The folly of the Iraq war will go down as one of the most irresponsible actions by an American president in history.
World War I, Korea, Vietnam: These were all Democrat wars. But after the Bush family’s two adventures in the Arabia peninsula, the GOP is seen by the American people as the war party.
The American people have never had a problem fighting for their own defense, but they have always been less than enthusiastic about fighting for someone else. They have no interest in going after the Iranians, for instance. If Iran is a legitimate threat to the United States, it will take a lot of convincing.
The U.S. legacy in Iraq is destruction: the reputation for the United States as a force for peace, the ancient Christian communities of Mesopotamia, the primary Arab check on Iranian aggression and the hope of balancing the U.S. governments budget any time soon, all destroyed.
The war on al-Qaida should have focused on punishing their financial backers, their safe havens and the elimination of their covert and overt supporters in North America. The war should have been fought using the FBI, CIA, ICE and U.S. Special Forces. The defeat and occupation of Iraq moved the U.S. away from the completion of its goal. America is divided, unfocused and unsecured.
When a population can neither name nor identify the enemy, a nation should reconsider whether the war is worth fighting. That is the position of the United States in 2013.
The previous decade was defined by Bush’s war. Without the discovery of weapons of mass destruction, the American people believed they were lied to about the reasons for going to war; as a consequence, everyone who hailed George W. Bush as a hero was viewed with suspicion. No one lost more moral authority during this period than the Christian right. During the 2000 election campaign, many hailed Bush as the moral anti-Clinton. But as thousands of American veterans and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians paid the price of the president’s folly, that claim became a millstone around the neck of social conservatism. Bush was lampooned as the incompetent, failed leader who was the worst kind of cruel and callous buffoon, save the Christians who supported him.
Bush’s GOP began the irresponsible push for “democracy” in the Arab Islamic Near East. Before the fall of Mubarak, before the Syrian civil war, before Benghazi, before Obama in Cairo, there was Bush. In his 2003 State of the Union report to the United States Congress, George W. Bush said, “Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States.”
The North Koreans are still around and the Iraqi government is Iran’s new buddy. Miserable failure, indeed.
At the beginning to the military campaign in Iraq, Christianity was almost in vogue. Go back and look at the various bandwagoners who touted their faith “tradition.” Now sincere Christianity is “uncool” in the extreme. It is viewed as lame, backward and warmongering. The linkage of Bush and Iraq with American Christian Zionism – however tenuous – has allowed anti-Zionists to criticize the U.S.-Israel partnership with growing confidence. The time has come for the Christian right to rethink its alliance with the GOP’s neoconservative war faction. The legacy of Iraq is a Middle East and an America that are less hospitable to Christianity. That is the definition of failure.