I really, really wanted to be like Tom Friedman, Paul Berman, or any number of other liberals who held their nose and said that even though the Bush administration lied to everyone in the entire world about the threat posed by Iraq and the real reasons why we wanted to go to war there, they hoped that the outcome would be a Saddam-free Iraq that would better serve its own citizens and serve as an example for other autocratic countries in the Middle East. Unfortunately, just as everything I knew before the war pointed toward the Bush administration completely blowing it, everything I’m reading now that we’re out of the conquering phase isn’t giving me hope either. Today there’s an article in the Washington Post that quotes “senior administration officials” on the virtues of beating a hasty retreat. This hardly surprises me given our conduct in Afghanistan, and the fact that every one of Iraq’s neighbors wants us to leave as soon as possible, which is itself a direct outgrowth of our pigheaded foreign policy going into the war.
I’d feel better if I read any rumors that reassured me in any way. Instead what I read about is the fact that the interim authority in Baghdad is a strongly pro-Israel defense contractor who may or may not turn things over to an Iraqi exile crook who’se been out of the country for 45 years. Then there’s the oil pipeline to Israel that I read about yesterday, and the four military bases we plan on setting up, and the fact that Iraq is rapidly moving out of the public’s attention.
Only history will judge whether there was any merit to our invading Iraq, it’s certainly too early to tell right now, but as the liberation buzz wears off, it’s looking like the hangover is going to be a doozy. For the sake of the Iraqis, who have suffered the pains of oppression and liberation, I hope that we stand by the implicit commitment we made when we kicked off operation “Iraqi Freedom” in the first place.