This week marked the end of the Iraq war and I am in agreement with Bob’s post earlier this week that the president should not be touting this war as a foreign policy success.
During the time prior to March 20, 2003 when we initially invaded Iraq we were told that this would be a quick war, that we would be greeted as liberators, that the war would be paid for in full by Iraq’s oil revenues, that Iraq had connections to al-Qaeda and that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
What ended up happening was the war lasted almost ten years, we were considered occupiers by many in the Arab world, we ended up paying $2.7 trillion in conflict spending ($4.4 trillion if you add in obligations to wounded veterans and interest payments on the money we had to borrow to fund the war), there were no connections between Iraq and al-Qaeda and Saddam’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons were discontinued in 1991.
It’s not surprising that John McCain came out against the president’s decision to withdraw having said in the past that it was fine with him if we were in Iraq for one hundred years since we have been in Japan for sixty years and in South Korea for fifty years. It’s this kind of thinking that I voted against in 2008.
Below is a brief exchange between Senator McCain and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta about a month ago regarding the Iraqi withdrawal that shows a stark contrast between the current administration’s foreign policy and McCain’s had he become president.
I particularly liked Panetta’s comment where he says “we need to stop telling independent nations what they need to do”. The Iraq War turned out to be a pig and putting lipstick on it just isn’t pretty.