A Whimper

So the war in Iraq is officially over. It ended with a whimper and a worn out president declaring the end of it. So much has been written and said about that I won’t add anything new. I just wanted to organize my thoughts about it and make my own summary.

I objected this war from the beginning, although I supported the invasion of Afghanistan – the memories of 9/11 were still fresh in the fall of 2001. And from another perspective I thought that it was appropriate for Americans to clean up the mess in Afghanistan that ensued after the American support of Taliban to push the Soviets out in 1980s. My reasons are very clear – if I had to choose between a military dictatorship or a theocratic state I will always chose the former. That is – if there’s only those 2 choices, and, alas, in poor countries that is usually the case. The reason being is that under military dictatorship, while your life is miserable enough – you can, at least in theory, indulge in drinking, gambling and other immoral activities as long as you keep your antigovernment thoughts to yourself. Under theocracy, in addition to the possibility of being executed for anti-government sentiments you can also be executed for immoral activities, making life utterly unbearable. Other reason was that I always thought that deal making is easier with crooks than with those who hear voices.

That’s why I didn’t see Saddam as a threat, but I saw him as a man with delusions of grandeur who bluffed about having WMD with a very bad poker face. But the Bush administration was only happy to be fooled as they were eager to call Saddam’s bluff. It’s nice to be a wartime president, it accomplishes many things – shuts up critics at home as unpatriotic, makes you seem tough, which is important for a man who hasn’t gone to war and for a cowboy who was afraid of horses; you can be portrayed as a liberator, and other smaller benefits, like multi-billion government contracts to your friends, let’s not name names here. Besides, being at war also almost always assures your second term. So these were the reasons for war that I concluded to myself back in the spring of 2003 and turned out I was mostly correct.
There’s nothing to celebrate here, let’s just have a collective exhale that at least this nightmare is (somewhat) over. Before helping somebody next time let’s first make sure that they want to be helped.

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