Today is the 10th anniversary of start of the Iraq War.
Ten years ago, based upon manufactured evidence, the United States made war against a third world country. In order to make this happen the United States Government lied to the Security Council of the United Nations and the American people. Lies were told to try to convince the American public that the government of Iraq, a secular regime, had conspired with and aided fundamentalist religious terrorists in their attack on New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001. Lies were told to both the American people and the Security Council of the United Nations that Iraq was stockpiling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons for use against its neighbors (and even, potentially, the United States and Europe, with fictional long-range ballistic missiles).
Then President of the United States, George W. Bush, used the collective anger, sorrow and fear felt by the citizens of the United States that was brought on by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to advance the geopolitical agenda of a group of right wing zealots who counted his Vice President, Dick Cheney, his Secretary of Defense, William Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, among their ranks. That militaristic political agenda was opportunistic and viewed the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks as an opportunity to invade Iraq, topple Saddam Hussein from power and install a puppet government there in order to secure access to Iraqi oil reserves and land for permanent military bases in the region.
No evidence of the WMD stockpiles provided as part of the justification for war were found. Just remnants of a long-dormant chemical and biological weapons program that predated the first Gulf War.
No puppet government was installed in Iraq, which is now controlled by a regime that owes its existence and fealty not to the United States but to neighboring Iran.
The quick victory we were promised never materialized, and thousands of American soldiers were maimed and killed with millions of Iraqis likewise killed or mutilated over the course of the war which lasted over eight years.
So far, the war has cost the United States $3 trillion.
So, you might be asking, why am I grateful, as indicated by the title of this post?
I am grateful that young men and women, in spite of the obvious greed and stupidity of our elected officials are still willing to sign up to serve in the US Military. I’m grateful that we live in a country where a letter like the one I posted earlier from a veteran who literally gave everything he had because he believed in serving his country can be published, posted online and re-posted by anyone who wants to. I am grateful for the 133 members of the House of Representatives and 23 members of the US Senate who had the courage to vote against the Authorization for War on October 10th and 11th, 2002.