Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Look Back at Two Anniversaries—The Iraq War and My Birthday

Less than a month before the Iraq War began hundreds of thousands of protestors marched in Washington and around the world.  After early military success, the mass anti-war movement in the United States virtually collapsed.

Note—It was ten years ago today when the Iraq war erupted with the “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad.  Three years later in the very infancy of this Blog when it was on LiveJournal, I posted the following.  I present it again to you today out of archeological interest.
My actual birthday slipped past with a minimum of fanfare on St. Patrick’s Day. I worked both jobs that day (first in Woodstock doing computer communications work for a small financial advisor firm then at the Mobile station in Crystal Lake.) In the few minutes I was home in between, I managed to wolf down some corn beef and cabbage that my wife thoughtfully brought home from her lunch out. There were a few cards and e-mails from old college friends. Granddaughter Caitlin left me a little shamrock lapel pin. My adult daughters called. Maureen, the youngest and a senior in college living at home, dropped a really sentimental card off with me at the gas station that left me a bit verklempt.
Altogether a low key affair. Which is just fine. I’m well past the days when passing out in my own puke seemed like a fine way to mark the occasion. Besides 57 is not the kind of landmark birthday that cries out for either ceremony or mockery. It just kind of lays there in its own anonymous mediocrity.
Of far greater significance was the third anniversary of George W.’s nasty late birthday present to me—the invasion of Iraq.
When it began, the huge anti-war movement that mobilized beforehand—and in which I took a very active part—kind of collapsed for a while into despair and disappointment. Americans, as we are wont to do, rallied around their President and the troops and watched the cake walk to Baghdad with pride. In no time at all George was up there strutting on an aircraft carrier and declaring victory.
The Pundocracy of print, the cable news cowboys, the radio ravers united in both gloating and mocking the Left and the anti-war movement. To wit:
Tommy Franks and the coalition forces have demonstrated the old axiom that boldness on the battlefield produces swift and relatively bloodless victory. The three-week swing through Iraq has utterly shattered skeptics’ complaints.”
(Tony Snow, Fox News, 4/13/03)
“The only people who think this wasn’t a victory are Upper Westside
liberals and a few people here in Washington.”
(Charles Krauthammer, Inside Washington, WUSA-TV, 4/19/03)
We're all neo-cons now.”
(Chris Matthews, MSNBC, 4/9/03)

I hate to be an “I told you so.” But I did. So did hundreds of others before the war ever started. The war has transpired pretty much exactly a we said it would—a quagmire of guerilla insurgency, the shattering of the country on ethnic and religious lines, the inspiration to wider hatred of the America among Muslims worldwide, the recruiting engine for Islamic terrorism on the Bin Ladin model, the shattering of traditional ties among allies, the isolation of America in the world, and even the devastating drain on American military power. We predicted it all before the first “Shock and Awe” bomb was dropped.
If an (at the time) elementary school custodian from an obscure Illinois county could have foreseen this, what the hell was our genius leadership thinking?
They were blinded by a combination of arrogance, hubris, righteousness and greed. To this day they cannot admit to any fundamental error and only grudgingly own up to slight tactical miscalculations.

Worse, their current rhetoric against Iran mirrors that they used to build a case for war on Iraq. They have apparently learned nothing.
But the American people, as so often in the past, have learned. The thrill is gone. They recognize the plain disaster wrought by cabal in power. Thus the poll numbers which plummet daily.

The Washington establishment and the press might not have recognized it, ergo their contemptuous dismissal for the Feingold censure resolution and the Connors impeachment resolution in the House. They will wake up at their peril.

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