Iraq = Fail 2

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Bush Administration, Iraq War

I’ve written in the past about how the wingnut political cosmos is something like old Greek mythology (see, for example, “Why Sarah Palin Is a Goddess.”) In rightie mythology, many presidents — Republican ones, anyway — are gods with the power of bending mortals to their will with simple words and the occasional lightning bolt.

For example, in rightie myth, President Ronald Reagan went to Berlin in 1987 and called on the Soviets to “tear down this wall.” And then, in 1989, the wall came down. And if you listen to righties, you’d believe it came down entirely because of the godlike will of Reagan, who wasn’t even President in 1989. In the Real World, there were, um, lots of other things going on that caused the Berlin Wall to be dismantled. Brave people all over eastern Europe were rising up against Soviet dominance. And at long last the once-mighty Soviet Union was too depleted by its own blunders to maintain control.

So the Berlin Wall came down, as it surely would have done anyway, even if Saint Ronald of Blessed Memory had never made the speech. But saying that out loud is blasphemy in Wingnut World.

Lately some of the losers who were gung-ho to invade Iraq in 2003 are crawling out of the woodwork to declare victory (see, for example, “Iraq=Fail“). As I have written before, these declarations never take into account (1) the original, stated objectives of the invasion were never met; (2) the U.S. considerably weakened itself militarily and economically, possibly permanently. And, as of the most recent count, 4,382 American soldiers have been killed during their tours in Iraq.

Now we’ve got Jeff Jacoby, in a column headlined “Mission Accomplished, Indeed,” arguing that George W. Bush is responsible for “the transformation of Iraq from a hellish tyranny into a functioning democracy.” And then later he wrote, “Where Saddam once ruled a ghastly ‘republic of fear,’ Iraqis live today in democratic freedom and relative peace, dispelling daily the canard that democracy and Arab culture cannot co-exist.”

OK, so in the recent elections about 100 bombs went off, killing 38 people. I would say Jacoby’s standardas of “relative peace” are pretty low.

I also liked this part:

“Iraqis are not afraid of bombs anymore,’’ a middle-aged voter named Maliq Bedawi told a New York Times reporter as they stood amid the rubble of a Baghdad apartment building destroyed by a Katyusha rocket.

See, back in the days of Saddam Hussein’s hellish tyranny Iraqis were afraid of bombs because they were so rare. But according to some figures, by 2007 about 78,000 Iraqis had been killed by coalition airstrikes. I suppose you have to get numb after awhile. And thanks to the invasion and occupation, Iraq became a lightning rod for terrorist hotheads.

Further, I can’t tell from here whether Iraq is truly a “functioning democracy” or not. Voting by itself does not a “functioning democracy” make. The real test of a “functioning democracy” is whether the people of a nation are really governing themselves through elected representation, or whether the elected officials are mostly serving their own ends and just going through the motions of representing the people. One could ask the same question of the U.S., of course.

But if Iraq truly does become a functioning democracy, the primary credit has to go to Iraqis. If they can dig themselves out of what was done to their country and make something positive come of it, this would be a monumental accomplishment. I also think there were many ways the U.S. and the rest of the world could have hurried Saddam out and helped Iraq become democratic that would have been much less costly and violent.

Yes, there were some things the U.S. occupation did long after the invasion that were helpful to Iraqis, but this was not accomplishing our “mission.” This was cleaning up after our mess.

But in Wingnut World, if Iraq becomes a functioning democracy, it will be because the well-protected George W. Bush bravely sat in front of a camera and declared the U.S. would invade Iraq. The simple brown people of Iraq are now enjoying the benefits of Bush’s godlike beneficence.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. biggerbox  •  Mar 10, 2010 @11:57 am

    How do these declarations that Iraq is now a functioning democracy square with all those predictions of doom and disaster if we withdraw our troops? Do they think we’ve forgotten how just over a year ago they were telling us that Obama’s plan would plunge the Iraqi’s into inevitable civil war, etc? Maybe they can hold both thoughts in their head at once, but it would require a pretty strange definition of ‘functioning democracy’. Perhaps it means something like “a place where they vote, and the presence of thousands of highly trained and equipped foreign troops keeps the civil unrest down to a manageable triple-digit count of daily explosions.”

  2. Pat  •  Mar 10, 2010 @12:25 pm

    Neocons always talked about Iraq as a 50 year endeavor…an extended occupation as with Japan so evidently they don’t think so much of this “functioning democracy.” In their narrative the US is like a nurturing mother and the Iraqis are like fragile children who need long term help and guidance on this road to democracy.

