By EV World
Sometime this week an unsuspecting American will become the 2000th combat death by official Pentagon count in the Iraq War. That has to weigh heavily on all the troops stationed in this Middle East quagmire.
It does for two outspoken critics of the war. Scott Ritter is the former chief U.N. weapons inspector and a 12-year U. S. Marine Corp veteran. Seymour Hersh's investigative journalism career stretches from his Pulitzer winning revelations about the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War to the scandal of Abu Ghraib in Iraq.
The two men met on C-SPAN to talk about Ritter's new book, Iraq Confidential, which lays equal blame for the troubles in Iraq on the last three American Administrations including Bill Clinton and his advisors. During their wide-ranging conversation, they speak with refreshing candor and frankness that elicited frequent applause. It's EV World's view that only when our leaders speak with similar forthrightness and honesty that we, as a nation, will learn from our mistakes and find an honorable way to extricate ourselves from the unfolding chaos, while leaving the Iraqi people with a more hopefully legacy, one that reflects the sincere intentions of the American people and not the machinations of a tiny cabal of neoliberal theorists bent on empire and a New America Century.
We took the liberty of recording the entire 83-minute program in MP3 format so our listeners can download it to their favorite players or listen online using the Flash player below Mister Ritter's photo.
So, why are we involving EV World in this issue? It would be easy to say it's all about just one word, oil.
But Iraq is a much more complex issue and truth be told, we may never know the exact reasons why the Bush Administration and its antecedents in various conservative think tanks and the media felt the removal of Saddam Hussein was important enough to gamble the nation's treasury, credibility and blood on such a risky enterprise. Oil certainly was an important factor, but so apparently was a grander scheme to impose some form of political stability in a long-troubled region of the world.
When historians analyze America's Iraq adventure, its financial costs will surely play an important role. The critical question will be, "Could America's power have been more gainfully employed in an aggressive effort to reduce the nation's dependence on the resources of such a troubled region"? If we coldly view the invasion and occupation as a "hostile take-over" in a corporate sense, my suspicion is that history will view it as a monumental financial disaster that squandered national resources on an unprecedented scale.
Already, America's war debts are having an impact on funding levels at the federal level. Despite Congress authorizing many promising energy programs in the 2005 Energy Policy Act, how many will actually have funds appropriated remains to be seen, in part because of the huge debts being run up by a war-- and a series of devastating hurricanes -- that was supposed to be over in a few weeks and reconstruction that was supposed be self-funded by... yes, Iraq's oil.
Maybe someday, but not today.
Addendum: Read Scott Ritter's new OpEd Indicting America in Common Dreams on the Lewis Libby indictment.