The 7 Year Itch
I had nothing to say yesterday. Bad liberal blogger, bad. No Cheetos!
And what was there to say on the 7th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq? In 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 I'd faithfully written posts on every March 19th trying to remind even a tiny fraction of the American people of something that ought to be actionable common knowledge: That we were lied into a war that would wind up costing us at least $740 billion dollars (and, according to Nobel Prize economic laureate Joseph Stiglitz, will eventually cost us $3 trillion).
But every year I wound up essentially saying the same thing over and over for the simple reason that nothing had changed. There was no accountability save for a detainee abuse trial and a sputtering contractor investigation here and there. Those responsible for lying us into Iraq then shrugging their shoulders five years later and claiming, "Who knew?" and blaming the CIA for their deceptions are no closer to going to the Hague than they were when Bush's approval rating was, inexplicably, at over 90% right after 9/11.
After seven years of bloated Pentagon budgets and bloated Iraq "reconstruction" budgets, the hawks have finally come home to roost. We're reeling from sticker shock and don't even know it even while our government is telling us that the $940 billion health care bill can't insure more than 32 million of our 48,000,000 uninsured fellow citizens.
So, really, what else could I have said yesterday?
Television is supposed to be the only media in which reruns are acceptable. We're not supposed to get reruns in our magazines and newspapers and even television journalism is not allowed to loop the news from previous years.
Yet that's precisely what we're getting fed day after day by media outlets owned by some of the largest defense contractors in the world. And while we were concentrating on comforting blue and purple fingers in the winter of 2005, we should have, instead, been examining with Lady Macbeth's tortured conscience our own bloody red fingers for being so complicit in the greatest war crime of the century if not of all time.
And what will we tell our children and grandchildren decades from now as they ask us from our knees, "What did you do to protest the war in Iraq?"
"Well, nothing. We didn't have a draft and, as a result, there wasn't enough at stake."
Indeed, even the most potent and passionate ideology will sputter out if not supplemented by having something personal at stake. And this generation, this epoch in American history will be indicted by posterity thusly:
That we were the complacent Wall-E generation that allowed ourselves to be lied into a guerilla war we were guaranteed to never win, the war generation without a viable antiwar movement in which Tea Partyers, anti abortionists, anti gay rights groups and anti immigration reformists had made more serious inroads with their own intellectually and factually barren platforms than anti war activists who had unimpeachable reasons to storm and occupy Washington in blood-curdling outrage.
It is all of a piece. Health care reform is gobbling up all the ink and air waves at a time in which this unreachable seven year itch known as Iraq has come and gone without much notice (the front page of yesterday's Boston Globe doesn't even reference Iraq). And, as William Rivers Pitt said on the 17th,
The best estimates, seven years later, put the cost of this war into the hundreds of billions of dollars, a sum that nobody in the media will tell you might have come in handy during this recession.
Let me restate this unimpeachably true and absolute position: We have spent well over $700 billion on an illegal war that has shredded our economy, crippled health care reform, has devastated tens of thousands of American families and devastated through death, maimings, displacement, disease, starvation and economic terrorism millions more Iraqi families.
All so a handful of contractors and oil cartels could get rich after we'd with manic, single-minded dispatch airlifted 363 tons of taxpayer money into a war zone so bundles and bricks of cash could get mailed back to the states or stowed away in offshore accounts or to get stuffed and forgotten in lockers and done with complete impunity. The sheer waste, the sheer disrespect shown toward the American and Iraqi people, toward our troops, toward those few anti war critics remaining should alone make a conscientious human being double over and physically retch in disgust.
So, really, what was there for me to say yesterday? To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, can any of us say that Iraq or the United States, for that matter, is actually better off in any way, shape or form than we were eight years ago?