The statement, “War remains the decisive human failure,” was written by John Kenneth Galbraith in his last book, “The Economics of Innocent Fraud,” and quoted by his son, Peter W. Galbraith in his book “The End of Iraq.”
Five years ago our country took on Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan for his part in the Sept 11, 2001, attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. As it turned out it was a half-hearted attempt, as the Bush administration became more obsessed with Iraq.
The End of Iraq tells a now old tale of how the administration miscalculations and ignorance of the Middle East culture and religions went from blunder to blunder until we are now in a mess greater than Vietnam. The Germans and Japanese were defeated in far less time.
We can’t go back and “un-invade” Iraq. There is no such word. The focus now must be on how to stop the slaughter and fear that is an everyday occurrence, especially in the streets of Baghdad. There must be a reality check. The invasion has not turned out the way those who “planned” it wanted. No one would want this deadly civil war, with our soldiers as the targets.
Actually had there been any planning and study by Congress before the war there may never have been one. But the Congress showed no interest in going deeper for facts from Middle Eastern experts and demanding more intelligence.
Both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of not fulfilling their oath of office. Because of fear of losing elections they went along, in haste, with the administration’s wishes.
President Bush and Secretary of State Rice have said the war will continue after they are out of office. He has talked about victory and proclaimed “Mission Accomplished” (the sign on the ship said it) over 1,000 days ago.
What kind of a victory is it when you turn it over to your successor? Troops are not coming home as promised and the Iraqis are doing everything but “standing up.”
Last January there was an interesting interview with Noam Chomsky. For 40 years Chomsky has been an MIT professor. He was asked: “Is George Bush in political trouble?”
Professor Chomsky said: “George Bush would be in severe political trouble if there were an opposition political party in the country. Every day [Democrats] are shooting themselves in the foot … An opposition party would be making hay…” but they have nothing of any real difference with the Republicans over Iraq.
None have the honesty to admit the war in Iraq cannot bring democracy to the Middle East. The country will fall apart if we leave next year or 10 years from now. Look at Korea. Our troops have been stationed there for over 55 years. The Koreans are not able to protect themselves? Get real.
Chomsky: “Opposition to the war in Iraq is far greater than the much worse war in Vietnam. Iraq is the first war I think in the history of European imperialism, including the U.S., where there was massive protest before the war was officially launched.”
In the days leading up to our November elections I hope some politicians will rise up to be statesmen and tell the truth of their convictions and get on with the serious question of withdrawal.
Britt Towery, a retired Baptist missionary, writes for the Brownwood Bulletin in Brownwood, Texas.