Editor's Note: Andrew J. Bacevich is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. This post is one of four from the Council on Foreign Relations in response to the question, Was the Iraq War worth it?
By Andrew Bacevich
As framed, the question invites a sober comparison of benefits and costs - gain vs. pain. The principal benefit derived from the Iraq War is easily identified: as the war's defenders insist with monotonous regularity, the world is indeed a better place without Saddam Hussein. Point taken.
Yet few of those defenders have demonstrated the moral courage - or is it simple decency - to consider who paid and what was lost in securing Saddam's removal. That tally includes well over four thousand U.S. dead along with several tens of thousands wounded and otherwise bearing the scars of war; vastly larger numbers of Iraqi civilians killed, maimed, and displaced; and at least a trillion dollars expended - probably several times that by the time the last bill comes due decades from now. Recalling that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and alleged ties to al-Qaeda both turned out to be all but non-existent, a Churchillian verdict on the war might read thusly: Seldom in the course of human history have so many sacrificed so dearly to achieve so little.
Yet in inviting a narrow cost-benefit analysis, the question-as-posed serves to understate the scope of the debacle engineered by the war's architects. The disastrous legacy of the Iraq War extends beyond treasure squandered and lives lost or shattered. Central to that legacy has been Washington's decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.
Central to [the war's] legacy has been Washington's decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft.
One senses that this was what the likes of [Vice President Dick] Cheney, [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld, and [Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul] Wolfowitz (urged on by militarists cheering from the sidelines and with George W. Bush serving as their enabler) intended all along. By leaving intact and even enlarging the policies that his predecessor had inaugurated, President Barack Obama has handed these militarists an unearned victory. As they drag themselves from one "overseas contingency operation" to the next, American soldiers must reckon with the consequences. So too will the somnolent American people be obliged to do, perhaps sooner than they think.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Andrew Bacevich. For more, visit CFR.org.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
buy viagra buy viagra online paypal to buy viagra
viagra afhalen utrecht is viagra generic in canada viagra und levitra zusammen einnehmen
viagra how to purchase sildenafil citrate sildenafil pills 100mg
do my homework assignment writing critical essays essay on my college
personal writing essay college persuasive essay do my assignment for me now
essay geometry homework online coursework help
essay vikings writing an inspirational speech french homework
buy viagra online australa precription strength viagra overnight delivery generic viagra
essay writing difficulties write college papers for money thesis statement for abortion essay
buy research paper help writing essay paper essay formats for college
mba essay review essays on why i want to go to college essays about homework
non prescription cialis cialis 200mg buy cialis in cro
viagra prices viagra cost comparison viagra toronto store
cheap viagra south africa viagra online via paypal super viagra
cialis cheap buy cialis indien bezahlung mit paypal cialis no rx
what do the viagra pills look like viagra for women in australia where i can purchase viagra
genuine cialis no prescription cialis 20mg overnight buy cialis generic online 10 mg
generic cialis florida cialis dapoxetine cialis one a day with dapoxetine canada
viagra in pakistan viagra express paypal for viagra
viagra for sale in melbourne overnight delivery of viagra viagra how to buy without prescription
sildenafil citrate tablets viagra generic viagra viagra in india chennai
rx pharmacy online best drugstore mascara mens ed pills
thrifty drug store on line pharmacy best drugstore moisturizer
med rx pharmacy canadian pharcharmy best drugstore liquid eyeliner
best drugstore moisturizer ed medication best drugstore highlighter
ed meds online us pharmacy pharmacy near me
india pharmacy cheap erectile dysfunction pills online online pharmacy viagra
online drug store online pharmacy mexican pharmacy