It is an anniversary few wish to make note of. Ten years ago during the first George W. Bush administration, the United States invaded Iraq. What would result was a decade-long occupation that claimed the lives of 165,000 Iraqis, the lives of nearly 5,000 American service men and women, and would grievously injure tens of thousands in both body and mind.
It was a war waged under pretenses so false that even when the claims of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction turned out to be completely wrong, commentators justified the war by saying that we would stop the torture, summary executions, and collective punishment under the Saddam regime. Except ... it all kept happening under the occupation ... and wait, it still continues today in Iraq after American troops left.
A new poll from Gallup released on the date of the anniversary has 53% of the United States calling the Iraq War a mistake. 42% of Americans says that it was not a mistake to send troops to fight in Iraq. Who exactly are these people think the war was not a mistake?
Further analysis of the polls numbers shows that the vast majority of those who think the war was not a mistake are Republicans. 66% of Republican respondents do not believe the war was a mistake, compared to 22% of Democratic respondents. Some of the chief architects of the war especially show no signs of regret or reflection.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a recent documentary about his time in government that when it comes to Iraq, "I did what I did. It’s all on the public record and I feel very good about it. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it in a minute."
Paul Wolfowitz wrote an op-ed stating, "As a strictly military matter, if the war in Iraq had actually ended when we got to Baghdad, it would have been counted an historic victory."
Noted conservative pundit Bill Kristol, a huge supporter of the war to this day, wrote something similar: "Are the American people war weary? Yes, to some degree. Could there be a worse prescription for American foreign policy than giving in to popular war weariness? No."
Kristol was responding to Rand Paul’s speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Paul had rallied against what Kristol called "the foreign policy of the Republican party for the last 70 years." The opposition of the Republican establishment to Paul’s relatively isolationist stance is yet another sign of a possible civil war within the party over the direction to move.
Regret may be well, but is of little consequence to those whose country was destroyed over the past ten years. For on this ten-year anniversary, while Americans were either engaged in soul-searching over their mistakes or standing confident in their own past choices, Iraqis had to deal with fallout from the war.
While Obama makes a speech honoring the veterans who served and those who died in Iraq and Dick Cheney defends the invasion, in Iraq 60 were killed in a car bomb attack. I bet they are wondering why we did not think it was a mistake when we decided to invade their country.