Saturday, April 10, 2010

Seven long years in Iraq

Iraqi soldiers stop vehicles at a checkpoint in Baghdad. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen (IRAQ)

After seven long years. Seven very long years, the prize question remains: Was it worth it?

For America: Was it worth it? Have you achieved your aim? What was it?

Iraq Today

Seven years after U.S. troops rolled into Baghdad, the Iraqi journalists employed by McClatchy asked this question at their blog.

For some of us in the United States, it was never worth it. Millions never believed the Bush government had any legitimate reason for invading Iraq. Certainly none of their shifting stated objectives except killing off one local dictator have been achieved. Iraq is a broken place, painfully choosing its next strong man, looted of its wealth and history, less secular and less able to thrive in the globalized world than when we arrived. The invasion was a crime.

The families of most the U.S. soldiers killed and maimed in this boondoggle probably have to believe it was worth it. Believing that the life of a loved one has been wasted is simply too bitter to bear. There's a great crime in sending people to war without need.

The same Iraqi journalists ask:

For Iraqis: Was it worth it? Is what you have now worth the losses you sustained -- the loved ones you lost -- the security that you now long for? The sectarianism, division and fear of the other? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?

How to assess a situation that is so very complex?

The majority of our politicians consider it a positive change -- because it put them in power. Power that they are unwilling to let go of. No gracious losers here.

It's hard to be hopeful after seven long years.

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