Learned a very short while ago that George W. Bush, the president who started the Iraq War in 2003, was getting an award for taking care of veterans of that same war. Kind of like rewarding the arsonist who started the fire, but then played a role in the bucket brigade that ultimately put out the fire. Problem is, the Iraq War was not a war that began with a action, a reaction and then a counter-reaction, etc., the way World War I or many other wars in history did.
No, the Iraq War was a straight-up war of unprovoked aggression. By early 2005, it was clear to even the most die-hard skeptic that the alleged provocation, Iraq's supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) were a mirage. No one in the 15 years since the war was launched has produced any serious revisions to the fundamental outline of "Bush lied, people died."
Veterans protesting the award.
Good description from our local paper of the awarding event. Bush's justification for starting the Iraq War: "[Bush] has spoken with many veterans over the years and 'most of them would say that they were proud to serve and they would do it again.'" Does that constitute an explanation? I guess it does to people who support the former president regardless. Former Vice-President Joe Biden presented the award. I can sort of, kind of give him a pass because he's known Bush personally for a long time but ..no, I really can't. I find Biden's condct inexcusable.
How do Iraqis currently feel about the war and occupation? Iraqi MP Ahmad Al-Assadi says: “After the big victory against these gangs [ISIS/Daesh], the Iraqi government has the right to evaluate the need for American forces to remain on Iraqi soil.” Assadi made it clear that the attitude of Iraq was not likely to ever improve. We may have done them some good by being in the country to help them fight ISIS, but now they'd like for us to leave.
The Global Policy Institute had identified six major areas where the US dramatically impacted Iraq. In 2007, there were 1.9 million internatl and 2 million external refugees. By 2010, many refugees had returned home, but Iraq was hardly what anyone would describe as peaceful.
In 2016, the British Chilicot Report outlined the major strategic blunders that turned the Iraq War from a successful battlefield conflict into a miserably conducted occupation. A British Battlegroup Commander claimed that Iran excercised a large role in the Iraq insurgency. That was extremely difficult to prove during the war as, unlike in the Vietnam War, Iran never supplied Iraqs with weapos they could not have manufacturd or purchased themselves. The North Vietnamese did not have the industrial capacity to produce tanks, but the AK-47 submachine gun was owned and sold all over the Middle East and Iraqis were producing their own version before the war.
Short clip of the protest. They were heard inside the tent where the award was being presented.