ANALYSIS WRITTEN 2 YEARS AGO BY STEVE BOTTOMS
Can't we all just get along?
Of course not.
• Spy chief: Iraq may spark regional battle
• Civil war looms with 68 killed in Baghdad
If it were in our nature not to fight over resources we still be afraid of fire. Alas, what has given us the ability to evolve also has cursed us with the propensity to kill each other over land, religion, water, fuel, ad nauseum... It really makes me embarrassed to be a human being.
Now to the specifics. Here's what I think about the Iraq mess:
Iraq isn't a "real" country, as we generally know them. Its borders were artificially created by the British, and they installed a king almost 90 years ago following WWI (ironically called at the time, the "war to end all wars").
Much like the former Yugoslavia, the only thing that kept the lid on sectarian strife was iron-fisted rule... Saddam being the most recent iteration of that type. Like the pullout of the former Soviet Union from Yugoslavia, the toppling of Saddam Hussein's brutal kleptocratic regime has unleashed the tightly wound hatreds and old scores, and freed the primal nature of man in a lawless environment...
Freedom for the long oppressed Iraqi people in the abstract cannot be seen as a bad thing, of course. Freedom is a universal ideal. But if the "freedom," that we are "ostensibly" trying to achieve is unreachable because of the careless removal of the top of this artificial nation without forethought to what to do when the lid came off, have we helped them in the long run? Sadly, it appears, no.
Perhaps, without our intervention, eventually, despots like Saddam would have been deposed naturally. And since there are 40 or so other countries under the thumb of dictators (several of which, if you didn't know, the US government either directly, or indirectly support), one must hope that it is indeed possible to break these tyrannies with the cooperation of free nations. It is the best way, since we've seen very glaringly that war is not the answer.
I know, that "freedom," wasn't the motivation for the Iraq war, any fool knows that, but it is honestly the only thing left to hope for, and it seems that is lost. Who knows how bad it is going to get with the back and forth attacks between Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq? With the Sunni's being outnumbered 3 to 1 in that country, if it completely melts down into civil war, it will be awful. What have we done? What have we done?
I disagreed, vehemently, with the invasion, knowing it was just a stupid megalomaniacal grand game of Risk to surround Iran, and to place a new 'police station' in the Middle East, since we had to quietly leave Saudi Arabia to appease the despotic royal family in that 'kingdom,' for they feared our presence would result in their overthrow. Well, it may happen anyway.
How do I know this? I'm an Air Force veteran having worked in the intel community and a voracious reader of history and politics... and we are, I have to sadly conclude, repeating the failures that have been glaringly written in history. We are indeed, doomed to repeat history. Repeat it because human avarice and greed have not changed even if our ability to lay waste to one another has dramatically improved.
What have we gained with the half trillion dollars of taxpayer money, 2400 US deaths, over 20,000 injured (many more psychologically) and some 100,000 Iraqis themselves if it just boils down to a sectarian bloodbath? What have we gained?
And be sure, there will be "blowback" for generations to come from this ill-begotten campaign. Our children, our children's children will be presented with an unpaid bill.
What have we done? What should we do?