The Iraq Disaster Haunts America
by Eric Margolis: There
Goes One of Washington’s Favorite Bad Boys
marks the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War.
2002, I wrote a cover-story about Iraq for the first issue of American
Conservative magazine, entitled "The March to Folly."
My article predicted the impending invasion of Iraq would be a disaster
for all concerned.
The only victor
of war with Iraq War, I wrote, would be Israel, whose nuclear monopoly
and regional domination would be assured. So it has come to be.
Iraq was split
into Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions. Anger against the US reached
new intensity. The titanic bill for the Iraq War was $1 trillion,
all of its hidden in the ballooning US national debt. Nearly 5,000
US soldiers were killed; some 50,000 wounded, many with grave brain
injuries. Iraqi casualties are uncertain, though the total is likely
over one million.
Parts of Iraq
are contaminated by US and British depleted uranium munitions. Diseases,
wiped out under the late Saddam Hussein, have returned. Saddam’s
sadistic secret police have been replaced by almost equally cruel
security forces of the US-backed Baghdad regime. Once among the
most advanced Arab nations, much of Iraq today is ruined. At least
it no longer threatens its neighbors.
America’s right wing and media still hails this disaster as a victory.
Many Americans still believe the Bush administration’s lies that
Saddam Hussein was behind the 9/11 attacks. Some also still believe
Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that threatened North America.
who concocted this war, namely George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Britain’s
Tony Blair, have escaped any criminal censure for misleading their
people into a conflict whose goal was to grab Iraq’s vast oil reserves
and crush an enemy of Israel.
the many print and TV journalists and commentators who acted as
cheer-leaders for the war and its bodyguard of lies remain prominently
in public view today. So too the so-called military experts who
championed the war. Instead of slinking away after the war, they
simply switched their aim to Iran.
the insidious role of the pro-war neoconservatives in promoting
the war was never fully revealed to Americans. Yet for a time, a
pro-Israel neocon cabal linked up with aggressive big oil men like
Cheney and Rumsfeld to drive the US into a totally unnecessary war
against former US ally, Saddam Hussein. Israel’s leader, Ariel Sharon,
thundered, "the road to Tehran lies through Baghdad."
The small number
of American journalists, Mideast analysts, CIA and State Department
experts who dared challenge Bush’s absurd claims about Iraq’s supposed
nukes and "drones of death" lost their jobs and have been
sidelined to this day.
for example, was one of the first to assert in public that Iraq
had no weapons of mass destruction and no means of delivery even
if it did. For my pains, I was blacklisted by a major US national
TV network for whom I had regularly broadcast. Other blacklistings
Crusade against Iraq discredited the mainstream media in the eyes
of many younger Americans and led to their growing reliance on their
internet. Polls showed that only 24% of Americans trusted media
to tell them the facts. The US media, with key exceptions, had followed
the old Soviet media in acting as a mouthpiece for the government
instead of a tribune for the public.
Iraq War accelerated the militarization of US society and conduct
of foreign affairs, and further curtailed individual freedoms endangered
by the attacks of 9/11. It left the US saddled with a crushing debt.
While bridges and roads across America were crumbling, the US was
spending $80 billion on "rebuilding" Iraq. Nearly all
this money was stolen and never seen again.
of Iraq, a small nation of 24 million rent by rebellion and wrecked
by sanctions, was shamelessly trumpeted by the US media and politicians
as a titanic victory for American arms akin to World War II. The
aged US Republican leader John McCain, made giddy by the jolly little
war in Iraq, sang, "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."
As King Pyrrhus
exclaimed in 279 BC after a brutal, bloody battle, "one more
such victory and we are lost."
him mail] is the author of War
at the Top of the World and the new book, American
Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the
West and the Muslim World. See his
© 2013 Eric Margolis
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