As the 10th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq was noted in the national press last week perhaps no one wrote about it more bluntly than Peter Van Buren, a former foreign service officer and author of the book: We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People.
Van Buren's piece for Mother Jones, Happy 10th Anniversary, Iraq War, is unequivocal in calling the invasion of Iraq the worst foreign policy decision in American history. Though he spends much time in the essay describing the absolute absurdity of the wildly expensive reconstruction efforts financed by US taxpayers,( an example being a huge chicken processing factory in the desert which was used by the military brass for photo-ops and propaganda purposes, but which never actually processed any chickens), Van Buren notes the staggering loss of life and suffering the war produced: almost 5,000 American servicemen and women killed; over 30,000 wounded, and at the very least 115,000 Iraqi civilians . It's worth noting that reputable polling/survey firms have put the Iraqi death toll much, much higher, and the overall mayhem the war unleashed borders on the unimaginable.
Then there's the dollar cost, a figure which seems to have been entirely ignored by the shrill and uber-histrionic Tea Party led deficit squawkers. Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has estimated that the true cost of the war in Iraq is over three trillion dollars, which is almost 20% of the overall US national debt.
And while one might think that that those who led us into the most disastrous foreign policy blunder in our history would take time to pause and thoughtfully contemplate the horror of their murderous misadventures, one would be wrong to assume so. What's Dick Cheney's view? He'd do it all over again in a minute.
And Dubya? He's down in Florida, learning how to paint dogs. No shit.
Gone to the dogs, indeed.