If the world is reduced to ashes by a nuclear war between the United States and the many peoples who hate it, any surviving historians may well want to ask; “why?” Most of the answers trail back to the Iraq war of 2003, and the utter collapse it entailed. We could waste paragraphs on the waste of lives. The squandering of treasures. The unleashing of ISIS and a myriad of other groups, all in the name of a “War on Terror”. The chain of disasters which followed- such as the financial crash, Brexit and Trump. But we want to concentrate on the biggest, most awful miscalculation of all.
Jonathan Freedland is one of the most thoughtful, humble and intelligent of all the columnists we follow. (rare qualities indeed in a journalist, but let that pass for now) He is, and always has been, incredibly well-connected. And in those years preceding the Awful Catastrophe, he was buzzing around London and Washington. Bumping up against some of the third-rate minds with first-rate egos who caused the disaster. We’ve two of his columns for you here, one written yesterday and one in 2002. Get that, 2002. Before the Awful Catastrophe. Some prescience, huh?   For this was the passage that gave us goosebumps:
Some of the most sharp-clawed hawks are even hailing this as the first step in a much grander, global strategy: to paint the planet in stars and stripes, stretching US domination from Baghdad to Beijing. Once Saddam is out of the way, they whisper, Washington can turn to China. The aim: to keep America as the world’s sole superpower for decades to come.
Blinded by hubris, the Neocons around Bush, and their cheerleaders in the media, ignored one key fact. Their adventure sent a message; “one day, we’ll come for you“. In their self-confident universe, no centre of power, no possible alternative to Washington, was to be permitted. Not in Brussels, Moscow, Beijing, nor anywhere else. And so, as the war began, others took note, and began to arm. They may indeed be unpleasant regimes, staffed with unpleasant people. But from their point of view: who can blame them?
It is hard to convey to young people now the sense of a peaceful world, with limitless possibilities that existed between 1989 and 2002. Maybe the American unipolar moment was a Good Thing. But it is over now. As for why, those historians of the future might loo start their investigations in the years 2001 -2003 and ask why the following gentlemen* took the decisions they did: George W Bush. Donald Rumsfeld. Dick Cheney. Richard Perle, Rupert Murdoch and Douglas Feith. Thanks, boys.
#2003 #iraq war #george w bush #neocon #dick cheney #saddam hussein #ISIS #Al Queda #war on terror
- we entirely exempt Condoleeza Rice from any blame as we consider her to be a harmless, well intentioned woman who seemed to be bereft of agency in this whole sorry mess