    OK, so in the recent elections about 100 bombs went off, killing 38 people. I would say Jacoby’s standardas of “relative peace” are pretty low.

    At least our shootings and bombings are not the result of external forces but rather red-blooded American crazies and most liikely liberals if you listen to wingnuts.

    There’s also a little racism and convenient thinking at play when the destruction of a single building full of people has nearly bankrupted us (with an extra push from greedy financial industry opportunists) while “those people” are better off with bombs being a daily staple in their society.

    I suppose they’re just so used to less that even a situation that is unthinkable in our society is an improvment for theirs. The Iraqis needn’t worry since we are wonderful people and will decide what’s best for them.

    Yup, that’s conservative America — delivering freedom to off-white people the world over at the barrel of a gun or through bombs dropped. We’re so good. Bush told us so.

  3. muldoon  •  Mar 10, 2010 @1:00 pm

    In the Wingnut World empty opinions and bald-faced lies seem to carry more weight than concrete facts. Maybe it’s because facts can be thorny things, and opinions and lies are easier to swallow whole.

    But this I do know: Months before 911, an army intelligence officer told my son to buy Brown & Root stock (a subsidiary of Halliburton), because the US would soon attack either Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan (he wasn’t sure which one). The reason? Something to do with an oil pipe line. The whole thing sounded so far-fetched to me that I wondered when the man had last had a mental check-up. And then came 911, and the lies and damned lies about mushroom clouds and drones and mobile labs cooking up deadly toxins…

    Now the Wingnut World would have us believe that none of this mattered because Iraq is much better off, seeing’s people are going to the polls and voting. To which I can only say, a whole lot of folks went to the polls and voted for George Bush, too.

  4. joanr16  •  Mar 10, 2010 @2:17 pm

    The reason? Something to do with an oil pipe line.

    Exactamente. The following missions were, indeed, accomplished in Iraq:

    1) We secured their oilfields for Big Oil, an industry that is always so nice to the American consumer and the planet.

    2) We showed G.H.W. Bush how Saddam Hussein’s hash should be settled. (“All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues.”)

    3) We inflated the Dick’s retirement fund at Halliburton to the point where he and the missus can buy Picassos and keep them in the closet. (As reported by comedian Craig Ferguson, who had a frustrating conversation on said artworks with Mrs. Cheney at a White House dinner.)

    So, gosh, maybe we ought to rethink this whole “Iraq=Fail” thing? After the lobotomies, maybe.

  5. felicity  •  Mar 10, 2010 @2:18 pm

    The invasion of Iraq was the most evil calculation in American history. With Bush’s numbers falling, with bin Laden apparently not to be caught, Bush needed a ‘proper’ war, a number raiser, an evil doer (Sadaam) – not to mention alot of oil there for the taking.

    (I agree with Mailer: “Fighting a war to fix something works about as well as going to a whore house to get rid of the clap.”)

    Then there’s the neocon imput ala Robespierre who justified his Reign of Terror thus, “Out of pity and love of humanity, you must be inhuman.”

    And in the long run? Two hundred years of Crusades still didn’t manage to wipe out the Muslim population – but they all tried.

    As to future right-wing ‘spins’ of the glorious war to free the Iraqi people? I’m waiting for Wolfowitz’s ‘book’ to see how he’ll spin his pre-war proclamation to the American people that Iraq’s oil would pay the entire cost of the war.

  6. felicity  •  Mar 10, 2010 @3:03 pm

    And the wingnut crowd? Since 40% of Americans are illiterate, could it be possible that the majority of that 40% dwell in Wingnutland? Might explain a lot.

  7. stefan  •  Mar 10, 2010 @3:27 pm
  8. QrazyQat  •  Mar 10, 2010 @5:25 pm

    I seem to remember some blue thumb thingie. Remember? It was the Iraq elections, that showed they’d become a “functioning democracy”. Blue thumbs? Does no one remember? 2005? Why do they need to become a “functioning democracy” now since they did then, according to the Bush administration and all these pundits?

    Can our country really not remember back as far as 5 years?

  9. Bob K  •  Mar 10, 2010 @5:28 pm

    Some words I’ve learned over the last few years. Shiite, Sunni, Kurds. These three groups have been at each others throats for how many generations? Given the bombings during last weeks elections, something tells me they haven’t learned to play nice yet. If Iraq descends into civil war the neo con wing nuts will no doubt blame it all on the Obama administration. The fact that the draw down of U.S. forces in Iraq was agreed to during Dubya’s administration will conveniently be ignored.

