The Mission That Could Never Be Accomplished

In an op-ed in the Boston Globe today, A Mission Accomplished, Indeed, Jeff Jacoby argues that President George W. Bush is, basically, vindicated for the war in Iraq because of a moderately successful democratic election this week.

Jacoby writes: "The transformation of Iraq from a hellish tyranny into a functioning democracy will be recorded as a signal accomplishment of George W. Bush’s presidency."

Let's not jump to conclusions. Maybe Iraq is turning around, but after what consequences and for what reasons?

OK, so 62% of eligible Iraqis voted, but let's not forget that although 62% of citizens voted, 38 people still died. How many Americans died last November because they voted? None.

Jacoby uses a large part of his piece to focus on the 2007 troop surge, which he argues, "Turned the war around, giving Iraq a new lease on life."

That surge that Jacoby says worked so well sent an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq, which resulted in the death of hundreds of American soldiers, and was only requested because initially going into Iraq had caused an outpour of violence.

Let's not forget about Iraqis either, although Jacoby admits that the war in Iraq led to the death of "4,000 US military personnel," let's also look at the number of Iraqis who have died as a cause of the war. Various organizations from the London-based Opinion Research Business, the Iraq Body Count, The Lancet medical journal, the World Health Organization, to even the Iraqi government itself have estimated that between 90,000 to over one million violent deaths of Iraqis have occurred since the 2003 US invasion. What's most shocking is that only one of those counts is up to date and that some of the highest estimations of civilian deaths were reported in 2006. That's right, four years ago.

So mission accomplished? No. Far, far from it.

I don't think you can ever say any mission was accomplished in Iraq, especially due to the number of Iraqis who died because of an American-lead mission.

What was the initial mission anyway? As I recall, the Bush Administration wanted to invade Iraq to keep Saddam Hussein from attaining "WMDs" and aiding "terrorists."

I'm not sure how you can determine that the death of thousands of Iraqis, who died after the surge took place, could be called, "a new lease on life."

Let's not forget that, according to the Washington Post, "A controversy over the disqualification of candidates threatened Tuesday to undermine the legitimacy of Iraq's recent elections and inflame supporters of a coalition seeking to topple the alliance led by the prime minister."

That means there is still a chance that this vote may not mean a thing, which would be a drastic blow to developing democracy in Iraq.

I sincerely hope to see Iraq work as a fully-functioning Democracy and I think the recent elections are a step in that direction. But there are still questions to be answered, most prominently, what will happen when the US has withdrawn its troops? Will there be 38 deaths come election day? Will there be more? Less?

I would love to see a time when Iraqis hold an election and no one is killed, but at what cost would that come?


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All posts are written by Will Wrigley -- a politics nerd, music-lover and a barely comprehensible writer.