Wednesday, December 29, 2010

If It Were Done, ...

Caption: Riverbend's book. Alive or dead, she's a casualty, like millions of her countrymen.

It's hard not to read something like this without some mixed emotions:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ruled out the presence of any U.S. troops in Iraq after the end of 2011, saying his new government and the country's security forces were capable of confronting any remaining threats to Iraq's security, sovereignty and unity.

Mr. Maliki spoke with The Wall Street Journal in a two-hour interview, his first since Iraq ended nine months of stalemate and seated a new government after an inconclusive election, allowing Mr. Maliki to begin a second term as premier.

A majority of Iraqis—and some Iraqi and U.S. officials—have assumed the U.S. troop presence would eventually be extended, especially after the long government limbo. But Mr. Maliki was eager to draw a line in his most definitive remarks on the subject. "The last American soldier will leave Iraq" as agreed, he said, speaking at his office in a leafy section of Baghdad's protected Green Zone. "This agreement is not subject to extension, not subject to alteration. It is sealed."

Iraq Wants the U.S. Out
Of course, the most prevalent feeling is that it's about time we were out of there. We never should have been there in the first place. It's pretty clear that Iraqis have good reason to want us gone, we've wrecked the place, and it wasn't all that great when we got there.

Still, it does feel sad to be getting the bum's rush out of there. We lost good people there, and spent a lot of treasure, too. It's hard not to expect that people would be grateful for that, but I doubt I would be if I were in their place.

Caption: BARWANAH, Iraq (November 7, 2006) - U.S. Marines gather around the boots, helmet and rifle to pay homage to a fallen Marine during a memorial service in Barwanah, Iraq, on Oct. 25, 2006. Photo by Sgt. Jason L. Jensen, U.S. Marine Corps.

Image credit: U.S. Army Central Command, reduced by Cujo359

The other sad thing is that feeling of having gone through Vietnam all over again - lives lost and wealth destroyed in the name of making sure that some people didn't have to admit they were wrong, and others didn't lose profits from military spending. Our thousands of dead, the walking wounded who may never recover, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died, and the millions who lost their homes all suffered for nothing.

Somehow, this song seems appropriate:

The speculators made their money
On the blood you shed
Your Mama's pulled the sheets up off your bed
The profiteers on Jane Street
Sold your shoes and clothes
Ain't nobody talking 'cause everybody knows
We pulled your cycle out of the garage
And polished up the chrome
Our Gypsy biker's comin' home

Lyrics: Gypsy Biker
This video is a memorial to someone's friend, but I like it. It's the story of a life, and the people who valued that life. Hundreds of thousands of lives were extinguished in Iraq for no reason at all. It was started by a lie. Our current national house of prostitution (Congress), and our current con man of a President have decided that no one who told that lie will ever pay for it. And why should they? They did nothing to stop this tragedy from unfolding when they had the power. Many, in fact, profited from it, if only indirectly via campaign contributions from defense contractors.

As another great writer of tragedies once wrote, If it were done, when 'tis done; then 'twere well/It were done quickly.

It's taken more than eight years. In the end, we didn't even get that mercy.

The only good thing we can say is, at least for us, it will finally be over in a year or so.

UPDATE: Added the last two sentences in the fourth paragraph from the bottom. It's part of the tragedy of this war, and part of the folly, that the people who made the bad decisions are benefiting from them.

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