"After eight and half years, the United States is leaving behind a nation and a society that has been utterly devastated by the misguided and illegal war. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are dead, and an entire generation of children is scarred and traumatized. Iraq’s infrastructure and its industry were destroyed. And in place of Saddam Hussein is Maliki, a religious Shiite fundamentalist with close ties to Iran who is fast building an authoritarian regime.
But that’s not good enough for neoconservatives and many Republicans, who want to expand and continue the war and the American presence.
In the Christian Science Monitor, describing the experiences of the Khafaji family, Scott Peterson reminds us of the almost unimaginable losses suffered by Iraqis, many of whom blame the United States for their trauma even if some of the deaths were caused by Iraqis, including the resistance:
Iraq’s fragile social fabric has been shredded by the kinds of bombings, killings, torture, and upheavals that afflicted so many like the Khafaji family—whether at the hands of Sunni extremists like Al Qaeda, Shiite militias, or US and Iraqi forces. While the US lost more than 4,500 soldiers—and spent nearly $1 trillion—the human toll on the Iraqi side is virtually unquantifiable and unimaginable, with estimates of the number of people who perished in the years of insurgency and sectarian civil war reaching into the hundreds of thousands.
It boggles the mind to consider that the evil forces behind the invasion of the Middle East aren't being put on trial for their crimes.
The Iraq War Disaster by Raed Jarrar
"... The U.S.-Iraqi war that started in 1990 has destroyed Iraq’s infrastructure and damaged the Iraqi social fabric. Iraq is far from having a functional democratic government. It is the fourth most corrupt country in the world according to Transparency International, and Baghdad is the worst city in the world according to Mercer’s 2011 Quality of Living rankings. One million Iraqis have been killed in the last eight years alone, and another 5 million displaced. Millions of others have been injured and traumatized for life. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have been killed and wounded, and hundreds of thousands are back home with mental injuries. Iraq and the U.S. lost hundreds of billions of dollars because of the conflict.
But ending the occupation does not end the U.S. moral and legal obligations to compensate Iraq and Iraqis for the crimes and mistakes committed in the last two decades. In addition, holding U.S. officials who caused this mess legally accountable will help achieve U.S.-Iraqi reconciliation, and it will send a strong message to future U.S. politicians that they will be held accountable."
And Was the Mission Accomplished? by Patrick J. Buchanan
"Yet the disaster that may still befall us in Iraq has not in the least inhibited the war hawks who, even now, are advancing identical arguments for a new war, on Iran, a country three times the size of Iraq."
I'm surprised that Pat Buchanan - and other insightful writers - have yet to explore another angle: that the multi-billion dollar embassy, the last remnant of the much hated empire that wrought so much agony, death and destruction to the people of Iraq, will come under siege - something like a modern day Alamo. When you really think about it, how else can it turn out?
What is the right thing to do, before things get much worse in the Middle East?
Start with putting the people behind the invasion on trial for war crimes. At the same time commit to a massive effort on the part of the American people to help the people of Iraq recover from the disaster wrought upon them by that gang and their minions.
America is in a state of decline largely because we've lost our moral compass. It's not too late and we still have a choice: we can restore that sense of morality - or we can fall into the abyss. How will we know when the free-fall starts? It will be around the time they launch one more war in the Middle East, regardless of which country.
Revision: added the link below
Left Behind: Iraqis Who Helped US Occupation Forces Fear Revenge Attacks