Since President Obama announced his plan to address the nation on Iraq, the news media and pundits have been buzzing about the “Iraq War” – the lives lost and the money spent over the past seven years. Seven? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to note that the Iraq War has been closer to 20 years? After all, combat operations have been pretty continuous.
The first phase of the War might be called the Kuwait or Gulf Operation. Wiki says Operation Desert Shield “began on 7 August 1990 when U.S. troops were sent to Saudi Arabia.” What if one started counting expenditures from 7 August 1990?
The second phase of the Iraq War might be called the No-Fly Zone Operations. Wiki says: “American and British aircraft continuously maintained the integrity of the NFZ, receiving anti-aircraft fire from Iraqi forces almost daily.” Here’s a snippet from when President Bill Clinton addressed the country from the oval office in December of 1998:
Earlier today, I ordered America’ s armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq’s nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.
Read the whole thing. Clearly there was no peaceful interlude during the Clinton years.
The third phase might be called the 2003 invasion.
It would be interesting to find out how much money has been expended over the course of the twenty year war. And then, of course, consider the lives lost and the number of persons injured. Wouldn’t that be a more fair-minded way of assessing the wisdom of American policy toward Iraq?