Cross Posted From The Huffington Post:
Six years ago today I was in Kuwait awaiting orders to cross the border into Iraq with the first wave of invading forces. It was predicted that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators, weapons of mass destruction would be found, and democracy would flourish across the Mideast. What a gross miscalculation of the aftermath. Iraq became a slaughterhouse while political and social unrest emerged here at home.
So many questions remain unanswered. Did the Bush administration knowingly deceive us into an unnecessary war? Did we kill Iraqis to protect America? Did our troops die fighting terrorism? Or was it just for an ideology of a select group of people in power? Was it for oil? Was it all for nothing?
Why do I torture myself with these questions when I already know the answers? I know this was a needless war of choice, but at the same time I just can't fully grasp the abusive political authority exercised by our government.
The war has caused much bloodshed for the Iraqi people. How many Americans care about that? Not too many. We can't envision a foreign army invading this country and changing our way of life at gunpoint. If the tables were turned we would be out in the streets demonstrating our right to bear arms -- kicking ass and taking names. Would that make us terrorists? Hell no! So why is it shocking that Iraqis have violently resisted our occupation of their country? The human psychology behind this should not be difficult to understand. The fact of the matter is we don't want to accept the reality of the situation.
Imagine if the Russians or the Chinese invaded Iraq and seized control of the oil fields. We would have been singing a totally different song all of these years. We would call it aggression and communism. So what affords us the right to do it?
Our troops and the Iraqi people who've lived through this war will have a lifetime to dwell on it. My hope for the Iraqis is that something good comes out of this catastrophe. That one day Iraq does become a free and peaceful nation. However, I don't see that happening for a long time. As for our troops many return home to families and friends who don't understand and don't want to understand. This pushes our veterans further into isolation from the world they once knew. For some vets the menu of options consists of divorce, suicide, substance abuse, and permanent mental health problems.
No one promises members of the military a rose garden after war. At the same time their government should never abuse them in such a way that we've seen over the last six years. Our military men and women have been used, thrown around, involuntarily extended, stop-lossed, and recalled. How much can we expect from our service people?
Maybe it's time to stop beating this drum and move on. However, if everyone were to do that what's to stop a future president from using our military for his/her own personal agenda? Nothing.
Where does accountability factor in? Sadly, it doesn't. Should Bush and Cheney be prosecuted for their crimes? Absolutely. But it's not going to happen. If you're waiting for Congress or the Justice Department to conduct investigations, hold hearings, and bring charges against the Bush administration don't hold your breath. George W. Bush received overwhelming bi-partisan approval from Congress for his war. He blatantly and repeatedly lied to our faces and we reelected him. Now it's over. Bush and the members of his administration will have the rest of their lives to spend with their children and grandchildren. Kind of ironic since they deprived so many others of that right.
It's frightening that the government of the United States was run by such corrupt leaders for eight years. It's often said that no one is above the law. Well obviously that's not true -- just ask George W. Bush.
I know this comes off as a redundant "Bush bashing" piece. However, who else is to blame on the sixth anniversary of the war? Even though Bush was president he was extremely impressionable and susceptible to peer pressure from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and other neocon intellectuals who know nothing about war except for what they read in books. They are so smart they're actually stupid as they demonstrated over and over again.
Hopefully Iraq will teach us what we failed to learn from the war in Vietnam; that we never let it happen again.