U.S. and Iraqi negotiators have agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. combat forces from the country by the end of 2011, and Iraqi officials said they are “very close” to resolving the remaining issues blocking a final accord that governs the future American military presence here.
It may be over. In three years, it may be over.
After under-supplying our forces. After no planning for reconstruction or protection. After believing the intelligence that was a lie and ignoring the intelligence that was true.
After Scowcroft and Baker, closest friends of Bush’s father, bravely spoke out against going in. After the UN inspectors asked for more time. After a million people on a single day worldwide protested the war.
After the annihilating force of Shock and Awe. After the awesome courage of the troops like the famous “Generation Kill” 1st Recon and the brilliance of field leadership by commanders like Petraeus. After the battles of Nasriyah, Al Qut and the Thunder Run into Baghdad.
After every ministry was left to the looters – except the oil ministry. After treasures and palaces that had survived over six thousand years, from the earliest civilization, went unprotected and were lost forever to destruction and looting. After Shiite death squads began working even before the Saddam statue toppled.
After the Iraqi Army was disbanded. After the weapons caches were left open and unguarded. After nearly every official in public service prior to the war was banned from operating in public service ever again.
After things really began to fall apart.
After the UN presence was destroyed. After mass detentions began dragging Iraqis indiscriminately into dungeons like Abu Ghraib. After the Corporations – Blackwater, Halliburton, DynCorp – showed up and began acting without legal penalty.
After over $11 billion in overcharging to the American taxpayer by those corporations went unpunished. After faulty wiring began electrocuting troops, Blackwater convoys fired at civilians without warning as a matter of routine, buildings scheduled to be built were built late and broken.
After our soldiers paid out of their own pockets to employ Iraqi builders and to send themselves body armor. After “IED” became a household word. After we were told not worry.
After the “only real patriots” didn’t ask questions about the war. After everyone else was said to hate America. After political discourse in our country turned to poison.
After the complex atlas of hostile parties in Iraq were just “a few loyalist hold-outs.” After criticizing the war became “defeatist.” After the Iraqis were going to stand up, so that we could stand down.
After the Iraqis rose up.
After burning bodies in Fallujah. After the brutal battles of Sadr City. After Nasriyah exploded.
After we learned about Abu Ghraib sex torture. After we learned about the Haditha massacre. After we learned about the Mahmudiyah rape killings.
After we built oil lines that were blown up. After we shipped aid supplies that disappeared in the hands of the government. After the veteran suicide rate spiked.
After purple fingers on election day. After Saddam swung from the end of a rope with a Howard Hughes beard. After you stopped hearing people ask about WMDs.
After the Samarra mosque bombing turned slow massacres into all out war.
After Halliburton was investigated, found guilty and still employed. After Abu Ghraib was investigated, the soldiers were imprisoned and the DynCorp architects of torture never even charged by name. After the body counts shot up again.
After the Sunni butchering our troops were paid to become our agents against al-Qaeda. After Sadr was tricked into a ceasefire. After our troops attacked the very Iraqi government we had put in power, killing and capturing agents of Iran within it.
After the Surge forces arrived and began rolling back al-Qaeda. After security and commerce soared. After the body counts dropped.
Now, we might get to go home.