Five years ago, we watched the United States start a war from the comfort of our living rooms. Our television screens gave us the full audio-visual impact of "shock and awe," a unilateral attack by U.S. forces on the country of Iraq.
It does little good now to reiterate the lies (or "false intelligence," if you prefer) upon which this ill-fated operation was propagated. There were, of course, no weapons of mass destruction. We weren't greeted as liberators. It wasn't over "in a matter of weeks." The mission has yet to be accomplished.
This week, during a surprise visit to Iraq (ever notice they're all surprise visits?), Vice President Cheney proclaimed the war a "successful endeavor" and urged that we not "quit before the job is done."
Whenever the hell that might be. One hundred years from now? Five years? Four thousand more dead American soldiers? Eight thousand? Nobody knows. We just can't leave.
We've got 158,000 troops stuck in this desert morass, dying at the rate of two a day. The suicide bombers continue their deadly work in the marketplaces and mosques. The roadside IEDs continue to maim and kill America's finest. The Iraq government continues to be unable to make political or military progress. And we're staying, according to McCain, Bush, Cheney, et al., until the job is done.
Five years ago, we editorialized that "unleashing the dogs of war" would likely lead to a lengthy and costly struggle and that the U.S. should not be in the business of starting armed conflicts. We even cited Henry Kissinger, who said at a committee hearing before the war vote passed by the Senate, that he was "viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a Muslim country at the heart of the Muslim world by Western nations who proclaim the right to re-educate that country."
Five years later, that is precisely what we've got: a prolonged occupation that has cost us nearly a trillion dollars, a "job" without an end in sight. Meanwhile, our economy is tanking, spurred by the unregulated greed of financial institutions who played with "hedge funds," made millions, then lost their shirts. Now, we the taxpayers are picking up the tab.
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of picking up the tab for stupid mistakes made by others. Let's get these clowns out of office. November can't come soon enough.
It's deep in a November night in Memphis, and I'm awakened by rain. It's coming down hard, sounding like a million pebbles hitting the roof. The gutter I've been meaning to clean is overflowing outside the bedroom window. A flash of lightning illuminates the room, and I do what I've done since I was a boy: count the seconds 'til the thunder rolls. I get almost to 10 before I hear a distant rumble. Two miles or so. Someone else's lightning ...