March 19th, 2003: Then President George W Bush announced US forces would thumb its nose at the UN and launch a ground invasion of Iraq, with the goal of toppling the Bath regime and its notorious leader, Saddam Hussein. I watched in some agony as I couldn't imagine what it would mean to be a citizen of Iraq. Sure during the first Gulf War in the late nineties they probably saw war coming as almost every UN member state saw the occupation of Kuwait as ridiculous and needed to end immediately, and most Americans thought the action was necessary even though few of them could point the country out on a map. But there we were, watching an ignorant Republican declare war against a country that has never attacked us, based on the idea that they may or may not have wanted to, with weapons they may or may not have possessed.
I tried to rationalize what the administration was thinking, even going so far as to try to give them the benefit of the doubt, but was for naught, as there was no logical reason for this to happen. Many people would perish while we were busy taking a two bit dictator who could barely feed his country out of the world community. The faulty, and possibly falsified intelligence laid bare to the world wasn't enough to convince most rational thinking Americans that this was necessary, nor did it sway the Security Council.
Still we went in and toppled a mostly defenseless country, and in turn their citizens decided to strike back. Few hearts and minds were won and our forces ended up fighting non-uniformed insurgents who were none to happy to have their country occupied by a foreign power. Months went on and bodies piled up, and we wondered if this would ever end.
Sure no one misses Sadam, but in the war on terror he was hardly a player, much less a formidable enemy. Al-Queda grew in their solidarity against us, and their leaders kept popping as we claimed we killed the number two man in power over and over again. Do we feel any safer now that the Bath party doesn't exist?
Saddam was a lot of things, a horrible murderous tyrant who inflicted much pain and suffering on his people, but he was also the monster we created. We helped him stay in power for so many years, even going so far as giving him weapons of mass destruction to wage war with Iran. America became the irresponsible parent, and rather than try and reign in the spoiled brat we raised, we ended up killing him for the transgressions we helped him achieve. At the end, we saw images of him in his tightey whiteys and breathed a sigh of relief when he was put to death.
So what now for Iraq? We no longer hear about the nation we devastated, and now that they have democracy we may pay an ugly price for what we did there. I hope the country can forgive us, but I'm not optimistic. Hopefully they're enjoying their freedoms, liberty that they never had under Hussein, and maybe one day they'll be prosperous and we can look back and think something good came out of this expensive conflict, but I'm not optimistic.
"Politics is when you say you are going to do one thing while intending to do another. Then you do neither what you said nor what you intended." - Saddam Hussein