We never should have gone into Iraq, but thanks to an evil cabal of lying sociopaths we did. We were there for eight years beginning in 2003. By the time we left 3,572 American service people had been killed in combat. Another 961 had died from other causes, 32,222 had been wounded, and 2 were declared missing in action. Only God knows how many Iraqis were killed, or wounded.
Right now the answer to that question is becoming increasingly difficult to ascertain.
In theory we went there because we were assured time and time again Saddam Hussein was a mad son of a bitch who was ready to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction. The exact nature of those weapons and how he was going to magically deliver them over the 10,000 plus miles from Iraq to our shores remained a tad fuzzy, but because of the imminent threat there wasn't any time for details. In other words go right now, or we'll be screwed. Besides, he was a tyrant who treated vast numbers of his people badly. After the invasion, when it turned out Iraq and it's leader didn't have any WMDs the guys who pressed for the war kind of shrugged their shoulders and collectively said something along the lines of, "Oops, we were misinformed."
Hussein was a Sunni, however the majority of Muslims in Iraq were and are Shiites. When he was alive the Shiites didn't like him and felt persecuted by him and his fellow Sunnis.
Enter the good ol' U.S. of A. In short order Saddam was doing the End of the Rope Polka and elections were being organized, because there isn't an American alive who doesn't firmly believe everyone in the whole wide world wants a democracy just like ours.
The Iraqis elected a government which was top heavy with Shiites. At that moment there were two possible courses for the new regime to take. One was to actually run the country as a democracy and not act like--well--Saddam Hussein. The second option was to yell, "It's pay back time, baby lets kick some Sunni ass."
The temptation of the latter was apparently too sweet to turn down.
Now things are falling apart. Did any of us really expect it wouldn't? Why the United States ever thought the Sunnis and Shia of Iraq would get along speaks to the blind naivete of American foreign policy. These two sects of Islam have been at each other's throats for nearly 1,400 years. Honestly, did we actually expect them to kiss and make up just because we rid them of Saddam and initiated free elections?
As these words are being typed hordes of Sunni extremists are laying siege to the largest oil refinery in Iraq. Mosul and Tikrit have fallen. There is evidence at least some of the Iraqi soldiers who surrendered to them were taken out and shot in large numbers.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has blamed the Saudis for financing the militants who are called by a couple of different acronyms, depending on who you reference. The Iranians, in their never ending quest to become The Next Big Power are itching to get involved and al-Maliki looks suspiciously like he is in their pocket.
The U.S. has moved an aircraft carrier and a couple of missile destroyers into the Persian Gulf and the president is mulling over some sort of military intervention. He claims he won't do it without al-Maliki making substantial reforms to ease the sectarian tensions in Iraq.
Number one, we know that isn't going to happen. In fact if the Iraqi army does turn the military situation around it will just get worse. Number two there are already at least 275 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq in order to protect, American Assets. The odds are better than even more will join them soon.
Here at home, in an act of gall so incredible it cannot be accurately described, Dick Cheney climbed out of his coffin to blame Obama for everything. He went so far as to tell the media he is forming a new foreign policy group called, Alliance for a Strong America.
Cheney's foul presence on the airwaves moved Senator Harry Reid to declare, "To the architects of the Iraq war who are now so eager to offer their expert analysis, I say thanks, but no thanks. Unfortunately we tried it your way and it was the biggest foreign policy blunder in the history of the country."
Indeed. Listening to advice from Dick Cheney on Iraq is rather like a med student taking a class in anatomy taught by Jack the fucking Ripper.
Meanwhile, until the fighting subsides watch for the oil companies to begin a campaign of price gouging at the gas pumps. After all, that refinery is under siege you know, therefore prices must go up, up, and up.
This nightmare began when George W. Bush decided he had to prove his balls we're bigger than his old man's and Dick Cheney realized how much money Haliburton and it's subsidiaries would make off it. Every other reason we were given in 2003 was absolute bullshit.
Now we're watching all the sacrifice, pain and yes, money, we spent in Iraq go down the drain because the current government is only barely more tolerant than the regime of Saddam Hussein and their army sucks just like his did.
The President of the United States doesn't have an answer to this, not because of incompetence on his part, although the republicans will paint it that way.
And while they may screech like harpies the GOP honchos know they don't either. But, hey, it's an election year so they'll pretend they do.
The truth is the leadership of the United States, both left and right doesn't have an answer to the sectarian violence, quite simply, because there isn't one.
Unfortunately, in order to win votes, they will all say they have the solution. That is the nature of politics. It is also the reason so many brave men and women die for causes which are both fraudulent and useless.
If you want me, I'll be in the bar.
sic vita est