For Americans, the Iraq war is still all about us, our heroes, our dead. That may not make us special as Americans, but it's a familiar-enough mode of cultural self-delusion. We do it because it's right, or because we believe it's right or we don't understand it or we don't have a choice or we don't want to admit we were blatantly lied to and chose to believe the lies rather than think for ourselves. Who wants to deal with anything like that?
It's easier, if not better, to believe another lie, that "there can be no fuller expression of America's support for self-determination than our leaving Iraq to its people." Well, to the people who are left at each other's throats, unless they're among the Iraqi diaspora of five million, more or less. Being driven from your homeland counts as a kind of self-determination, right?
Iraqi self-determination has been little more than a chimera since the Americans invaded, disbanded the Iraqi army, left government buildings open to looters (except the oil ministry), and allowed chaos to find its own way in the midst of a military occupation. The result of a decade of this kind of self-determination has now brought Iraq a corrupt government drifting toward dictatorship.
Don't even mention self-determination to the Kurds.
The Americans left Iraq in December 2011 and mainstream media played along with the American political charade , calling it the "end of the war," which it absolutely was not for anyone left behind in Iraq.
"That says something about who we are," as the president said from deep inside the American rabbit hole of patriotism-like doublethink.
"Russia has pointed to America's decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true"."
That's part of what the President said in his much-maligned speech in Brussels on March 26, 2014 , and if he'd ended this section at that point he might have limited the blowback he provoked with what followed. Someone devoted to precision might have pointed out that the hypocrisy wasn't all that "Western" except for America (165,000 troops) and Britain (46,000 troops, out by May 2011). Other than South Korea (3,600 troops, out by December 2008) and Australia (2,000 troops, out by July 2009), most of the other members of the " coalition of the willing " joined as the result of incentives or political coercion , and few of them contributed more than a few hundred troops, often non-combat troops, almost all of whom were out by 2008 . Fifteen countries participated covertly, according to the U.S. State Dept., but that's a different kind of hypocrisy.
Other members of this "Western" alliance included Japan (600 troops), Bulgaria (485), Singapore (175, offshore), Nicaragua (230), Mongolia (180), Georgia (2,000), Kazakhstan (29), and Ukraine (1,650).
In reality, the Iraq War was pretty much dependent on Anglo-American hypocrisy, and deceit. Russia would be well-served to be clear about that.
"Russia has pointed to America's decision to go into Iraq as an example of Western hypocrisy. Now, it is true that the Iraq war was a subject of vigorous debate, not just around the world but in the United States, as well.
I participated in that debate,
and I opposed our military intervention there."
Again, if President Obama had stopped here on March 26, 2014, in Brussels, the reactions might have been kinder. Obama had indeed opposed the war, albeit with a rhetorical off ramp about what a terrible person Saddam Hussein was. After he was in the Senate in 2005, Obama no longer opposed the Iraq War outright. He consistently voted for off-budget war funding without much expressed concern for deficit or national debt (to which the war added $3 trillion and still growing). Not until May 2007, when it took no political courage, did Obama (and Hillary Clinton) vote against funding the illegal Iraq War.
So the reality is that Obama opposed the Iraq War before he supported it, which was before he opposed it again, with less clarity or passion than his original opposition.
But the President didn't stop there, either, on March 26 in Brussels, when he had already defined the Crimea situation as "a moment of testing for Europe and the United States and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build." With that kind of rhetoric early in the speech, he could have been leading up to a call for war.