Next Monday is the 20th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq — an international day of infamy:
(Image: ‘The Three Amigos‘ — Dick Cheney, GW Bush, Don Rumsfeld, oozing manliness on a road outside GW’s no-cattle ranch in Crawford, Texas — and found here.)
Time is a strange vehicle of travel as it seems near-about unbelievable it will be 20 years March 20th that the US invaded Iraq under super suspicious circumstances in what the late-great Gen Bill Odom termed ‘“the worst strategic mistake in the history of the United States,”‘ and the world is still paying for the horror. Anniversaries are celebrated, but this one sucks through a small straw.
Even the Senate’s Intelligence Committee proclaimed as much in June 2008 in fairly stark words: ‘“Before taking the country to war, this Administration owed it to the American people to give them a 100 percent accurate picture of the threat we faced. Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence … In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.”‘
And now two decades later, the shit is still hitting the fan:
Long shadow of US invasion of Iraq still looms over international order https://t.co/9B1KAPxZ8F
— The Guardian (@guardian) March 13, 2023
A way-good primer is an essay-feature by Patrick Wintour at the Guardian this afternoon. Wintour, the newspaper’s diplomatic editor, performs an excellent deep dive into the aftershocks of the Iraqi debacle, which most all linger to this day — must-required reading as the anniversary approaches.
Some provocative snips:
The breathtaking mishandling of the biggest attempt at liberal interventionism since Vietnam is now acknowledged by almost all those involved. As looting swept the capital and the institutions of the dictatorship were dismantled by the new occupiers, the US official designated to oversee the ministry of trade, Robin Raphel, walked the streets of Baghdad with an interpreter, asking: “Do you know anybody who is in the ministry of trade?”
The chaos has spawned a vast literature on post-conflict planning, and multi-volume official inquiries, notably the Chilcot inquiry in the UK and a two-volume report by the US army. “We have all over the past 20 years sifted through and tried to read the runes about what was the big mistake. Some things accelerated the collapse, such as the legacy of sanctions or de-Baathification,” Dodge said. “But the big mistake, the original sin, was to invade a country you know nothing about with a bunch of exiles that had not been there for 20 years. It was destined for failure. Full stop.”
The aftermath and aftershocks of the war are so pervasive that the only risk is that a line of causality is drawn from the invasion to almost every major global event in the past 20 years. Disentangling what can be legitimately traced back to the “original sin” of the invasion and what may have other origins is no easy task.
Even now, the invasion has a sharp contemporary relevance, with a western wariness about regime change in Tehran, let alone Moscow. “Change to what and by what means?” asked the French president, Emmanuel Macron, at last month’s Munich security conference, knowing the unspoken reference to the succession of corrupt and sectarian governments in Iraq post-2003 was warning enough against inducing regime change in Russia.
As I noted to go read the whole thing, it’s easy and free. In my humble estimate, the Guardian is currently the best news source on earth.
In the next week most-likely there will be a shitload of stories on the anniversary. I’ll too, will post more as there’s so much to the story nowadays and repercussions still abound, near endlessly
And the idiot’s fancy is so utterly shitty — a horrible remembrance:
A couple of decades later, or not, once again here we are…