4 years later: Let's leave the Iraqis alone, shall we?
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s time for the Iraqis to cease their bloody sectarian rivalries, disband their ruthless militias and death squads and take responsibility for their countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fate. Why should American boys continue dying to save Iraqis from their own perverse selves?
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a view expressed by all sides in the U.S. four years after the 2003 invasion. The problem is it shows no understanding of IraqÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nightmarish past and calamitous psychological present.
Take, for instance, the report of a group of Harvard medical researchers who found that the children of Iraq were Ã¢â‚¬Å“the most traumatized children of war ever described.Ã¢â‚¬Â The experts concluded that Ã¢â‚¬Å“a majority of IraqÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s children would suffer from severe psychological problems throughout their lives.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Additional citations for this material are in my book, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Web of Deceit: The history of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush.Ã¢â‚¬Â)
That appalling judgment was rendered not recently but sixteen years ago, in May 1991. Consider what Iraqis had already endured at that point: From September, 1980 to August, 1988 more than a million Iraqis and Iranians died in what was the longest war of the twentieth century. As that conflict raged, Saddam also launched his genocidal attacks against the Kurds Ã¢â‚¬â€which Presidents Reagan and Bush SeniorÃ¢â‚¬â€œthen SaddamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s de facto allies against IranÃ¢â‚¬â€œdid their best to ignore.