Even though the Bush administration and Sen. Lieberman haven’t yet accepted that the war is lost, it’s clear enough that it is. All you have to do is talk to the returning soldiers. They know there’s nothing left to fight for, nothing there to win. It’s just a question of how much more of our blood and treasure is squandered in Iraq before we leave.
It’s not too early, however, to figure out what we did wrong. That strikes me as crucial if we are to get it right next time.
The answer seems pretty simple, really. We had a choice to make right at the start: were we going to whip Saddam and haul ass out of there, or were we going to occupy the country for the long haul? We planned for the first outcome, then adopted the second path, without a clue what it would take or where it might lead.
It strikes me looking back that we should have declared victory while the crowds were pulling down Saddam’s statues and then gotten the hell out there after putting some vaguely reasonable Iraqi general in charge of the transition to some new and more friendly government.
Why that didn’t happen is probably the administration’s lust for oil. They figured that we deserved it — and they weren’t about to risk having someone else take control of the oil fields. The quick seizure of Saddam’s oil ministry while museums were getting sacked shows where the priority was from day one.
You put oil men in the White House and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they act, well, oily.
Now that it’s all over except the fingerpointing — and watch how the GOP diehards try to blame the Democrats for their own failed war that happened when they controlled the entire U.S. government — we need to make sure that next time a president calls us to go into battle, we have a clear goal to achieve, then leave.
After all, we’re not imperialists. We’re no good at it because we’re not ruthless and we’re not mean. We give, not take. We just have no business occupying anywhere.
And let’s not elect any more of these crazy ass oil men.