Just as Vice-resident Dick Cheney was telling American and Iraqi leaders in Baghdad how ‘phenomenal’ the security improvements in Iraq had been, a massive suicide bomb went off killing some 42 people.
Cheney also spoke of how the invasion of Iraq had been a ‘successful endeavour’ that had ‘been well worth the effort’. One needs to ask, however; who has it been ‘successful’ for?
It certainly hasn’t been successful for the nearly 4,300 allied soldiers killed in Iraq and the tens of thousands that have been wounded, many of them so badly that they will need care for the rest of their lives.
It certainly hasn’t been successful for the hundreds of thousands, possibly even a million or more Iraqis that have died or the 4.5 million refugees that have fled their homes because of the ‘successful endeavour’.
It certainly hasn’t been successful for the millions of remaining Iraqis who now have to contend with unemployment which runs at 60-70% across Iraq and who have to endure the breakdown of health and other basic utility services which have been falling into ruin since sanctions in Iraq began after the first Gulf War.
It certainly hasn’t been successful for the victims of the rampaging and highly organised criminal gangs with connections to the corrupt Iraqi government that go around murdering, threatening, kidnapping and bombing for control of neighbourhoods that are awash with American taxpayer’s dollars.
So, who has the ‘endeavour’ been ‘successful’ for? Well, for a start, it’s been highly successful for the Israelis who wanted to be rid of Saddam and for who the war was instigated for in the first place by the neoconservatives in the Bush administration.
Not only were they able to take full advantage of the tragedy of 9/11 in order to get an American public behind the invasion of Iraq, but now, in the light of the many anomalies that have appeared in the official story of what happened on that fateful Pearl Harbor-like day, one must question if and to what extent those same neoconservatives and allies in Israel may have been involved in the planning and perpetration of that crime. It does seem, after all, that it is they, the Israelis and neoconservatives, which have benefited most from the disaster.
But the Israelis and their neoconservative supporters in the US are not the only ones that can concur with Cheney’s assertion that the invasion of Iraq was a ‘successful endeavour’. America’s vast and cripplingly expensive Military and Industrial Complex has benefited enormously from both the Iraq war and America’s invasion of Afghanistan. Companies that have been given massive contracts to supply the troops with everything from a packed lunch to a hospital bed have also benefited greatly – especially those companies that Cheney himself had once been CEO of, KBR and its parent company Haliburton, which have made billions from contracts awarded to them from a government that didn’t bother to even look at other suppliers.
The private security companies in Iraq would also be inclined to go along with Cheney’s remarks about the invasion being a ‘successful endeavour’. They too have been given billions of dollars worth of contracts to provide security, curiously enough, for the US troops in Iraq. (There’s something odd about an invading army that needs to be protected by a private army of mercenaries.)
Then, of course, there is the oil. It’s not yet fully in the hands of the American oil barons but at least it’s not in the hands of Saddam anymore. The Americans do have some semblance of control over Iraq’s oil and the invasion and general uncertainty about security in the region caused by America’s wars has managed to push the price of oil up to levels where oil companies are now making unprecedented profits, all at the expense of the average person on the street – literally.
So, from his point of view, Cheney is right; the invasion has been a ‘successful endeavour’, and one that they won’t be walking away from any time soon.
For the Iraqi people, however, the invasion was a monumental disaster which has left them in a state of total despair. The forty two people that died as Cheney spoke, I'm sure, were not thinking that the invasion was a 'successful endeavour' just before they died. Nor, I suspect, are their relatives and friends who now have to pick up the pieces and try to get on with their lives wondering if its really worth it.
For the American people too, Iraq has been a poisoned chalice which has ruined their nation both economically and morally. For the rest of the world one hopes that the lesson of Iraq has been learnt but, of course, we’ve heard all that before. The world never seems to learn.
And judging by the noises still coming from the likes of Cheney, the neocons that are left, and the Israelis, it isn’t over yet.