Tell me again, why did we invade Iraq?
Last week marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. For most of us, Iraq is "Mission Accomplished" and we are on to other things. For many others, on both sides, still fighting injuries, demons, and the loss of loved ones, this war remains a deep, festering wound. I don't want to rehash who lied to get us in that war, and whether or not removing one man from power was worth the sacrifice of the 4,486 American service members who died in Iraq, the 32,000 wounded, or the estimated 150,000 to 1,000,000 dead and wounded Iraqis and a country still recoiling and rebuilding from our incursion. I'm not even going to argue that the $1 trillion dollars spent destroying Iraq's infrastructure would have been better spent rebuilding ours. I'd just like to know why we went to war.
I'm old now, but my generation was young, aware, and vocal as we slogged through the Viet Nam War. Unfortunately, we were also powerless, with long hair. We couldn't vote until we were 21 so, even though we yelled at the top of our lungs about the insanity of that war, nobody heard what we had to say. As a result, we now have a war memorial in front of the old courthouse on Texas Street inscribed with the names of 62 of Fairfield's sons. I grew up with these kids in a much, much smaller version of Fairfield. These chiseled names once had faces, feelings, and futures, and many were my friends.
When America invaded Iraq ten years ago, my generation had long since cut their hair and we were in charge, running America's businesses and sitting in seats of power. But we sat silent as our government once again sent our children into yet another senseless war. With Viet Nam, we really didn't know that our government had lied about the Gulf of Tonkin "incident" until years later, but with Iraq, most of us knew George W. Bush was wrong about weapons of mass destruction and that Rice and Cheney's mushroom clouds would be impossible to create if there was no yellowcake uranium concentrate.
Five-star general and President, Dwight Eisenhower said, "Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing." But George W. Bush made pre-emptive invasions official U.S. policy when he said, "As a matter of common sense and self-defense, America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed." We were told that we must silently and blindly follow our president for we cannot possibly know what he knows. But 65 years ago, Abraham Lincoln warned us: "If today he (the President) should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, "I see no probability of the British invading us;' but he will say to you, "Be silent: I see it, if you don't.'"Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object."
War, and its terrible costs, must be considered only when the consequences of not fighting are greater. Our men and women in the military may not agree with the policies of politicians, yet they risk their lives carrying them out and that selfless trust deserves reciprocation with truth from our leaders.
This war with Iraq started as we were entering the age of the internet using desktop computers. Since then, communication has evolved rapidly and the world is more tightly knit with hand-held devices capable of instantaneously transmitting and receiving audio, video, and text from anyone, almost anywhere in the world. Hopefully, future false flags, lies, and irrational arguments leading to war will become ever more evident and unconvincing. These same tools will also enable us to see that our potential enemies are very much like us and that it is not the people of one nation who wish to harm the people of another, but rather politicians put into their positions of power by those who profit from war.