The lowering of the American flag in Baghdad yesterday officially ended eight and a half years of military intervention-an incomprehensible war whose repercussions will continue for a long time.
Iraq’s invasion is a legacy of the George W. Bush administration built on endless arrogance that led to denials of reality, deliberate lies and deep judgment errors. An examination of the military action shows a negative balance, especially when comparing the magnitude of the losses in terms of human lives, money and geopolitical uncertainty with the estimates of the conflict’s architects.
This is the cold reality: More than 4,000 American soldiers died, over 30,000 American soldiers sustained life-altering injuries and more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians died. This is a high price, particularly for the Iraqis, who never asked Washington to rescue them militarily from Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship.
The United States, on the other hand, absorbed the debt for the war’s cost, hundreds of billions of dollars, and for years must be accountable for the care of thousands of soldiers suffering the war’s traumatic aftereffects.
There is no farewell party, Iraqi compensation for America’s expenses or public appreciation from Iraq for our soldiers’ sacrifice, as the White House and Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon dreamt of at the beginning of the war. The withdrawal, although it was planned to start around this date, was accelerated by the Iraqi government’s decision not to grant immunity to U.S. soldiers.
The troops are withdrawing from Iraq, leaving Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government in charge of security and facing the underlying threat of the return of the religious conflict between Shiites and Sunnis. In addition, the geopolitical picture shows a strong Iranian influence.
Much has been written about the deceitful origins of the war, internal conflicts and the terrible decisions the White House made, which all led to a monumental fiasco. There is little to celebrate about this date, other than breathing a sigh of relief because at least this chapter is finally over.