I met another one yesterday, on the subway. He was with his family visiting DC as tourists and they all stood swaying like happy but confused cows in front of Washington’s impossibly confusing subway fare map. I helped them figure it out, and learned they were from Montana, were in a “big city” for the first time in a long time and were a bit overwhelmed. The son was 26, in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, lost his leg near a city in Iraq whose name he awkwardly mispronounced. I doubt if an Iraqi would have recognized the name given how he said it, but it was where he got shot in a war that made no more sense than the subway map. The charts say he has sixty more years in that chair, three more lives. Almost 12 stops on the subway, too.
Somewhere along the way the US killed off over 100,000 Iraqis while 4480 American soldiers died alongside of them. No one can really count how many were wounded, like the guy on the subway. It was a war purely of choice, a war of desire, launched with an invasion into a country that did not attack or threaten the US. That was 2003, when “men” like Colin Powell, Condi Rice and the Bush clan lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. It is important to go over those things once in awhile, because government fibbers are always poking around– Syria, Iran, Pakistan– with more false or exaggerated claims. Let’s agree to ask a few questions next time.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite whatever reasons they started, morphed into nation building, where the US sought/seeks to create neat little democratic allies. That is a fool’s errand, and an expensive one in terms of lives and dollars, so it is important to check in to see where these things are going once in a while.
In the same week that we learn of Iraq’s plan to shut down the majority of major media outlets, Musings on Iraq, one of the most dispassionate and apolitical sites on the topic, offers this pocket assessment of today’s Iraq:
Recently, the United Nations and the State Department issued reports on human rights within Iraq. Both said that the country had a poor record. Freedom of the press, assembly, and expression, along with women and minority rights were all threatened, and the country lacked a functioning justice and prison systems. This was due to not only the on going violence within the country, but corruption and government dysfunction. Both organizations believed that the situation would continue. Not only has the government’s promises of improving its human rights situation proved hollow, but no official has ever been punished for their actions, while insurgents still carry out their daily terrorist attacks.
Of course one must ask if that’s the best we could do with 4480 American lives and several trillion dollars, what hope do we have in America’s other endless wars of choice and desire?
If you have the stomach for it, read a more detailed look at the state of modern Iraq on Musings.
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