Charley Reese: Iraq is Not Our Country
- A Few Reminders: Iraq is Not Our Country
A few reminders: Iraq is not our country. Our invasion and occupation
are illegal, being in violation of both international law and our own
traditions. We were lied into war. We are still being lied to. Both
the Bush administration and the Democrats intend to maintain American
troops in Iraq indefinitely.
The catchy little phrase "If you break it, you own it" might apply to
unpurchased merchandise, but it definitely does not apply to
nation-states. You don't gain title to your neighbor's house just
because you blow it up. We definitely broke Iraq, but that only gives
us the burden of sin. It does not entitle us to the country.
It's easy to forget that when you listen to American politicians in
both parties talk about what Iraq has to do or ought to do or should
do. The Iraqi government does not have to do anything we tell it, and
so far it hasn't, despite promises to the contrary.
The phrase now being heard most often around Baghdad is "Iraq is
finished." That's according to Pepe Escobar, a correspondent for Asia
Times Online. I urgently recommend his piece "Baghdad: Up Close and
Personal." He and two Iraqi journalists toured the "Red Zone," which
is all of Baghdad except the heavily fortified Green Zone. Compare
what he saw and heard with what you hear from the talking heads in
And, by the way, they traveled in a plain car without armored
vehicles, troops and helicopters hovering overhead, which is how
American big shots travel. They got shot at and arrested but otherwise
We need to get out of Iraq right now. This folly has already cost us
3,300 American lives, $500 billion in tax money, 30,000 wounded, and
there is not so much as a faint glow at the end of the tunnel.
The reason I say both Democrats and Republicans intend a long-term
military presence is because that's what they say if you listen
closely. The so-called withdrawal deadline of the Democrats stipulates
some troops left in country. To quell an insurgency, if you can do it
at all, usually requires about 10 years.
You can see by the casualty figures overwhelmingly Iraqi that we
are not doing the main fighting. We lose people daily, but so far in
the single digits. And we will go on losing people no matter what
tactics we employ as long as we stay there while the Iraqis fight a
civil war. We can, with our sick devotion to legalese, say it is not
an occupation, but the Iraqis call it an occupation, and they don't
like it worth a toot.
When American politicians say if we leave, there will be chaos, that's
a joke. There is chaos there now. Another joke is that we can
democratize the Middle East. Still another joke is the belief that we
can deal with terrorism without solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
If I thought the people in Washington were smart enough, I'd say we
intended to destroy the country and leave it in the wreck it is. I
don't think they're that smart, though. I think they really believed
we could waltz in, topple Saddam Hussein and waltz out. That's what
happens when you let a bunch of pointy-headed intellectuals from
universities and think tanks set policy. Only people who have worn
muddy boots and heard the sounds of gunfire should be consulted on the
issues of war and peace. Such people are darned scarce in Washington
these days, even at the Pentagon.
The present policy sins daily against the Iraqi people, wastes the
lives of American military people, adds to the financial burden of
future generations and demonstrates to the world that we are a nation
led by fools.
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