Our Leaders Never Considered the Consequences
(A year after we left Iraq)
When Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq that began on March 13, 2003, he and no one else in our government considered the consequences of this rash action. The fact that Sadaam Hussein was a very bad man was not enough of a reason to destroy a sovereign country which had not attacked the United States.
None of our leaders considered the loss of civilian lives, and the ruination of the lives of thousands more. No one had learned the lessons given us by the Soviet Union’s loss of their Afghan war, and the difficulties our military were enduring in that same country in present time. No consideration was given to the possibility of losing thousands of our finest young men’s and women’s lives, and permanently physically or mentally injuring thousands more. Complete disregard for the billions of dollars it would cost to wage war helped ruin our nation’s economy.
When we ended our aggression on December 31, 2011, what was accomplished? A year later, here’s what we know.
When the U.S. invaded Iraq, Shiites were very hopeful. Hussein’s Sunni dominated regime had forced them to live in fear. The relations between the two factions of the country had deteriorated after the first “Gulf War” which began in 1990. George H.W. Bush had promised U.S. support for the Shiites if they acted against Sadaam Hussein. They fought to overthrow the tyrant, and because U.S. support never materialized, they were slaughtered.
Today the Shiites control most of Iraq. And although promises were made by early governments that there would be a unified government of Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, Shiites are being accused of attempting to amass all power in the country. The government stumbles from one political crisis to another.
Facing an uncertain life, and the possibility of al Queda’s return, coupled with continued bombings and gun battles, the younger people of the country are looking for a way to leave. Much of the country is still without daily fresh water, and have no electricity for hours each day.
The future of the country is undecided. Will the country continue to be divided by ethnic and sectarian lines, or will the people democratically elect leaders who will create security and prosperity for all of the country’s people?
Our government failed to learn from our loss in Vietnam. In these times an imperialistic attitude cannot succeed. Secrets cannot be kept, and ambitions are exposed. Waging war may help those invested in the military-industrial complex, but it is destructive to the majority of people on both sides.
I hope that one day teachers will be allowed to inform their students of the true outcome of America’s military actions. We need to change the attitude about war, and cease to glorify it. We must raise a generation that refuses to think violent action can solve the problems of individuals or nations. The greatest people in the world are not the generals who led their countries into victorious battles, but the diplomats who kept soldiers out of war.
By James Turnage