The Fall of Baghdad, Four Years On
Iraqis show their gratitude for being “liberated” by America.
Four years ago today American armoured columns rolled into Baghdad, ending the despotic regime of Saddam Hussein once and for all. I wish I could celebrate, if there’s anything in life I wish I had been wrong about, it would be my opinion of Bush’s wars. If Baghdad today was a thriving peaceful democratic cosmopolitan city, I’d not only still be eating my words, I would be significantly modifying my world view. Hell, I’d be singing Bush’s praises.
Sadly, if anything, the invasion of Iraq has turned out worse than I predicted. No one is celebrating in Iraq, the opposite in fact. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis braved car bombs and helicopter gunships to march in the streets and protest the US occupation. Contrast this with the literally tiny handful of people who celebrated the toppling of the Saddam statue four years ago, and it’s painfully obvious that the USA is if anything is less popular than it was during Saddam’s time. I hardly need to mention the endless and ever increasing violence, only people with Hubble Space Telescope class tunnel vision are still seeing signs of improvement in Iraq.
In fact, I hate to say it, but I think the USA will be pulling out sooner rather than later. While there is evidence that the USA and Britain are still optimistically thinking that they will be in Iraq years from now, the ability of Bush or Blair to call the shots in Iraq is declining almost daily. More importantly, the person who really wields influence in Iraq has called for the ouster of American troops. The Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has called for his militia to redouble their efforts to attack American troops, and to stop attacking Iraqis. This may very well be the death blow for the American occupation, at the very least it’s going to mean a lot more American and British soldiers going home missing parts or in body bags.
In further bad news, Iran has warned that its relations with the Iraqi government are in danger because of the US seizure of five Iranian diplomats in Iraq. This is going to further erode Iraqi support (what little of it is left) for Maliki. In fact this is another great example of how the USA has almost no good options in Iraq, no matter what we do now it can be easily turned against us. The USA seizure of Iranian diplomats no matter what its intent, has yielded no good results and has given our chosen enemies even more options.
This is a point I keep trying to make, any move in a chess game or a international affairs has to be done so that it increases your options and constrains your enemy’s options. And the invasion of Iraq was a bold move indeed, like moving a Queen in a chess game deep onto the other side of the board. Instead of making us stronger, it weakened us considerably, because this gave our enemies any number of options to threaten us and make life difficult for us. We are rapidly approaching the point, if we are not already there, where abject retreat is the only option. Unless one believes in miracles, and history has not been kind to leaders who relied on miracles.
Oh well, in local news, the cats are fine. I can hear my calico vomiting contentedly as I type, how a fifteen pound cat can vomit thirty or forty (at least it seems that way) pounds of vomit a week is one of those mysteries that science should be looking into, but doesn’t because no one will fund it. In other news, I won a “Thinking Blogger Award” from the esteemed Outside the Box blog. I’m very flattered but will have to look into it further before I post it.
I hope everyone had a safe, sane, blessed, and enjoyable Zombie Jesus Day weekend. And yes that’s a joke, no insult intended. :)
(The above image is claimed as fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is an historically important image (sadly,) and it is central to illustrating the post. Image credit: EPA/Ali Haider)