War—what is it good for?

As of Monday, March 19, Operation Iraqi Freedom will be three years old. It’s a war that began with a barrage of bunker-busters and cruise missiles vaporizing the house and surrounding area in which Saddam Hussein was supposedly holed up. The Evil Dictator wasn’t there. This was not, unfortunately, the first or last time we took action based upon intelligence that was complete ferret guano.

So here it is, three years later. Tonight, I saw President Bush asking for patience with his war. The resulting snort of derision that exploded out of my nose was so loud and so violent, I almost blew my nostrils inside out.

You remember what Dub said in early ’03. He said Saddam had 26,000 liters of anthrax. Wrong. Vice president Darth Vader Cheney said don’t worry, our troops will be hailed as liberators. Wrong. Rumsfeld said that all that Iraqi oil money would greatly offset the cost of the invasion and the reconstruction. Wrong. In May of ’03, Bush stood on the deck of the USS Lincoln and declared major operations in this war were over. That blooper may have set the all-time record for largest-foot-ever-stuffed-into-human-mouth. Last summer, Vader predicted that the insurgency was in its “last throes.” Gee, Darth, for an insurgency in its last throes, they sure have a lot of ammo. Now, in the new book Cobra 2, we discover that General Franks was clueless enough about Iraq that he was telling Rummy and Dub we should be able to control the place with a force of 40,000 by August of ‘03. Damn, Tommy, what you smokin’, dude?

Three years later. $250 billion dollars later. 2,308 American military deaths later. At least 35,000 Iraqi deaths later. Obscene, atrocious, vulgar numbers. Blood-drenched numbers racked up by our born-again Christian leader. And what do we have to show for these numbers? A country with a government that is wobbling like a day-old fawn. A country that still doesn’t have the electric service it had back in the days of The Evil One. A country that deals with, on an almost daily basis, innocent people being blown to pieces, the smoking scraps of their bodies littering the streets and sidewalks.

The president asks for your patience. He wants you to wait while the Iraqis somehow put together a government. Not just any government, but a government that will behave itself, and it will do that by doing business; business with Halliburton, Bechtel and all the other heavy hitters that make up the greatest imperial power this world has ever known—the modern military-industrial corporatocracy. Those corporate behemoths will get fat as they slowly reconstruct the country upon which other corporate juggernauts got fat by blowing up. Our gigantic military bases will be there to make sure the shaky government doesn’t quake too much. And America, finally free of the horrible reports of attacks and deaths and torture and car bombs, will fill up its tank, head home, pour itself a stiff one, turn on ESPN, and forget it ever happened.