Ten years ago, the United States hurled its military might against the forces of Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti's Iraq. Iraq never really had a chance in the contest, it must be admitted; we were simply too strong and too advanced to not prevail against a conscript army with older weaponry and no means of contesting our air superiority.
But it was all based on lies.
With nods and winks, the elected leaders of the time (also known as The Administration That Must Not Be Named, but was actually the Bush-Cheney regime) and their various apparatchiks and media mouthpieces managed to convince a few Americans that Iraq had had something to do with the terrorist attacks in September 2001.
With not so much nods and winks as bald accusations the elected leaders of the time and their various apparatchiks and media mouthpieces sold Americans on the idea that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that it was planning on using to attack us. Immediately. There was much rhetoric about smoking guns and mushroom clouds, and Colin Powell selling his honor to wave a vial of simulated anthrax at the UN Security Council.
The truth in both of these cases? Iraq had had NOTHING to do with 9/11, and never had. Al Qaeda and the Baathists loathed each other, after all; one was an ultra-religious cult of personality, and the other was a secularist cult of personality. Hard to get those two to see eye to eye. And as for the weapons of mass destruction, we never did find them. Never did . . . because They Did Not Exist.
In simplest terms, dear readers, a fraud was perpetrated upon the American people. Of course, a lot of people went along for the ride and bought into the fraud, and those of us who didn't buy what was being sold were roundly vilified or dismissed.
I hate to say "I told you so," but I will anyway. To all my detractors - to all those who accused me of being anti-American - I fucking well TOLD you so, assholes.
And what, pray tell, was the cost of this fraud?
Four thousand five hundred dead Americans, with thousands more wounded physically and psychologically.
Eight hundred billion dollars, as a ballpark figure; our economy was bled nearly white to finance an unjust war.
Perhaps a hundred thousand dead Iraqis.
So, you may ask - who won?
We certainly didn't. The US economy and the American people will be paying the butcher's bill for this fraud for decades to come. Geopolitically, the only winner in this contest is our current bete noir, the Islamic Republic of Iran. See, by removing Saddam's Iraq we removed the only regional counterweight to Iran.
In any sane and just universe, this would never have happened. The various elected leaders and their apparatchiks would have been laughed out of countenance, or at least marginalized. But this fraud was perpetrated, to a ruinous cost in lives and treasure, and who stands punished for it?
Again, in any sane and just universe, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, et. al. would be in prison or at least on trial, charged with one count of fraud and 4500+ counts of negligent homicide. Sadly, however, we do not live in a sane or just universe, so we see these hucksters making piles of money from speaking fees and book deals and lucrative 'consultant' contracts on various news outlets.
The right people never get hurt.
So that's where we are, ten years after the Great Fraud was sold to us, gentle readers. Have we learned? Will we prove a harder sell the next time someone tries to sell us a bill of goods that will sacrifice the lives of our troops needlessly?