The American Conservative is a publication for US conservatives who are trying to hold on to what used to be an honorable political tradition and not the crazy set of jingoistic and reactionary views that the Republican party now represents. In a recent issue Daniel Larison roundly condemns the Iraq war that George W. Bush started against Iraq and all the conservatives who supported it at the time, not sparing those who now express some reservations
In doing so, he violates the central right-wing dogma and says that the US has lost the war in Iraq.
Bush loyalists will believe whatever they want to believe, but their self-serving spin has to be rejected for what it is. The Iraq war may not have been “the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history,” as Will claimed, but it ranks among the four or five worst blunders in the annals of the United States. It was an unnecessary war, it had nothing to do with securing the U.S. or its allies, and it has manifestly made the region less stable and secure than it was before the invasion. The U.S. paid an appalling price in thousands of lost lives, tens of thousands wounded, and trillions of dollars wasted on a fool’s errand to “disarm” a government that had been disarmed years earlier. American soldiers were sacrificed year after year in the name of creating a democratic government in Iraq only to usher in a sectarian, semi-authoritarian regime whose abusive misrule helped to create the current conflict. Along the way, millions of Iraqis were displaced internally or forced into exile, over a hundred thousand died, and most of the rest have been living in a failed state for more than ten years.
The U.S. lost that war by any reasonable measure in that it threw away thousands of American lives and more than a hundred thousand Iraqi lives for the sake of creating a wrecked, impoverished country ruled by sectarian thugs. The “surge” served the purpose of allowing American politicians to pretend that this hadn’t happened in order to extricate American forces from the debacle sooner rather than later.
Bush will never own up to his responsibility for this disaster, and apparently neither will many of his supporters. That is their failure. No one else has to share in it.
The total long-term cost of this vast crime in terms of lives lost, resources squandered, and an entire region of the world destroyed is immense. And no one responsible will be brought to account.