The Iraq War is Over! Did We Win??

(I originally posted this piece in October 2011.   Geez I’m smart!)


Ok. President Obama announced the the Iraq War is now officially over and our troops will be home for the holidays.

Did we “win”?

We did get Saddam and replace him with something else. Instead of a dictator there is now a Prime Minister and a Parliament of sorts. On the other hand everyone still has plenty of guns – Sadrists, Sunnis and Kurds are all well armed.  Fired up and ready to go.

They have known all along what Ho Chi Minh knew all along. Eventually we will go home.  There is no “winning”.   There never was.

In the movie “Lawrence of Arabia” Auda Abu Tayi (played by Anthony Quinn) is seeking something “honorable” to take as booty before he goes home and leaves the ragtag Arab militia.  He is chided by the British officers for his intention. Auda replies to them “When you have what you want you will go home!”

Life imitating art.

So what will happen to Iraq?

Iraq is a history of coup and counter-coup; of Kings and strongmen. I fear it will be thus after we are gone.  I give the government a few years.

Iraq is not a “nation” in the western sense.  It was drawn on a map by the British and French after he dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.  In the then secret Sykes-Picot Agreement France got modern Syria and Lebanon, the borders of which were all drawn free-hand by the negotiators on a map. The Brits got Iraq, Jordan and the Palestine Mandate (lucky them). Neither country cared exactly who lived within the new borders. The British promptly put a Hashemite Sunni on the Iraq “throne” as “king” of a Shia majority “nation”.  The “monarchy” of British origin lasted until 1953 when King Faisal II, the crown prince, his mother, sister, aunt and the Prime Minister were machine gunned in the courtyard of the palace complex after surrendering to the Army.

The monarchy was abolished and a “sovereignty Council” consisting of representatives of the three ethnic groups took control of the country.  Instability continued until the triumph of the mostly secular Baathists and the coming of Saddam.

The Ottomans ruled Iraq as three “provinces” one each for Sunni, Shia and Kurd. They were smarter than we give them credit.

I expect the three groups will re-arm themselves and eventually commence fighting until one tough guy emerges. What do you think the Sunni and Shia militia did with their arms?  Why they put them away waiting for us to leave.

I hate to be a pessimist but I am pessimistic about Iraq’s future. The best outcome I can see is a loose confederation of three self-governing provinces with a central government which is responsible for foreign relations, a small standing army for defense and an equitable sharing of oil revenues. The worst scenario is civil war with the Sadrists/Shia supported by the Ayatollahs in Teheran and the Sunnis by Saudi money and arms.

So no I don’t think we “won”.

We lost our honor when we, as the world’s only super-power attacked a hapless third world country which hadn’t attacked us, based on lies.  Nobody liked Saddam. The fact however is that the war was started based on lies. We watched “shock and awe” on CNN like it was a video game. The world saw us for what we are.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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7 Responses to The Iraq War is Over! Did We Win??

  1. As Michael Parenti has repeatedly pointed out, Saddam Hussein was never the vicious Hitler figure the corporate media portrayed. Neither was Noriega, nor Gaddafi, nor Assad. Nor Julius Caesar for that matter. Nor did vicious German troops rape women and kill babies during World War I. This was all corporate propaganda used to stimulate popular support for unpopular military intervention. All of these leaders were populist reformers who sought to use their wealth to improve the lives of the people they ruled. Their sin, in each case, was refusing to cave into the demands of the financial elite.


    • I mean no disrespect, Stuart. Parenti, in this videotaped talk, calls Saddam Husseing a torturer. Yes, we are mislead and misinformed, but let’s not blur reality. Saddam was a monster.


      • I guess it all depends on your definition of monster. If you’re going to include everyone who commits or condones torture, then you definitely need to include George W Bush, Obama, Tony Blair, Hollande and a whole list of current national leaders.


  2. hipmonkey says:

    It’s too bad most of ”us” did not see us for who we are. This was a money grab, plunder, nothing more. The blowback wasn’t worth it and never dreamed of, so these rich bastards really aren’t very smart. They bought the government and no one living here seems to notice, or care. That makes most of us guilty by stupidity, since we actually do have a choice in what we believe: mainstream media or our own eyes.


    • toritto says:

      Hip – I think what we failed to appreciate was that the “brutal” dictators we were so anxious to overthrow (to bring “freedom”) was the glue holding these “nations” together. Iraq was not a “nation”; neither is Libya. Egypt is a prime example. Mubarak was removed and elections held. Who won? The Muslim Brotherhood. So now they are back to the military. Is Assad preferable to ISIS? Probably. The other issue is that ISIS is supported by our “allies” – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait. Sheesh.


  3. Saddam Hussein was a homicidal, paranoid, ego maniac and I for one am not saddened by his death. I believe he was every bit the monster he was portrayed as. That said, our foreign policy has always been self-serving, short-sighted and morally destitute. The Russians and the Americans are equally guilty in the manipulation of countries all over the world and Iraq was no exception. The Russians signed a pact with them in the 70’s, we supported them with $4 billion of “agricultural credits” in the 80’s to help them in their war against Iran. (He may have been a power-hungry, vicious bastard but at least he was no Islamic fundamentalist, so we liked him.) And when Hussein got a little too big for his britches and went after Kuwait, we pounced. We knew what he was planning in terms of invading Kuwait, basically shrugged our shoulders and told him it was “none of our concern”. As soon as all the oil fields were a-light, we sure were concerned. George H. failed to get him, so baby Bush went back again. Let’s face it, as long as the Middle East is ruled by petty tyrants intent on killing off their own people we’re cool with that. Let them kill each other off, who cares? The oil will still be there – for awhile.


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    It’s the place where I can safely be as obnoxious and irreverent as I am naturally without fearing offending anyone. Feel free to argue, dispute, criticize, persuade, entice or agree… but most of all, VISIT!


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