La Stampa, Italy
War in Iraq: America's 'Seven Inglorious Years'
second-rate war of a second-rate American presidency - the only symbol of which
remains the image of a naked man being tortured with electric cables - his face
covered with a hood. A sign that not even the enemy is recognizable any longer,
even if you torture him."
By Lucia Annunziata
Translated By Enrico Del Sero
August 20, 2010
Italy - La Stampa - Original Article
It's a conclusion without glory
- neither victory nor defeat. The conflict that the U.S. unleashed in Iraq and
that ended yesterday, ten cautious days ahead of schedule, was in effect a second-rate
It will be remembered more
for what it inadvertently revealed than for what it intentionally achieved. Begun
like Star Wars, it ended with a whimper. Begun with a globally-broadcast U.N.
session to reveal the weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Saddam, it ended
with a quiet night ride through the desert by an armored column of the "4th
Stryker Brigade," the last U.S. combat brigade in Iraq. Nothing exceptional
immortalized the moment: no particular emotion, no helicopter taking off with
the last civilian to escape. Of the end of the second Iraq War, we can say that
all we'll remember is the exceptional calm of the night-time retreat, a perfect
counterpoint to the thunderous gallop by which seven and a half years ago, the U.S.
mechanized cavalry crossed that same desert headed for Baghdad. Between the heroic
beginning and the silent end, lies an era of decline in American history.
Let us remember it now. Among
the strategies of U.S. President George Bush, the war against Saddam Hussein held
a place without precedent. Having come out of the 2001 Twin Towers attack more
than a little wounded, the United States had already responded by opening a battle
front against the terrorism of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan - with the consent and
the assistance of all of its European allies. But the security of the world was
far from being restored.
The intervention in Iraq was
identified by Washington as the first step toward reorganizing the global balance
of power, during an era in which the United States had the burden and honor of
being the only major power left as a guarantor against chaos. Iraq was the perfect
geographic platform in the heart of the radically-religious Middle East, and in
particular, a treasure chest of largely untapped oil reserves. But most of all,
it was governed by an undisputed dictator with a bone to pick from a previous
war with the United States and the Bush family. Iraq therefore was a new laboratory
for a better future - the first American war in which the U.S. didnít just "defend"
democracy, but undertook to export it, creating the conditions in which it
would take root. After the Twin Towers, the U.S. would be safe only if the
moral, social and political map of nations as we knew them was redrawn.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
It was fascinating and
dangerous theory that Washington clearly embraced - and for the first time in
its history - that the United States could be the first to attack, that the old
rules of diplomacy were just shackles that weakened the world, and that alliances
as we knew them were just an old shoe that had no leather left in its sole.
In reprising these thoughts,
and the fears from which they emerged, it's no wonder that today the almost messianic
energy Washington deployed in planning the Iraq intervention is being
reconsidered. To support the need to fight Baghdad, a very good man and a great
general, Colin Powell, was sent to the U.N. to lie about weapons of mass
destruction possessed by Saddam Hussein, thus destroying his career. On the
same altar were sacrificed Tony Blair and many European allies who swore on the
same unproven evidence. It was ultimately dubbed "preventive war," and
well before the fall of Saddam Hussein, it hastened the end of multilateralism,
diplomacy and split the Atlantic Alliance.
SEE ALSO ON THIS:
Sotal Iraq, Iraq:
Iraqis Must 'Take to Streets' to Demand Presidential System
El Pais, Spain:
U.S. Ends War it Couldn't Win; Leaves Behind Ruined Nation
Iraq is Our Country!!!
The Telegraph, U.K.:
Top Army Officer Warns Iraq Not Ready Until 2020
The Independent, U.K.:
U.S. Troops Say Goodbye to Iraq
Guardian Unlimited, U.K.:
Iraq is 'Half Built with the Roof Off'
Guardian Unlimited, U.K.:
Fears Rise as U.S.-Backed Fighters Defect to al-Qaeda
Debka File, Iraq:
U.S. Ends Iraq War, Leaves
Two Civil Wars 'On the Boil'
Debka File, Israel:
Combat Between U.S. and Iran Looms in Iraq
America's 'Promise': To Leave Iraq in a State of Civil War
Wake Up Iraqis!: The Americans Never Intend to Withdraw!
America's War: From One Dictatorship to Another
Iraq News Agency:
Chalabi Tells General Odierno: 'Mind Your Business'
Iraq News Agency:
U.S. 'Pullout' Resembles Israeli Retreats from Gaza
And perhaps it was only a
consequence of a conflict born out of distortion and sheer lies that it proceeded
with so little success, and without honor. Saddam was overthrown, it is true. But
of all that should have been achieved, this was almost the only objective that
was. As for the rest, seven and a half years in Iraq have revealed only the
worst face of modern warfare: no heroes, no purpose, and too much money at
We will remember the Iraq
conflict as the involuntary exposure of infamy - both petty and grand. We now
know how the Iraq conflict came about: generals sold themselves to the U.S.
while still swearing loyalty to their leader, a dictator who after untold murders
and proclamations, ran to hide in a hole at the hour of his nation's defeat, setting loose bands of armed terrorists bent on kidnapping, mass murder, and revenge among
various versions of Islam.
We also know more than we
ever did about the United States: we know about the torture at Abu Ghraib; we
know about a professional army, now proletarianized and insufficient in number;
we know about the massive deployment of mercenaries (contractors); and we know
about indiscriminate attacks against civilians and the use of phosphorous in battle.
Seven and a half inglorious
years, thatís how things are, as we said, on all sides. Seven and a half years in
which, along with Saddam, a very important part of U.S. political discourse has
fallen: not only can democracy not be exported, but the very ethical mission of
the American people is today in question.††
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Iraq in this sense marks the
end of innocence for a great nation, without even the alibi of a great battle,
of a grand ideological passion like that which drove the war in Vietnam. No
heroism to point out on the part of the Americans, or heroes to point to as examples
- as, it should be repeated, Vietnam nonetheless produced.
The second-rate war of a second-rate
American presidency - the only symbol of which remains the image of a naked man
being tortured with electric cables - his face covered with a hood. A sign that
not even the enemy is recognizable any longer, even if you torture him.
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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US, August 25, 10:00pm]