• What They Died For

    April 12, 2011

    Tags: , , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Iraq, Military

    George Bush Mission Accomplished It is hard not to be angry, hard not to be just sad.

    After eight years of war in Iraq, at a cost of 4,447 dead Americans, tens of thousands wounded, over a hundred thousand Iraqi dead, and at a financial cost of $3 trillion dollars (oh, go ahead and argue that’s too high; fine, call it $2 trillion if that makes you feel better), here is how the 2010 State Department Human Rights Report describes the country we created for that price, Iraq:

    During the year the following significant human rights problems were reported:

    Arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life; extremist and terrorist bombings and executions; disappearances; torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; poor conditions in pretrial detention and prison facilities; arbitrary arrest and detention; impunity; denial of fair public trials; delays in resolving property restitution claims; insufficient judicial institutional capacity; arbitrary interference with privacy and home; limits on freedoms of speech, press, and assembly and extremist threats and violence; limits on religious freedom due to extremist threats and violence; restrictions on freedom of movement; large numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees; lack of transparency and significant, widespread corruption at all levels of government; constraints on international organizations and nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) investigations of alleged violations of human rights; discrimination against and societal abuses of women and ethnic, religious, and racial minorities; human trafficking; societal discrimination and violence against individuals based on sexual orientation; and limited exercise of labor rights.

    Really? That is what we bought? That is what they all died for? Who is willing to walk into Walter Reed and say that is why you gave your leg, soldier? Who will go into the living room of a war widow and say this is what you sacrificed your husband for?

    Like a hungry man who had a whiff of a good meal, we could not stop ourselves from invading Iraq once we had seen 9/11, and we elected men who would probe our deepest fears, echoes of their own delight at the outcome.

    Shame on us. Shame on us all.

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