A good piece by Denis Hamill here. Nice to see some people are now seeing Iraq and Afghanistan for the disasters that they are.
Except for the final body count, the war in Iraq is over.
Islam won. Islam won when it was codified into the new constitution as the guiding North Star of Iraq's future.
This was not startling. After we righteously stormed into Afghanistan and kicked some butt, we abandoned the search for Osama Bin Laden, who killed those 2,700 people in downtown Manhattan, for a bait-and-switch invasion of Iraq.
We then turned Afghanistan over to the murderous warlords and opium merchants - whose product probably wound up in the veins of Mellie Carballo and Maria Pesantez, the two coeds who OD'd on heroin a few weeks back on the lower East Side - and declared it a victory for liberal democracy.
And now it is heartbreaking that 1,800 beautiful Americans have died and more than $200 billion in American taxpayer treasure spent so that we could transform the secular totalitarian fascist state of Iraq that had nothing, zero, to do with 9/11, into an Islamic theocracy.
Give it maybe three years after we pull the last troops out - which will start before the 2006 elections for obvious political reasons - and Iraq will be Iran. Ayatollahs will rule. Civil war will rock this sandy asylum. Women will be suppressed. The courts will make decisions based on sharia, Islamic law.
Somehow I don't see the Stones playing Baghdad on the next tour.
I take no liberal-weenie glee in the failure of this war. I believe that Islamo-fascism is the greatest threat to mankind in the 21st century. But an open, transparent democracy cannot start a war on radical Islam based on lies and deceptions. The war was prosecuted with too few troops, no after-plan, and a pathologically stubborn Bush policy of "stay the course" while we sped toward an iceberg in the desert.
And now staying the course has forged us an Islamic state.
In July, I spent a morning in Breezy Point, Queens, with a bunch of Iraq warvets who had lost limbs in that awful war. One guy who'd lost two legs and anarm still had the guts to fasten himself into a harness and zoom through Jamaica Bay. He believed he made his sacrifices for America. Turns out he gave three limbs to create a constitution that celebrates Islam.
I met another vet who was the very first of 15,000 maimed in the war, a brave, patriotic kid from Texas who had a leg blown off in a land mine on the roll into Baghdad. I sat with another legless vet whose 12-year-old-son sat beside him, a little dazed. That kid lost those legs in Iraq, too, for his old man would never shag a fly ball that kid hit into a summer sky.
This new Islamic Iraq constitution dishonors their sacrifice.
Last spring, I received an E-mail from a childhood pal, a Brooklyn bus driver, who at age 54 and with six grandkids, was activated by the reserves and sent to Iraq. He didn't sacrifice a year of his middle age to create an Islamic state. I received another E-mail the other day from a soldier from the Bronx serving with the 101st Airborne who ached to be with his wife, who was seven months pregnant. By the time his baby is born, Iraq will probably have voted to approve the Islamic constitution.
None of them could have imagined when they went to Iraq that what they sacrificed - limbs, dead buddies, irretrievable time away from loved ones - was offered so that Ahmed Chalabi, who while on the CIA payroll fed us all that BS about WMD, could get richer as the new oil minister of Iraq. So that Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric whose militia is suspected in the recent execution of a New York freelancer named Steven Vincent, could become a major player in the new "democratic" Iraq assembly.
A soldier named Casey Sheehan, who was killed in a 2004 ambush by al-Sadr's militia in Sadr City, certainly didn't die for that.
That's why Cindy Sheehan helped turn the tide of this war that has become President Bush's Vietnam quagmire. When Cindy Sheehan showed up in Crawford, Tex., where Bush cleared brush on the ranch, she synthesized the collective grief of a Gold Star Motherland.
Cindy Sheehan became every funeral George W. Bush did not attend. She was every flag-draped coffin that this administration did not allow us to see. Standing in the dust under a blistering sun, she was the legacy of this dirty little war in microcosm, a mother who had lost a son for NOTHING.
Unless you want to call the creation of an Iraqi Islamic state a victory.