After six years, it looks like we’re finally seeing an end (or the beginning of an end) to the occupation of Iraq. US forces aren’t exactly leaving the country, but they’re pulling out of the cities, lowering their profile considerably, and turning over most authority to the Iraqi government.
The response from Iraqis is jubilant; today has been branded National Sovereignty Day. The Guardian has a few choice quotes:
Baghdad’s river-front parklands, which have been reclaimed this year after being deserted during the height of the insurgency and sectarian war, were last night transformed into outdoor dance venues, where audiences of around 3,000 – almost all of them men – danced to the strains of a recently returned Iraqi singer, Salah Hassan, exiled in Dubai for the past five years.
One reveller at an outdoor concert in Baghdad’s zoo, Tamader al-Waeli, 25, said: “It has been a long time since the last big celebration. We have now got rid of the occupiers and will not see them again on Iraqi streets. Baghdad needs the peace of its past life back again, we want to regain what we had, but at the same time the security forces now have extra duties and responsibilities and I hope they carry them out.
Another man at the concert, Ahmed Ebrahim, 35, said: “No words can describe how I feel. The occupation stayed in Iraqi hearts for six years and this is a big occasion that deserves to be a permanent national day in future. The occupiers put me in Bucca [an American-run prison in Iraq]. But now I am free and so is Iraq.”
Good luck, Iraq.
You’ve already heard everything I have to say about this war, but I’ll just reiterate that this was my primary reason to vote for Obama*, so my big payoff is today. The rest of his presidency is frosting.
* and if you think this withdrawal would have happened anyway, read the alternative.
You never expected to see that headline here, right? Well, I mean it literally, with no riders or secret motives. Putting aside the people who give the orders, the arguments for or against wars, and the numbers, let’s think about the actual men and women who asked what they could do for their country, then did it.
We’ve heard how much it costs to support the war, in terms of money, human lives, and world sentiment. But how much does it cost to support the millions of American soldiers who served their time? How much to heal their wounds, to treat them for PTSD, to provide educational benefits, to help with housing?
To me, these things are much more important than the war itself, because they affect Americans directly. We should protect our borders and help keep the peace around the world, but we must take care of the people who have sacrificed so much to do that for us. Ignoring our defense is ill-advised and may lead to danger, but ignoring our defenders is heartless. Brutal. Insane. Unconscionable.
I bet it doesn’t come near the $500 billion we’ve spent to have them support us, so why is it that I keep hearing news stories about how we’re not spending enough to help them? Shouldn’t I be hearing conservative op-ed columnists grumbling about how we pamper our veterans, instead of stories about crumbling hospitals, suicide rates, and homeless vets?
Or am I just missing something?
I’ve been too busy with life to mention the anniversary of the invasion, but I couldn’t let pass the 4,000th soldier to fall.
It’s been two years since my last numbers update, so here are the current tallies:
- Weapons of Mass Destruction found before invasion: 0
- Weapons of Mass Destruction declared by US before invasion: LOTS
- US Cost in dollars: 500,000,000,000 (yes, half a trillion dollars already)
- US military deaths: 4,000
- Iraqi civilians killed: 82,000
- Weapons of Mass Destruction found after invasion: 0
- U.S. timeline to leave Iraq: NONE
- Days until the 2008 presidential election: 224
And yes, that last link is a blatant plug for Barack Obama. As was that one. But seriously, how else am I supposed to respond to such depressing numbers?
This just in from some crazy left-wing blogger making up stories:
In a stunning reversal of Bush administration conventional wisdom, a new assessment by U.S. intelligence agencies concludes Iran shelved it’s nuclear weapons program over four years ago.
“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program,” reads a declassified version of the National Intelligence Estimate key findings.
Oh, wait. It was ABC News, talking about a National Intelligence Estimate prepared by our very own intelligence agencies. Oh. Um…
But hey, Iran is still producing quantities of highly enriched uranium, right? And that can’t possibly be used for any other purpose, right? And just because they say they’re not producing nukes, and they actually aren’t producing nukes, that’s no reason to conclude that they won’t produce nukes, right?
Should we believe TV pundits when they call any veteran that opposes war in Iraq ‘phony’? Rather than hearing my own (probably rude) answer, be sure to read the compelling response given by Army of Dude, an Army veteran with an up-close view of things. He makes pretty plain just who the phony is.