The Guardian, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, has published an article and documentary on the use of torture during the Iraq War. It’s pretty disturbing and timely given that this month is the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the war.
It’s also timely given an email exchange with a friend, in which I at one point stated the following:
I opposed the idea of the war before it ever started and predicted that the war, as well as some of the other policies of GWB would be marked as the beginning of the end of the American empire. Ten years later, I’m still sticking with that prediction as I see nothing in our current political environment that gives me hope that we’re going to effectively pull out of the economic, social, moral, and militaristic morass we’re in and that was significantly prompted by GWB.
I detest what we did to the country and its people. I detest the waste. Commentators frequently refer to it as “blood and treasure.” I hate that phrase because it so dehumanizes what was actually lost. We didn’t lose blood and treasure. Tens of thousands of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors – both ours and theirs – were lost or suffered gruesome, life-altering injuries, some external, maybe many more on the inside. Hundreds of billions of dollars that could have provided a real opportunity at change and progress and fulfillment of the human dream were squandered in a futile war that produced not one single iota of change, progress or movement towards the human dream. Yeah, it sickens me. But, to me, the individual soldiers, unless they committed atrocities that violate the laws of war, are blameless in all of this and they shouldn’t, in an effort to address their guilt, re-cast the situation in a way that justifies it. There are a handful of people I hold responsible – GWB, Cheney, Colin Powell … you get the idea. Well, actually, it’s more than a handful, because of all the members of Congress who voted to authorize it when they should have known better.
There are lots of horrible things this country has done during the course of its history. Slavery and the Dred Scott decision. The internment camps of WW II. The various lies that have led us into prior wars and entanglements.
But for the sheer scope of representing everything that could be wrong and could go wrong, the Iraq War takes the cake. Lies to the American people, Congress and the international community to drag us into the war. A refusal to pay for it, running up hundreds of billions in additional debt our children and grandchildren will be paying for. A failure to plan a way out. Government-sanctioned torture. Massive arrogance and hubris. Stupidity and ignorance.
Those first few years of the GWB administration will most likely go down as among the worst in the history of this country. His administration took so many steps that we will be paying for for far too many years to come … economically, morally, politically.
I can only hope that somewhere along the line, those responsible for this mess experience some karma along the way. There needs to be some poetic justice for these atrocities. There just has to be.