One never would have thought, when this country was raining “shock and awe” on Baghdad, that politicians would have little to say about the 10th anniversary of the war, which today seems more in remission than over.
In fact, Agence France-Presse reports that more than 200 people have been killed in Iraq this month as sectarian violence continues. A rash of car bombings, likely linked to last week’s anniversary of the invasion, left at least 40 Iraqis dead and dozens wounded. The peace that the war was supposed to bring remains missing in action.
Most Americans no longer care, polls show. They believe this nation paid too high a price — 4,500 soldiers killed, 30,000 wounded, more than $2 trillion in expenditures — to fight a war whose goal kept changing, and that it received little in return, certainly not the Middle East stability that in many respects seems more remote than in 2003.
Some foreign policy analysts point out that while toppling the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do, the weakening of Iraq has allowed its bitter enemy Iran to pursue its ambition to become a regional power.
That shouldn’t have been hard to envision 10 years ago, but U.S. leaders didn’t let that possibility change their mind about attacking Iraq. In fact, former Vice President Dick Cheney still insists that the Bush administration made the right decision. “If I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a minute,” he recently told the producers of a documentary being made about him, titled The World According to Dick Cheney.
Despite what Cheney says, if this country had to do it over again, it certainly should not travel the same course that led to the bombing of Baghdad. If nothing else, the Iraq war should have taught this nation that you don’t jump into mortal combat before you know for certain what and whom you’re fighting for.
The Philadelphia Inquirer