  10. erinyes  •  Mar 10, 2010 @6:01 pm

    Murders are always punished, unless the murder in great numbers and to the sound of trumpets…………

  11. moonbat  •  Mar 10, 2010 @6:53 pm

    Wingnuts so badly need an omnipotent daddy figure, and since Saint Ronnie has departed, the former boy-king GWB will have to do. It’s so funny watching them attempt to reimagine the past (what a euphemism) and snow the rest of us with their fantasies; from what I’ve seen on various comment threads elsewhere, the public isn’t buying their Kool Aid this time. The only thing to do with these sad little people is to laugh in their faces, and to glare right in their simpering little eyes while speaking the truth as loudly and as clearly as we can.

    If done properly, said words will ricochete off the backs of their empty skulls as they skulk away, shaken by the power of truth, finally coming directly at them after their years of wrecking everything in sight, an individual reckoning they’re almost completely unfamiliar with.

  12. uncledad  •  Mar 10, 2010 @7:18 pm

    “And if you listen to righties, you’d believe it came down entirely because of the godlike will of Reagan, who wasn’t even President in 1989″

    If any one person was responsible for the wall coming down (which as you point out is not the case) but if I had to pick one I would say Lech Wałęsa had a great deal to do with the fall of the soviet empire. But in wing-nut land a Union Activist could never have the influence of say a washed up senile actor puppet politician!

  13. Swami  •  Mar 10, 2010 @9:06 pm

    It’s just not fair! Joshua had to march around Jericho for seven days blowing a rams horn before the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, and yet St. Ronnie only had to utter four words to bring down the Berlin wall…What gives?

  14. Dave S  •  Mar 10, 2010 @9:28 pm

    Shiite, Sunni, Kurds. These three groups have been at each others throats for how many generations?

    I don’t remember who said this, but this guy was in the White House talking about the upcoming Iraq war, mentioned the Shiite and Sunni thing, and GWB reportedly said, “I thought they was all A-rabs.”

    Yep, he sure did know what he was doing over there, bringing them lasting Democracy.

  15. Dave S  •  Mar 10, 2010 @9:29 pm

    Well, darn. I changed my e-mail address and now I’ve lost my pointy head. I was starting to really like that pointy head.

  16. Crazy About Urban Planning  •  Mar 11, 2010 @11:45 am

    You ever think about how the crazy media people describe “liberals” (*very elastic definition)? It seems to me they basically just describe how they feel about people they don’t agree with and call it liberals hating someone like GWB. I’ve got to admit it is difficult for me to buy into the Obama hope and nostalgia for times when the two parties could compromise with the conservative media extenuating any difference that may occur.

  17. Stitch  •  Mar 11, 2010 @5:34 pm

    ‘It’s just not fair! Joshua had to march around Jericho for seven days blowing a rams horn before the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, and yet St. Ronnie only had to utter four words to bring down the Berlin wall…What gives?”

    I’ve often wondered about that. What if sometime in early 2001, George W had gone to Nairobi, scene of an earlier Al Quaeda attack, and said, “Mr. Bin Laden, stop the terrorism!”

  18. joanr16  •  Mar 12, 2010 @10:05 am

    What if sometime in early 2001, George W had gone to Nairobi, scene of an earlier Al Quaeda attack, and said, “Mr. Bin Laden, stop the terrorism!”

    When in fact what he did say at the time was, “Who’s Bin Laden? How can we kill Saddam? Where’s my brush cutter? Hey, Barney, howya doin? Stop humpin’ my leg!”

    By now it’s well documented that Bush didn’t pay any attention to the AQ threat until after it was too late… and even then, Tony Blair had to grab him by the shoulders, turn him from the direction of Iraq and scream, “Al Qaeda is in AFGHANISTAN, Mister President!”

    Osama, Saddam: two different guys. Iraq, Afghanistan: two different countries. Very, very different. Time to wake up now, Stitch.

  19. Stitch  •  Mar 12, 2010 @11:47 am

    That was sarcasm.

  20. felicity  •  Mar 12, 2010 @1:29 pm

    Bob K – they’ve been at each other’s throats since (roughly) 600 AD. But we must understand that since god is on America’s side – in fact America is literally god’s country – we can make it all better (through the barrel of a gun.)

  21. joanr16  •  Mar 12, 2010 @2:17 pm

    Sorry, Stitch… really hard to tell, what with Iraq not having anything to do with Al Qaeda before we invaded. Trolls still love to make that argument.



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