A Few Reminders
By Charley Reese
-- -- A few reminders: Iraq is not our country. Our invasion
and occupation are illegal, being in violation of both
international law and our own traditions. We were lied into war.
We are still being lied to. Both the Bush administration and the
Democrats intend to maintain American troops in Iraq
catchy little phrase "If you break it, you own it" might apply
to unpurchased merchandise, but it definitely does not apply to
nation-states. You don't gain title to your neighbor's house
just because you blow it up. We definitely broke Iraq, but that
only gives us the burden of sin. It does not entitle us to the
to forget that when you listen to American politicians in both
parties talk about what Iraq has to do or ought to do or should
do. The Iraqi government does not have to do anything we tell
it, and so far it hasn't, despite promises to the contrary.
phrase now being heard most often around Baghdad is "Iraq is
finished." That's according to Pepe Escobar, a correspondent for
Asia Times Online. I urgently recommend his piece "Baghdad:
Up Close and Personal." He and two Iraqi journalists toured
the "Red Zone," which is all of Baghdad except the heavily
fortified Green Zone. Compare what he saw and heard with what
you hear from the talking heads in Washington.
the way, they traveled in a plain car without armored vehicles,
troops and helicopters hovering overhead, which is how American
big shots travel. They got shot at and arrested but otherwise
to get out of Iraq right now. This folly has already cost us
3,300 American lives, $500 billion in tax money, 30,000 wounded,
and there is not so much as a faint glow at the end of the
reason I say both Democrats and Republicans intend a long-term
military presence is because that's what they say if you listen
closely. The so-called withdrawal deadline of the Democrats
stipulates some troops left in country. To quell an insurgency,
if you can do it at all, usually requires about 10 years.
see by the casualty figures – overwhelmingly Iraqi – that we are
not doing the main fighting. We lose people daily, but so far in
the single digits. And we will go on losing people no matter
what tactics we employ as long as we stay there while the Iraqis
fight a civil war. We can, with our sick devotion to legalese,
say it is not an occupation, but the Iraqis call it an
occupation, and they don't like it worth a toot.
American politicians say if we leave, there will be chaos,
that's a joke. There is chaos there now. Another joke is that we
can democratize the Middle East. Still another joke is the
belief that we can deal with terrorism without solving the
thought the people in Washington were smart enough, I'd say we
intended to destroy the country and leave it in the wreck it is.
I don't think they're that smart, though. I think they really
believed we could waltz in, topple Saddam Hussein and waltz out.
That's what happens when you let a bunch of pointy-headed
intellectuals from universities and think tanks set policy. Only
people who have worn muddy boots and heard the sounds of gunfire
should be consulted on the issues of war and peace. Such people
are darned scarce in Washington these days, even at the
present policy sins daily against the Iraqi people, wastes the
lives of American military people, adds to the financial burden
of future generations and demonstrates to the world that we are
a nation led by fools.
Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.
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