Iraq for Dummies: A simplified timeline
Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this right.
20 dudes hijack planes and try to kill tens of thousands by planning to selectively crash said planes into major population/strategic centres, including the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and possibly the White House. In the end, the Pentagon plane hits the wrong part of the building and another is foiled completely. A few thousand die.
The public, justifiably, is enraged and demands military response. Very understandable, and I was among those calling for action.
Almost overnight, the Army gets sent to Afghanistan to take the bastards out.
Saudi Arabia, where 19 of the terrorists originated from, is ignored, while oil prices go up.
Afghanistan is beaten but the warlords and Osama run to the hills.
Lightbulb goes off. “Wait a second — there’s no oil here. Hell, they don’t even have beer… stupid Muslims. Let’s blow this popsicle stand.” A slow withdrawal of troops begins, and pursuing Osama seems almost forgotten as the White House schemes for a more fiscally beneficial bad guy to pursue (since Afghanistan’s number one export is opium, not oil.)
Second lightbulb goes off. “Saddam’s publicist left long ago. Holy easy target, Dick. Let’s tell ‘em that Saddam has WMDs. Let’s not mention oil, though.”
UN says “No, don’t do it.” Investigators say the evidence is inconclusive, but leaning towards nada weapons. The world protests.
George continues to shout, “9/11! 9/11!”
For a time, a majority of Americans polled actually believe that Saddam invited buddies to blow up the World Trade Center. The thinking is, Saddam’s got pals who work in terrorism, and god help us if he succeeds in helping them, ‘cos Saddy didn’t just hate George’s Daddy, but all good little Americans.
Popular opinion swells, Bush milks the public’s fears, and a quest to remove the WMDs from Saddam’s grubby little hands is underway.
A “decisive” victory follows the “Shock and awe” campaign. (A codename that means “we’ll drop bombs at night so the media can’t tell we’re accidentally killing citizens, too — and lots of ‘em.”)
Bush declares the war over.
Pesky insurgents put a crimp in that plan. Soldiers continue dying despite the war being “over.”
Troops search high and low for WMDs, resulting in a funny cute clip of the president hunting around the White House to poke fun at himself. (It’s a good thing we got some chuckles since all those dead and dying guys in the desert were putting a real downer on things.)
The public starts to realize there were no WMDs.
The Americans look bad the world over. It seems that the concerns about Iraq being a centre for terrorism weren’t true before the war, but sure as shit was true now. Seems those terrorist guys were smarter at strategizing than the Yanks. It seems their plan went something like this: Don’t let America succeed in Iraq. Discredit them by having it turn into a long, bloody insurgency, so the world sees America as being oppressors.
“Oppressors?” The White House jumps when they realize what’s happening with international perception. Insert metaphorical image of cowboy with white hat riding into the dirty west, bringing with him law and order and protection for the masses.
Tune changes. All we were saying, it seems, was give freedom a chance. Those silly Middle Eastern folks and their dictators… it was time to teach ‘em all the pluses about a political system where the bastards in power lie to the people instead of just outright oppressing ‘em. “They’ll want freedom AFTER we give it to ‘em,” was the prevailing mantra.
The hits kept on comin’. More soldiers kept dying. It didn’t take long for more soldiers to die “after” the war than during it.
Soon, a British intelligence dude offs himself after it comes out that this evidence of Saddam acquiring or seeking to acquire weapons-grade uranium from Africa was a flat-out lie, and the controversy begins: Was there ever any evidence of WMDs?
An inquiry pores over the evidence and soon discovers the truth: Nope. Nyet. George and Dick continue shouting, “We went there to free the oppressed!”
Evidence emerges that troops have been humiliating and torturing POWs at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. Scapegoats found, and with enough tap-dancing, issue disappears slowly, but surely, from public consciousness as powers that be evade complicity in the matters.
Meanwhile, a genocide (oops, don’t call it that — only 200,000+ died) continues to rage in Sudan, and America and all the other powers that be decide to get into a semantics fight about “genocide,” preventing any intervention from occuring as discussion mounts on the “Iraq Quagmire.”
With more than 10 times the amount of soldiers dying “post-war” than during it, the public relations fiasco amounts. George and his boys rethink things.
The “war on terror” becomes “the global struggle against terror” and instead of going to Iraq for WMDs or for freedom party favours, another quarter drops in the jukebox and the tune changes yet again.
As we’re closing in on 20x the wartime deaths in Iraq, it turns out that this was a strategic attempt to isolate the terrorists in Iraq in order to protect Americans “at home, where we live,” said Bush the other night.
Funny, Steff thinks, how fucking up so badly in Iraq has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Funny how the terrorists ARE all there now. (Except for the ones in England, since the poor Limey bastards apparently didn’t benefit from the attempts to isolate the terrorists. Hmm.)
And what we still ain’t got: Osama, nor a timetable for withdrawal, nor peace, freedom, or democracy, what with this constitution thing persistently failing to come together, while Saudi Arabia continues to be a major investor in the American economy and continues to avoid responsibility for the deaths of several thousand Americans (and ex-patriate internationals) on American soil.
And oil? It’s still at an all-time high. Funny how it all works, isn’t it? Like a surrealist comedy gag. How sad.