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How’d the Iraq War work out for you?

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By:John Seiler | June 18, 2014

Back in 2006 my neighbor’s son was killed in Iraq by an IED – Improvised Explosive Device. I attended the funeral at the family’s Protestant church in Costa Mesa. He and his identical twin brother had joined the military shortly after 9/11 to defend America. The surviving brother also was fighting in Iraq. The military wouldn’t let him come home for the funeral. A eulogy was given by the local congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who talked about sacrificing for freedom; a couple years later he came out against the war. The family put one of those remembrance decals on the back window of their Ford. Shortly after they moved away.

I always think of that young man whenever some big news comes out about Iraq, such as the recent reports on the ISIS al Qaeda affiliate taking over large areas of Iraq the U.S. military had conquered a decade ago. It was all for nothing, people are saying. Congress now has some Iraq War veterans. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania said, “Going out across the desert I remember the feelings that you have, wondering if you're going to make it out alive. Right now I wonder what that was all about. What was the point of all of that?"

Even Americans who didn’t know anyone who died have suffered. The latest Harvard estimate is that when everything is added up – including the cost for veterans’ care, and interest on the money borrowed from China to pay it all – the amounts are about $5 trillion was for the Iraq war, $1 trillion for the equally pointless Afghanistan War. Total: $6 trillion.

That $6,000,000,000,000.00 works out to about $20,000 for every American. For a family of five, it’s $100,000. Could your family put better use to that $100,000 than the U.S. government did?

Those who started and conducted the war have received no punishment, only a little ridicule. Bush, Cheney, Condi, Rummy, Colin, Wolfie and the other Masters of War, if there were justice, would be on trial for the deaths of more than 4,000 American troops, the maiming and paralyzing of tens of thousands more, and the deaths of nearly 500,000 Iraqis – and counting.

And if there were justice, the military-industrial complex – You that build all the guns / You that build the death planes / You that build all the bombs / You that hide behind walls / You that hide behind desks – would go on trial as well, and spend the rest of their lives not in country clubs, but as paupers.

And if there were justice, no one any longer would read the warmongers, left and right, who pushed the war: National Review, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Weekly Standard, etc.

And if there were justice, every representative and senator who backed the war would have been thrown from office, unable to hold any position of employment besides greeter at Walmart.

But there isn’t any justice in this world. That comes in the next.



harry colin
east palestine, oh
6/18/2014 09:15 PM

  An excellent piece. It is a sad commentary on our society and nation that we have not held those responsible for our wasteful and morally-bankrupt foreign policy. Of course, the Iraq War was popular enough at the outset, it was only when the cakewalk turned into quagmire did it turn unpopular. I fear that these same forces that clamored for war are emerging again from the ashes; they are eager to re-engagemilitarily not only in the Middle East but in Ukraine and, in Obama's case, even Africa. (So far San Marino seems safe, but who can tell?) We are deeply concerned with every border on the globe save our very own.

6/18/2014 09:16 PM

  John, strong piece! I see that we're trying to send an 88 year old Nazi concentration guard back to Germany for trial. Meanwhile, Bush, Rummy, Cheney, and Co, as well as Obama and co, are still running around on the loose. Cheney even has the monumental effrontery to crawl out from under his rock to complain about the mess Obama is making! Sam Francis used to say that Cheney was probably the most cynical and evil man in Washington--which is saying a great deal--and so deeply enmeshed is he in evil that he regards his acts of lies and destruction with perfect equanimity, basking in his self-approval. He will go to his grave quoting the Fuhrer's complaint that the American people were unworthy of him.

John Seiler
Huntington Beach
6/19/2014 01:19 AM

  Tom, Thank you. To portray the evils of Dick Cheney on film would take the talents of Lon Chaney Sr.

Bryan Fox
6/19/2014 02:10 PM

  Harry--Yes the war mongering chicken hawks Limbaugh, Hannity and others are reemerging bellowing for a return to Iraq. Last year we were given a free month of HBO for what it was worth, not much. I watched a documentary "The World According to Dick Cheney". The man is truly delusional in his beliefs of his own goodness and service to American hegemony.

6/19/2014 02:31 PM

  "$5 trillion was for the Iraq war" Mr. Sieler, Remember when oil would pay for it? In the December 13, 2002, briefing, deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz said that the "'the cost of the occupation, the cost for the military administration and providing for a provisional [civilian] administration, all of that would come out of Iraqi oil.'" In April 2003, on the day that Baghdad fell, Cheney said that "Iraq's oil production could hit 3 million barrels a day by the end of the year, even though the task force had determined that Iraq was generating less than 2.4 million barrels a day before the war."


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