The War in Iraq Cost $4 Trillion and Enormous Loss of Life: 8 Warmongers Who Would Take Us Back
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The Iraq War hawks are back. And they have two knee-jerk ways of seeing the convulsions in Iraq where Sunni militants have seized cities from Syria to Baghdad’s doorstep, killing government workers and civilians, and grabbing weapons from a vanishing Iraqi Army.
First, it is always President Obama’s fault; and second, the U.S. must return to war, despite what has been one of the biggest debacles in American military history. Hawks are only happy when we are at war, fueling the military-industrial complex as U.S. soldiers die and platoons of maimed veterans return home to underfunded medical care.
The Iraq hawks are furious that the war effort, with almost 4,500 troop deaths, 320,000 veterans with brain injuries, costs estimated to top $4 trillion, and 650,000 or more Iraqi civilian deaths has come to this.
The war hawks despised Obama’ sensible remarks Friday, “This is not solely or even primarily a military challenge.” Worse yet, the president said that the answer was political—not more war. “The United States is not simply going to involve itself in a military action in the absence of a political plan by the Iraqis that gives us some assurance that they’re prepared to work together.”
Below are eight of today’s back-to-Iraq war hawks whose views should be firmly rejected. Many were war cheerleaders in the runup to the 2003 U.S. invasion, celebrating the fantasy of greater American glory by choosing to go to war. Indeed, as Rush Limbaugh said on nationally syndicated radio Friday, Obama has always planned on “losing in Iraq. It would be a repudiation of [George W.] Bush.”
Obama has his hawkish side; namely drone warfare. Indeed, on Saturday there were reports that a U.S. aircraft carrier was nearing Iraq. But that is not the same as George W. Bush’s cabal, which made “935 false statements” to Congress, the United Nations, and public to push for war between the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and 2003's invasion, as documented by the Center for Public Integrity.
Yet the same warmongering editorial pages and many of the same writers who gladly carried the water for Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan are back at it.
As the Washington Post’s liberal blogger Paul Waldman aptly wrote Friday, the path forward is steeped in irony, the biggest of which may be that the U.S. is now finding itself allied with Iran to save the “corrupt and thuggish [Iraqi] government,” while the army that we bankrolled and trained fell apart. “There are few people who understand Iraq less than the Republican politicians and pundits who are being sought out for their comments on the current situation.”
We’ll turn to some of his right-wing WaPo colleagues in a minute, but our list of eight hawks to ignore starts with the man who still seems rattled by the fact he was not elected president in 2008.
1. Senator John McCain. Just because you had the terrible fate to be a Vietnam War prisoner-of-war and a defeated candidate doesn’t make you Washington’s wise man about all things war-related. This week, McCain has ended his anti-Obama remarks in the Senate by throwing down his text and stamping away. As Waldman reminded us, in 2003 McCain said invading U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators. He’s also said that centuries-old disputes between Sunnis and Shiites are not a factor in the region’s continuing unrest. Oh really? McCain also believed that the longest war in U.S. history would be brief.
2. Senator Lindsey Graham. The other half of the Senate’s dynamic pro-war duo is the senator from South Carolina, who, after a classified Senate briefing told reporters that U.S. airstrikes were needed. “If American airpower is not interjected into the equation, I don't see how you stop these people,” he said. “We’ve got another Benghazi in the making here,” he added, referring to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya that killed four people including the U.S. Ambassador.