Among the neoconservatives, at least:
Remember Fallujah? Shortly after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US military fired on unarmed protestors, killing as many as 20 and wounding dozens. In retaliation, local Iraqis attacked a convoy of US military contractors, killing four. The US then launched a full attack on Fallujah to regain control, which left perhaps 700 Iraqis dead and the city virtually destroyed.
According to press reports last weekend, Fallujah is now under the control of al-Qaeda affiliates. The Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, is under siege by al-Qaeda. During the 2007 “surge,” more than 1,000 US troops were killed “pacifying” the Anbar province. Although al-Qaeda was not in Iraq before the US invasion, it is now conducting its own surge in Anbar.
For Iraq, the US “liberation” is proving far worse than the authoritarianism of Saddam Hussein, and it keeps getting worse. Last year was Iraq’s deadliest in five years. In 2013, fighting and bomb blasts claimed the lives of 7,818 civilians and 1,050 members of the security forces. In December alone nearly a thousand people were killed.
I remember sitting through many hearings in the House International Relations Committee praising the “surge,” which we were told secured a US victory in Iraq. They also praised the so-called “Awakening,” which was really an agreement by insurgents to stop fighting in exchange for US dollars. I always wondered what would happen when those dollars stopped coming.
Where are the surge and awakening cheerleaders now?
One of them, Richard Perle, was interviewed last year on NPR and asked whether the Iraq invasion that he pushed was worth it. He replied:
I’ve got to say I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t a decade later go back and say, well, we shouldn’t have done that. [Italics original, emphasis added.]
If Richard Perle were an NFL coach, he’d be fired in half a season. And that’s assuming he had a roster full of good players. This refusal to review the past and try to learn from it is a quick way to get fired from professional sports, since owners and fans hate it when coaches and players make mistakes, especially of the sort that lead to losses. Not bothering to correct mistakes is a great way to bring your career to an end.
But while getting fired is the worst that can happen to an NFL player or coach that refuses to learn from mistakes, the potential cost is considerably greater for a foreign policy expert that has some sway over the government. A good many lives are at stake, to say nothing of the crushing debt that massive imperial intervention entails. Thus, it should be quite troubling when an expert in foreign policy is less inclined to introspection than a paid entertainer whose decisions cannot have but minimal bearing on the lives of millions of fans. Neoconservatives are beyond retarded; they are downright mad.