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An Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Specialist Israel Candelaria Mejias at Dover Air Force Base, Del., April 7. Specialist Candelaria Mejias died April 5 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when a mine detonated near him during combat ope
Sen. Lindsey Graham, in a throwaway bit of a wider piece covering Sen. John McCain's outrage over the thought that all of our hard-fought "gains" in Iraq coming to naught:
Graham echoed McCain’s views, but also acknowledged that new military action in Iraq likely would be unpopular with most Americans.

“To the American people, I know you’re war-weary, I know you’re tired of dealing with the Mideast,” he said. “But the people that are moving into Iraq and holding ground in Syria have as part of their agenda not only to drive us out of the Mideast, but to hit our homeland.”

First off, you don't need to say that Lindsey Graham "echoed McCain's views" on something. That part is implied. Second, let's have a trip down memory lane.

Remember back when the Iraq War sales campaign was going full force? Sure, Saddam Hussein was a monster and a tyrant, but the most important thing was that even though he didn't have anything to do with al Qaeda or with the September 11th attacks, he might have, or maybe he might have in the future, and we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. That was the whole premise of invasion—that Iraq was this close to becoming a hotbed of terrorism, and to stop it from happening we had to bomb them to smithereens, kill great numbers of them, reform a new government that liked us better and oh-by-the-way remake their entire economy to better look like what certain think-tank wags thought might be a really sweet idea. It was that, or the mushroom cloud.

More, below the fold.

Some of us wee folks took to the internets, back in those early days, to point out that many experts not directly affiliated with project Suck On This thought that things may not go quite according to the original plan, and that invading countries to convert them to democracy has a spotty track record, and that there was the distinct possibility that the people of Iraq did not want to be Shock and Awed, and would not Greet Us As Liberators, and that bombing a nation back to the stone age is considerably easier than the second part of the premise, rebuilding it in such a way as to not make the eventual outcome worse. This was considered the traitorous opinion, however, and the White House of the time scolded us all to Watch What We Say, and the goddamn Quakers got put on the official list of suspiciously not-American-enough people. Also too, freedom fries.

Slow forward to a decade later. The new Iraqi government is flimsy and corrupt; the Iraqi forces we spent a decade training and equipping seem a paper tiger at best. A sizable section of Iraq has now been placed under sharia law, of the "real" variety, and the people who planned and executed and/or promoted the Iraq War like it was a new brand of ultra-patriotic dessert topping are telling us that they told us so. They knew it would all go to hell, you see, and it is because we did not believe enough, and did not clap loudly enough, and did not spend enough trillions of dollars in the effort, and most importantly it is because we did the worst possible thing, we left, and of course the whole situation was going to go to hell in a handbasket if we ever left. So we couldn't leave. (That became clear almost from the beginning, once we had called on the troops for one more rotation, then two, then four, and then we started sending the National Guard in because the National that needed Guarding was Baghdad, not the fifty states, and it was all going to plan, you see, because any minute now it would all start looking like the original blueprints back in the vice president's man-sized safe.)

The only way any of this would have worked, according to the great geniuses of warfare and board game democracy-building, is if we became a permanent military fixture of the country. We weren't supposed to ever leave, and John McCain and Lindsey Graham want you, personally, to know that it was your stubborn public insistence on not having American men and women police the streets of Iraq from now until the fucking end of time that led us to here. We were probably Six More Months from stabilizing the whole country—for reals this time. We could have been out of Saigon by Christmas, p.s. never said which one.

All right, so here we are. We've got John McCain bitter that the original plan of Stay There Forever, It's Not My Ass On The Line was not adhered to with enough vigor. We've got Lindsey Graham, who understands that the American people are really, really tired of a goddamn decade of not-really-a-war with a side of don't-really-have-to-pay-for-it and a glass of your-kid-is-still-dead, sounding the alarm. We don't know how it happened, he says, and it's probably Obama's fault, he says, but somehow democracy in Iraq didn't take and now there are bona fide religious militants in Iraq who are threatening not only the Mideast, who are not only terrorizing the Iraqi population and threatening to undo all the hard work we put into bombing the shit out of them the first time around, but are planning:

to hit our homeland.
It looks for all the world like the official response to this, from the people that planned and executed and/or promoted the Iraq War like it was a new brand of ultra-patriotic dessert topping, is going to be to tell all of the rest of us that "they" told us so. That they knew this would happen, because everybody back a decade ago knew that Iraq would devolve into chaos and murder and terrorism and mushroom clouds if we invaded them and reduced their army to rubble and then somehow half-assed our way through a rebuilding effort whose more notable accomplishments included repainting some schools and building ourselves an embassy compound the size of a Florida amusement park. The people who sold the war to America knew that this would happen, and they tried to tell us naysayers and dirty hippies but nobody would listen to them. As the kids say today: No, really.

And so now we've got Lindsey Graham firing off the first new warning shot. If we don't do something in Iraq, the terrorists are going to hit our homeland. We've got John McCain telling us that what we really need to do is get Obama to fire his staff and replace them with the original planners of the Iraq War, people who "know how to win." As the goddamn kids say today, No. Really.

It's either military action in Iraq or the mushroom cloud, and the only reason it's happening is because the dirty hippies screwed up Iraq. We need the old crowd back together to protect us from the mushroom cloud, the crowd that planned out the Iraq invasion and planned out how we would rebuild Iraq into a fine and prosperous nation with McDonalds franchises and a Holiday Inn in every town, because the people who planned and executed and/or promoted the Iraq War like it was God and Jesus's own personal brand of dessert topping were just one more Bush term away from getting it right.

As the goddamn war-weary kids and their goddamn war-weary parents say these goddamn days, one decade later: No. Really.

Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 08:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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