Friday, October 22, 2010

Moral Accounting in Iraq

I opposed the US invasion of Iraq from the beginning and still oppose our presence there. But I have always hoped that maybe, at the end of a decade of horror, Iraq might emerge as a better country than when we started. After all, Saddam was pretty awful.

Now we are seeing that hope unravel. The elections have become nearly irrelevant to a political process of maneuvering among Shiite insiders, who have frozen out secular and Sunni parties; in response, many Sunnis are abandoning politics and going back to the resistance. As to how the government will treat its Sunni opponents, we got a glimpse today in the form of a big new document dump from Wikileaks. These documents detail the systematic abuse of prisoners by the Iraqi and army and police over the past seven years.

I foresee increased terrorism and other acts of violence, tending back toward civil war between Sunnis and Shiites, with the government growing ever more authoritarian and ever more willing to employ horrific methods against its enemies.

Meanwhile, the latest attempt at a comprehensive count of deaths during the war puts the Iraqi toll at 100,000 to 120,000.

Was it worth it, America?

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