A Strange End to the Second Longest War
Apr 10, 2012
By Siegfried Sutterlin
By Siegfried Sutterlin
A strange ending of a war has occurred, though few seem to notice it. The Iraqi War lasted for over eight years, cost trillions, destroyed a nation and killed mostly innocent civilians in ways that continue.
In spite of this or because of this, the U.S. withdrew in ignominy, very quietly, without any fanfare, so as not to draw attention to an inglorious exit. Left behind is a vast quantity of expensive war material as was the case in Vietnam. The end and the exodus had to be quiet and as unnoticed as possible, since it was not a victory but sort of a defeat, certainly in terms of the original, insanely promoted objectives.
At its beginning, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz testified before Congress that the war would cost the U.S. nothing and could be paid for by Iraq's oil -- and he wasn't laughed out of the chamber! George W. Bush enlisted the myth of having rebuilt Japan and Germany after World War II and promised "we will rebuild Iraq," to give additional impetus to start the war.
But the war ended in the usual mess the way it was after Vietnam and after Korea. The U.S. will not rebuild Iraq any more than it rebuilt Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Germany. Truth be told, how could the U.S. rebuild foreign nations if it was not even able to do an acceptable job rebuilding after Katrina and, above all, keep its own domestic infrastructure and slum houses from deteriorating ever more while the eight-year-long war was unfolding!
Nor will the U.S. be able to rebuild domestically the additional rot of the infrastructure and slum houses left in the wake of the war's cost! This strange disconnect between the myth of rebuilding Iraq and expanding slumerica remained unknown throughout the long war.
No victory parades, not even any major national homecoming. Just withdrawal as quietly as can be done, in the hope few reporters and few TV cameras would notice it. No hoopla since it was all a giant fraud, a giant crime, a massive failure, and a total waste of money having horrible self-immolative economic and diplomatic and social consequences for decades to come.
It was inflicted on the many by the few who had ulterior motives and had sufficient influence over the media to sway the masses.
Nothing positive was gained, in spite of puerile rationalizations of having gotten rid of a dictator. The people of Iraq, should they have free elections or not, will in either case be anti-American in sentiments for a long time, unlike the Vietnamese.
The history books will record the strangest ending of the second-longest war the U.S. fought that achieved only negative results and that was totally unnecessary. Below-radar events will also be pointed out. Long ago, Senator Fulbright stated in congressional hearings about the Vietnam War that the GIs turned Saigon into the "world's biggest whorehouse." (Connect this with what the Doughboys did in France in World War I as summarized for the first time recently in an article in the American Historical Review.)
Since Iraq is a highly puritan society with heavy restrictions on sex, the GIs couldn't carry on sexually there as they did in Vietnam, Korea and Okinawa, etc. (see Chalmer Johnson's account re Okinawa) and thus the brunt of their sexual misbehavior seemed directed at and borne by female GIs. That pattern, kept quiet in the media, already showed up in the first Gulf War of 1991. It greatly worried the Pentagon.
All in all, the mission in Iraq couldn't be less "accomplished" nor more messed up. Ditto for Afghanistan where a similar end and exodus are in the offing.