This is my personal summing up why the Iraq "adventure" is a disaster -- based on my reading and selective viewing of television.
The Neo Cons wanted to invade Iraq as early as the start of the first Clinton administration. Disappointed in the "lack of nerve" of George I in not driving to Baghdad and securing the nation then, they assiduously worked behind the scenes to push Clinton into an invasion.
When George II ascended the dais, they knew that with Cheney as VP and senior advisor to W ---they would succeed.
These men, the neo cons, spelled out their intention in a document describing that the 21st Century as a period of American world domination, an opportunity to shape the globe as we see fit.
In an article published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, April 5, 2003, columnist, Bruce Murphy states:
"Led by Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, the neo-conservative have offered a sweeping new vision for U.S. foreign policy: to restructure the Middle East and supplant dictators around the world, using pre-emptive attacks when necessary against any countries seen as potential threats. Traditional conservatives, such as Heritage Foundation fellow John C. Hulsman, suggest that this will lead to "endless war," while Jessica Mathews of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has charged that "announcing a global crusade on behalf of democracy is arrogant."
George II with his innate cockiness and swagger felt he was certainly up to the task. Indeed, he would show his father, how a resolute, confident, single minded President would conduct foreign policy--and an invasion.
They needed a pre-text for invading Iraq. The actual reasons -- unstated -- were to begin the toppling of all regimes in Middle East that were either troublesome or somewhat uncooperative. Why focus on the Middle East? OIL.
It must not be in the hands of those who might withhold it, use it as a lever against us, or, just charge too much for it. Military power depends on oil, as does the American economy. No nation has the right to interfere with our access to it.
Crassly, they seized the opportunity for the nation to approve of an invasion ---- by making use of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center about two years after Bush took office.
I cannot help but believe some of these men were "delighted" with this attack. It was the perfect opportunity to put their long held plan into action.
Now this cabal both inside and outside the White House sought a rationale for war:
WMD: We know now that Saddam had none. He had actually destroyed what he had after the first Gulf War. Hans Blix and the UN inspectors were sure of that. However, the Bush administration refused to accept their findings. Their attitude: "If you don't find what we know is there---then you are not rigorous and thorough enough." Scott Ritter head of the UNSCOM Investigation Concealment team of the UN were directed to find any WMD. He left his job in 1998 convinced that there was almost no chance of credible WRD's in Iraq. That was three years earlier
The Bush administration put tremendous pressure are the CIA to produce evidence to corroborate the Bush position. Richard Clarke, a veteran counter terrorism expert with the White House was told repeatedly to "find the evidence". Once, Bush, himself, entered Clarke's office, shook his finger at Clarke and basically said, "Get this done".
Bush did not bring the matter of our invasion plans to the UN. "Who were they to tell us what to do or not to do." However, Colin Powell prevailed, and the Bush team reluctantly tried to push their plans for a pre-emptive strike ahead,expecting the UN to "bless" the operation.
However, the UN was not convinced. They wanted the inspectors, who had found nothing, to have another two or three months.
This was unacceptable: our troops were ready. We had the fire power. Summer was coming with heat and sand storms.
So we acted bringing "shock and awe" not just to Saddam and his henchmen but to all the Iraqis --- 99.5% at least, who were innocent.
Lancet --- British version of our Journal of the American Medical Association estimated in its publication that it is very possible 100,000 Iraqis have died so far---very few of them soldiers.
Many of these innocents killed not by insurgents --- but by our troops using the power of modern destructive war technology.
Bush Inc. also claimed that Bid Laden and Saddam were friendly and partners in crime. Therefore Saddam played a part in 9/11.
Not so. Ben Ladin despised this secular, blasphemous dictator -- Saddam
Bush claimed that Saddam was trying to buy yellow cake uranium from the African nation of Niger. Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Joe Wilson was sent to verify the Bush claim. He returned and reported that ---it was NOT true.
Then Rove, Cheney and Libby decided to teach Joe Wilson a lesson by revealing that his wife, Valerie Plame was a CIA agent. (Until then, she had been a covert agent.) This act of White House betrayal enraged agents through the Agency.
Now, Bush claims that Saddam was a bad man, a real evildoer and should have been removed.
The leaders of Zimbabwi and North Korea oppress their people. Is this to be a policy?
We have no business overthrowing regimes that we do not approve of. We have been behind the assassination of the leaders of Panama, Chile, and Ecuador in the past when these men were making it difficult for the US to extend its economic imperialism in their countries.
Without a UN mandate we invaded. So far that invasion has cost over 2000 U.S. soldiers and very probably 100,000 Iraqis.
We prided ourselves are our technical proficiency in destruction with minimum loss of life.
Minimum, that is, for our troops.
Many fewer innocent civilians would have not been killed if we more willing to fight on the ground and not rely on bombs, guided missile's etc. Yes, our casualties would have been higher but if we were seriously concerned about liberating the people of Iraq would we not also have been willing for more of the deaths to among our troops if this could have saved the large number of Iraq deaths. Let's say 10,000 US casualties and 40,000 Iraqis. Is that the right proportion? Of course, this depends on the value of human life. An American life =4. An Iraqi
=1. In other words how many Iraqis lives equal one American?
There is a danger of being able to wage highly destructive war with minimum casualties: It makes the temptations of empire building more attractive. Many U.S. casualties would not be accepted, and the American regime would be in trouble back home.
Rumsfeld used fewer troops than the generals -- in general-- felt necessary. Rumsfeld had a new way of waging war---less costly in dollars and in public opinion.
However, NO ONE had anything near a coherent plan for the postwar. They fantasized that the people of Iraq would be overwhelmed with gratitude. They would be unopposed to the privatization of their main riches === OIL. Foreign companies would own it now. But that would be OK. They had no idea and no interest in the culture, religion and history of the country. When their precious museums filled with reminders of this cradle of civilization -- were left unprotected and looters carried away thousands of treasures----what did Rumsfeld say: "Stuff Happens!"
Occupation of any Arab country by a Western and Christian power is not going to be without very serious problems---especially one that was done with such hubris and ignorance as this one. Not only the people of Iraq, but others in Arab nations felt humiliated by this invasion.
We have built several large military bases in Iraq. They are modern, air conditioned and fortified against every contingency. Our presence or, at least, influence will be assured.
Just today I heard this over Democracy Now:
Iraqi: "Americans Bombed Everything, Our Houses Are Destroyed"
Most communication to the Sunni towns of Husaybah and Qaim has been cut off. An Iraqi journalist in Husaybah told Al-Jazeera "The city is suffering a complete lack of all of life's basic necessities. There is no fuel and winter is upon us. There is no food and there are no services whatsoever, not even health services." The journalist said that ambulances have been unable to respond to emergencies because no movement is allowed in the city. "They destroyed Qaim, Americans bombed everything, our houses are destroyed, our children are victims and we want a solution," one resident told Reuters. "What do we have to do? We need a solution." Residents have been forced to flee the town on foot. The Associated Press reported that the U.S.-led forces warned over loudspeakers that anyone leaving the town in vehicles would be shot. The U.S. said Operation Steel Curtain was needed to stop foreign fighters from crossing the Syrian border.
When I was growing up, I was taught that the "end does not justify the means".