Mess-o-Potamia

The traditional gifts for sixth anniversaries are candy or iron.

The incursion into Iraq will soon mark its sixth anniversary.

The modern gift for sixth anniversary is wood. Gonzo writer P.J. O’Rourke wrote some 20 years ago (back when Saddam Hussein was Our Man) about the Iran-Iraq war, which coincidentally had entered its “Wooden Anniversary” year. He delicately suggested “Here’s a gift suggestion: a big stick to beat some @#$damned sense into their heads.” (Rolling Stone 1985 year-end review — how do I remember this stuff?)

What was that saying – something about those who don’t learn from history?

The author of Fiasco, Thomas Ricks, has a new book about more recent developments in Iraq, and for the anti-war crowd, the news ain’t good.

In The Gamble, Ricks writes about how Gen. David Petraeus (whom some of the more shrill anti-Bushies called “Betray-Us” in a really embarrassing outburst of misplaced anger) saw that something had to change about how the war in Iraq was being conducted because, to put it kindly, things could have gone better.

In my humble opinion, some of the architects of the war plan in Iraq (If, by architects, you mean ham-fisted dolts equipped with crayons and blunt-ended scissors) belong in prison, but what do I know? Even if you don’t care about the 100,000 innocent Iraqis, give or take 100,000, who perished as “collateral damage” in the initial invasion and ensuing insurgency and resulting efforts to suppress the insurgencies, the death toll of Americans in Iraq has now exceeded the death of 9/11, the supposed reason for us being there (again, on false pretenses) in the first place.

That is something to be angry about.

At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all blowhard (no, I have NEVER been accused of that!), I was very much against going to war in Iraq because 1) the pretense of Saddam being a real threat was a sham, 2) there were no viable — that being the key word, viable — weapons of mass destruction 3) the real threat was over in Afghanistan and the job was only half-done and we now see what that got us and 4) I just plain did not trust the Bush crowd. I said then that the war would unleash unintended consequences; I passed around a “Vietnam II pre-flight checklist” that enumerated with eerie accuracy how screwed-up things would get; I said that once we toppled Saddam, all sorts of insanity would pop loose; and I believed that we’d be stuck for a long, long time.

Dang, I hate when I’m right all the time.

But it’s not all about me.

See the book news HERE.

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