Ah, remember the good old days back in 2003 when every right wing blog in the country was proudly reciting that phrase? There was Dean Esmay, and Instapundit, and I recall that even James Lileks was flaunting it on the sidebar to his web page. We had invaded Iraq, and we were victorious, and the cute adorable Iraqis loved America and were asking for all the things we loved in their charming broken English.
It made me wanna puke. It was patronizing colonialism all over again, with every chickenhawk proudly patting themselves on the back for a ‘victory’ gained in bloodshed and destruction.
They aren’t saying it so much any more.
It’s ten years later. The invasion failed to bring democracy or whisky to Iraq, and no, it certainly wasn’t sexy. It was damned expensive: almost 4500 US dead and 32,000 wounded, and so many dead Iraqi civilians, on the order of hundreds of thousands, that every time the topic comes up the right-wingers still start squealing that all the numbers are wrong, no matter what they are.
Eventually, the U.S. spent $60 billion to rebuild Iraq and the special inspector general estimated in its report that at least $8 billion of it might have been wasted. The Pentagon estimates that the long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq cost $728 billion.
It makes me sick every time I consider it, so just go read Charles Pierce’s commentary on the war.
This is the one event on which the country’s chronic historical amnesia cannot be allowed to bring itself into play. The country was lied into a war by a raft of criminals, greedheads, and geopolitical fantasts. These latter were enabled by a cowardly political opposition and a largely supine elite press. Hans Blix was right. Paul Wolfowitz was wrong. Robert Fisk was right. David Frum was wrong. The McClatchy guys were right. The late Tim Russert was wrong. Eric Shinseki was right, and Anthony Zinni was right, and Joe Wilson was right, and George Packer, Michael O’Hanlon, and Richard Perle were all wrong. George H.W. Bush was right (in 1989) and his useless son was stupid and wrong. There is no absolution available to any of the people who helped the country down into this epic political and military disaster no matter how lachrymose their apologies or how slick their arguments.
George W. Bush should spend the rest of his days dogged by regiments of wounded veterans. Richard Cheney should be afflicted at all hours by the howls of widows and of mothers who have lost sons and daughters. Colin Powell — and his pal, MSNBC star Lawrence Wilkerson — should shut the hell up about how sorry they are and go off to a monastery somewhere to do penance for what they didn’t have the balls to try and stop. This catastrophe killed more actual people than it killed the careers of the people who planned it and cheered it on. We should all be ashamed. And we’re not.
None of the people who perpetrated this long national nightmare have ever suffered any consequences for it. They still idle languidly in wealth and respect, drawing encomiums and hefty speaking fees from the extremist think tanks that all also promoted the war. George Bush paints pictures of dogs that he cheerily signs with his presidential number. Meanwhile, Bradley Manning is tortured for their sins.
Every one of those goddamned pro-war media pundits ought to be rounded up and stuffed in Manning’s cell, while he is released. The establishment politicians — Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice — who lied us into this destructive debacle deserve worse, and it makes me question the wisdom of our Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, because every day they should be doused in buckets of blood and forced to walk a gauntlet of war widows throwing offal at them. Monsters, every one.
Democracy. Whisky. Sexy. That phrase should fill us with shame.