Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Is it Over?

And so the US is seemingly pulling its last combat troops out of Iraq after nearly nine years of invasion and occupation. It's been so long many were born into this debacle and have no idea how it all happened.

After the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991 -- in which Iraq's military was badly defeated in response to its invasion of Kuwait -- no fly zones (NFZ map above courtesy of wikimedia) were created by the US, UK and France to keep the battered Saddam Hussein regime's remaining armed forces in check. One aspect of the NFZ: Kurds were to be more protected in the north and Shiites in the south from continued Hussein regime revenge attacks. Hussein's Iraq had earlier fought a brutal eight-year war with Iran and was still its primary enemy, so its eastern flank had to be covered, too. 

Into this mix -- which had the effect of keeping Hussein's government penned in while remaining a counterbalance to Iran -- came the events of 9/11/2001. The George W. Bush administration decided to invade Iraq, even though there was no direct link between Iraq and 9/11; the attacks had been devised and managed from Afghanistan, where bin Laden was based under the auspices of the Taliban. 

France, Turkey and several Arab states refused to participate in the invasion of Iraq (France did and does participate in Afghanistan operations). The US-led invasion of Iraq by a "coalition of the willing" removed Saddam Hussein from power, but emboldened (and made nervous) the Iranian government, which is still even now moving toward a nuclear weapons capability and engaged in a shadow war with its opponents.

Was the 2003 invasion of Iraq a wise move? Could the US afford such an adventure? Was it worth the cost in blood and treasure? Five and half years after the start of the invasion, the US economy took a nosedive, as did the economies of many of its allies. Today, the Obama Administration welcomed home some of the last US troops to be pulled out of Iraq.

Looking back, Turkey's position has risen. Some may not now remember or know that Turkey refused to allow US ground forces to invade northern Iraq through its territory. Now the Turkish government is in a stronger position to influence events in the entire region, including Syria, Israel-Palestine, Egypt and Iraq. The Turks and Kurdish elements continue to fight along the borderlands, as well. The Iraq War -- wiser to avoid than to plunge into.

I was opposed to an invasion of Iraq in 2002 and 2003, protested in the streets along with many many others to no avail and continue to think it was a terrible decision.

Today's Rune: Strength.


Johnny Yen said...

I think it's safe to say you were correct in opposing the war.

If you ever have a chance, read Dilip Hiro's book "The Longest War," about the Iran/Iraq war, which was, most people don't realize, the 20th century's longest war. It's ironic that the US was tied down there a year longer than that.

t said...

Turkey rising: I'm right now learning at the feet of Orhan Pamuk, well, reading his interview here and stuff.

the walking man said...

Cheney had decided Iraq was going down as soon as the SCOTUS thre him the presidency. He'd been planning it for years and if Obama had any, even the smallest ball behind his zipper he would have sent the entire previous upper administration to GITMO as enemy combatants. If they weren't terrorists then nobody is.