Since the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) jihadists invaded Iraq, the media outlets who failed to ask the tough questions in 2002 and 2003 have paraded Bush administration neocons and their apologists from one “news” program to another. In recent days, we’ve heard the warmongering duo of Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. John McCain, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Iraq Administrator Paul Bremer, chicken hawk Bill Kristol, former Secretary of State Condosleezza Rice, and GOP presidential wannabe Mitt Romney all tell us that President Obama has frittered away all of our hard fought gains in Iraq…that Iraq will soon become a testing ground for more 9/11s.
The obvious question is why on Earth would we ever want to listen to these nitwits again?
If you were paying attention in 2003, you may remember that Graham and McCain told us that there was no history of sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites (Wrong). You may remember that Blair was little more than an obedient lapdog hoping to capitalize by pandering to the Bush administration. And you may remember that Rumsfeld said that we would be welcomed as liberators (Wrong) and the war would be over within a matter of days (Wrong again). Rumsfeld ignored the warnings of Gen. Eric Shinseki that we would need many times the number of troops to secure Iraq and pushed his “shock and awe” race to Baghdad without stopping to secure ammunition depots. (That ammunition was then used to create the lethal IEDs that haunted us for the remainder of our occupation.) Wolfowitz was the one who told us that a war in Iraq would pay for itself in oil. (Wrong!) Bush, Richard “The Dick” Cheney, Condosleezza, and Colin Powell assured us that Saddam was sitting on thousands of WMD. (Completely, provably wrong!) Bush announced “Mission Accomplished” more than four years before our combat role ended. Meanwhile, Kristol and his cronies cheered the war from the safety of their offices.
All of these people showed a knack for making impossibly stupid decisions that cost tens of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. Yet no one’s decisions led to more disaster than Bremer’s.
Bremer was the genius who, upon the conquest of Iraq, ordered the cleansing of all Baathists from their government positions. In other words, he fired all of the Iraqi military, administrators, government workers…even teachers…leaving a catastrophic void of expertise and creating an angry, displaced population set on payback. That decision alone led to the sustained chaos in Iraq that exists today. Moreover, Bremer’s stupidity gave the majority Shiites an opportunity to oppress the Sunnis and pushed the Iraqi government toward increased cooperation with Iran.
Now that ISIS is rolling through Iraqi cities, our incompetent media are once again turning to these people for more jewels of wisdom. Of course, the neocons have been quick to claim that the failures of Iraq were not their fault. The fault, they claim, lies at the feet of President Obama. “If only Obama hadn’t withdrawn our troops from Iraq, everything in the Middle East would be peachy keen,” they say. Yet it was Bush who destroyed Iraq. It was Bush who wasted hundreds of billions of dollars by awarding no-bid contracts to Cheney’s Halliburton and others to re-build Iraqi cities that are once again being destroyed. And it was Bush who agreed in 2008 to withdraw all of our troops. Not Obama.
McCain and Graham were livid that Obama refused to support the Syrian rebels. Yet, from the beginning, those Syrian rebels have included ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot formed as a response to our invasion of Iraq. ISIS is now financed by the Saudis and armed with American weapons that were provided by Congress and the CIA or captured from fleeing Iraqi troops – weapons that may eventually be aimed at us.
In other words, we are witnessing a sh*t storm that is the sole responsibility of the Bush administration. And there are no easy solutions to this mess. Our taxpayers have no appetite for placing troops on the ground or replaying the shock and awe bombing campaign. The ill-advised Iraq War has destabilized the entire Middle East and made it possible for the Islamic world to continue an ancient civil war. About all we can hope to do is to somehow minimize its effects on ourselves and others.
Listening to the neocons can only make matters worse.