09/09/2010 03:22 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Real Winner In Iraq

Last week's pullout of combat troops in Iraq made just about zero news. The country is focused on money and the lack of and thus seems to have forgotten just what a complete disaster this war was, preferring instead to debate whether we had "won," and if Obama should have said it or not.


As if to underline this bizarre mass amnesia, Joe Biden went on Colbert and praised Bush, of all people, for doing a good job getting us out.

Nothing about the Iraq war is worthy of praise, save the dedication that our soldiers have to the Constitution. Only that dedication could explain the sacrifice they made in the face of the outright lies and pure, naked greed of the Bush Administration. Only that dedication explains why they consented to be brutally exploited, and we as a county should be damn happy that they didn't just say "fuck you" and overthrow the government.

Iraq is not stable. It's barely able to field elections, and barely able to enforce the rule of law. The vaunted "surge" is starting to unravel, as the money we've been paying Sunnis since 2006 is starting to go away.

According to The Lancet, over 650,000 Iraqis had been killed by 2006, and probably that number is much higher now. Ten years of brutal war and sectarian violence have left the country scarred and deeply divided. US casualties run into the 30,000 range, with over 4,500 dead. Final costs of the war are currently projected at $900 billion, and may well run over $3 trillion.

$3 trillion. Thousands of lives lost. Countries ravaged, and for what? No one has been held responsible, nothing has been gained. And the really scary thing is we seem to have learned nothing from all this, which all but guarantees we will do it again. In fact a sizable part of the electorate seems happy to keep on killing, according to Glenn Greenwald:

A CNN poll from February, 2010 found that 59% of Americans favor military action against Iran if negotiations over their nuclear program fail, and that's without the White House even advocating such a step. As the invasion of Iraq demonstrated, the kind of fear-mongering, reckless, and outright false "reporting" we're seeing already -- and have been seeing for awhile -- over Iran's nuclear program poses a far greater danger to the U.S. than anything Iran could do.

There is only one winner here, and it carries a scythe.