"My fellow Americans: I'm a pundit, not a president, but since it's a moment for taking stock of America's role in Iraq, I want to remind you that I blew it." - Matt Miller, The Washington Post
I've been waiting for such an apology for years from the people who worked the PR campaign for the lead-up to war. It's good to hear one finally.
It takes courage to admit such an enormous error of judgement and while it may not fix any of the damage done to our nation and Iraq through the past long years of war, divisiveness and fear, it may help lead to some progress in preventing mistakes like this and possibly even some healing of our broken 4th estate.
I've been angered for years every time one of the "chattering class" speaks of faulty intelligence, being mislead or whatever else the excuse may be. How could a small journalistic enterprise like McClatchy get it right and everyone else get it wrong? How was I able to read about the lack of WMD and a nearly prophetic analysis of the debacle that awaited us from a book in my local bookstore called "Behind the Invasion of Iraq" by The Research Unit for Global Economy (a think tank in India) almost six months before the invasion and yet almost no one in the mainstream media in America was clued in to the peril that awaited us?
Was it laziness? Was it corruption? Whatever the reason is, to me it's unforgivable.
Thousands of American lives lost, tens of thousands injured and more psychologically traumatized. The true financial cost of the war is unknown but in these times of skyrocketing deficits it's a cost we didn't need. Our massively privatized military industry is a threat to peace for generations because any industry that's bottom line is based on continued instability is a curse for humanity.
And what about Iraq? After losing hundred of thousands in the Iran/Iraq War (which Reagan gamed by selling weapons and strategies to both Iraq and Iran), a brief yet destructive war under Bush Sr., a decade of draconian sanctions under Clinton which was responsible for hundreds of thousands more deaths (Madeline Albright claimed it was "worth it") and now the past 7 years of war. With hundreds of thousands more dead, millions displaced and fled to other countries, an infrastructure in ruins and a non-functioning government it will be generations before Iraq can heal from our intrusions there.
Again, I thank Mr. Miller for his apology. It is one I've been waiting to hear for years and has inspired this long diatribe I needed to get off my shoulders. I only hope his words will have an influence on all the other champions and architects of this war. What have they achieved that they are so proud of? Allowing Iraq to become a training ground for terrorists? Helping install a government with ties to Iran? Or the billions in taxpayer dollars redistributed to war-profiteers and warlords?
Please, take these lessons you've learned Mr. Miller and do everything in your power to correct the attempts at revisionist history and future calls for unnecessary wars.