with this head-on. I wish it were otherwise.


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