The Suburbanite
  • Charita Goshay: Lessons of Iraq are still being written

  • It hardly seems possible that a decade has passed since America went to war in Iraq.

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  • It hardly seems possible that a decade has passed since America went to war in Iraq. It’s hard to say what, exactly, was accomplished by conducting the first-ever pre-emptive military action in our nation’s history.
    That’s because the reasons for Iraq kept changing. First, it was suggested that Saddam Hussein was connected to 9/11, though Saddam may have been the one person who loathed al-Qaida more than we did, because they called him out on his hedonism and corruption.
    Then it was because Saddam was threatening to hang a mushroom cloud over our amber waves of grain. Those few who knew better and said so were ostracized, bullied and painted as unpatriotic. If they were generals, they were shunted into retirement. If they were United Nations weapons inspectors, they were dismissed as naive or anti-American, or simply ignored.
    If they were in Congress, they were in real danger of being un-elected.
    But the fault does not lie solely upon the doorsteps of those in charge. The call to arms played upon our thirst for justice after being sucker-punched on Sept. 11.
    And a despot in the hand is worth two in the bush.
    Reasons for war shape-shifted again into a mission of “liberation” of people we didn’t even like (Muslims), and “regime change,” adorned with promises that we’d be greeted with candy and kisses like American GIs entering Paris in 1944.
    They put $2 trillion on a Chinese credit card to make Iraq happen — a debt that still hasn’t been acknowledged but must be paid for by taxpayers.
    As they always do, our troops carried out the mission faithfully and well. For a while, we waved flags and yellow ribbons, then got bored and left them and their families to deal with the fallout.
    Many of us journalists, in our ever-desperate need to be loved, laid aside our fealty to the Fourth Estate, so when a presidential press secretary infamously warned that “People need to watch what they say,” all but a few gutsy news outlets clammed up and let him get away with it.
    We scrambled to put on fatigues and secure front-row seats to “Shock & Awe.”
    The memory of every journalist in America should still burn with shame at the recollection of a White House press corps playing dead on the night that the bombing began.
    Ask today what mistakes were made, and you still won’t get an answer. The architects who built the Iraq War live at arm’s length from the memory in the kind comfort that can be secured only by arrogance and wealth.
    But we know from our own history, from Bunker Hill to the ex-slaves who fought for the Union, that people have to want freedom enough to fight for it.
    Page 2 of 2 - It’s why the Arab Spring is still shaking the world, and why a “liberated” Iraq hasn’t.

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