Sunday, November 26, 2006

A milestone

By Michael J.W. Stickings

For what it's worth, the Iraq War has gone on longer than U.S. involvement in World War II (if not yet WWII itself). It's now the fourth longest war in American history (or fifth, if the ongoing war in Afghanistan counts). But of course U.S. engagement in Iraq goes back much further than 2003. One could argue that the U.S. has been at war with (or in) Iraq since the Gulf War, the start of Operation Desert Storm in 1991 (or perhaps since the start of Operation Desert Shield in 1990). But then, of course, it could be argued that World War II was just an extension of World War I. And Vietnam began well before actual U.S. military operations.

But no matter. The point is that the Iraq War in its current incarnation, from March 2003 to the present, has gone on too long already, far longer than its naively optimistic architects predicted. This milestone, however artificial, serves to remind us of all that has gone wrong with this war ever since it was dreamed up as a serious option in the minds of Bush and his warmongers. It's been a disaster. And each and every day only seems to bring more disaster. And yet, phased withdrawal or not, U.S. involvement will go on for a long time -- even if the bulk of the U.S. military presence leaves, there will still be a war and there will still be some U.S. involvement in that war. Which means there will be yet more milestones ahead.

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