"The stupid endless wars, for us, are ending". (Donald Trump, 9 October 2019)
Of all the lies Donald Trump delivered on his twisted road to the White House the most insipid, nefarious and damnable was the one that promised no more "stupid wars" in the Middle East.
That was then. This is now. Trump stands poised to take a desperate dive into war that so many failing presidents have resorted to before him. George HW Bush had his little war in Panama and his Gulf War prelude to the War in Iraq. Bill Clinton had his wag the dog excursion into Kosovo. George W. Bush dove headlong into the quagmire of Afghanistan and the and the ongoing disaster in Iraq.
True or not, it is commonly believed that Americans will rally to a president at war and Trump is due to forget his campaign promise and take the dive. Whether it is his doing or that of his neocon Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the US carried out airstrikes against an Iraqi militia killing 25 soldiers. The bombings were a tragic and potentially catastrophic mistake. They were not sanctioned by the Iraqi government. In fact both Iran and Iraq condemned the action.
Trump and company justified the strikes on two grounds: First, it was in retaliation for attacks on US bases in Iraq, one of which killed an American contractor (otherwise known as a mercenary). Second, the militia is connected to Iran and that apparently is justification enough.
Whatever the justification, thousands of protestors assaulted the American embassy to express their outrage. It seems the people of Iraq do not have warm feelings for the nation that attacked their homeland without provocation. It seems the Shiites have warmer feelings toward their Iranian neighbor than they do for the military superpower that attempted and ultimately failed to occupy their country. It seems there is some animosity when you terrorize a nation, kill tens of thousands of their people and wound countless soldiers and civilians alike.
The retaliatory bombing campaign came at the same time the Iraqi government was once again on the brink of collapse. Its security forces have killed an estimated 500 citizens who have risen in protest against the government.