It is difficult to understand how Tom Friedman continues to get Iraq so wrong. A case in point is his recent NYT-OpEd entitled "The End, For Now." His failure to cop to his own cheerleading of the invasion, his past belief in WMD's and a connection to 9/11, as well as his inability to grasp our motivations and the outcome of the Iraqi misadventure should be enough to merit a summary dismissal of his comments.
These days there is no lack of official silly pronouncements about Iraq, from the president, the vice president and the secretary of defense, as to the worthiness of the "noble" sacrifice of our men and women tasked with the brutality of conquest and occupation.
Members of our military are now being revealed for their infamy as the result of a growing record of officially sanctioned torture, wanton destruction, rape, murder and atrocity that rivals even the Vietnam revelations. Every person who supported this war and families who had a member on a tour of duty should be deeply ashamed. Our soldiers (volunteers all) are not heroes by any metrics.
Obama's comments about our sacrifices and accomplishments are especially puzzling because it was not his war of choice (unlike Afghanistan) and there is no need for him to rhapsodize about our motives either for invasion, occupation or outcome. Obama must be condemned however for his failure to bring about a prompt withdrawal from what he admitted was a "dumb war." Even his withdrawal is a shell game of sorts as a large contingent of contractors remain in country.
What did this illegal, war of terror, justified by lies, accomplish? We are walking away from a decimated country in ruins.
Thanks to us, Iraq is now in a fatal, permanent state of civil war between the three tribal factions. The neighboring Iranian theocracy has lost a formidable, unified, secular, anti-Islamasist opponent. President Maliki is a leader with a reputation every bit as despotic and brutal as Saddam. We left behind over 150,000 dead Iraqi men, women and children and a fractured population displacement numbering in the millions. Our uranium tipped ordinance leaves a permanent reminder in the form of damaged and deformed children for the foreseeable future.
Friedman's contention that the spread of democracy factored in any way into our motives or actions in that hapless country is an obscenity too heinous to even be contemplated.