The Daily Beast
We’ve begun a new military adventure in Iraq, and Americans don’t seem to mind. Isn’t that, you know, kind of weird?
I was on the patio honoring the cocktail hour and reading the paper when my son, who was supposed to be mowing the lawn, said, “Dad, is America at war in Iraq?”
“Usually,” I said. “Let me check.” And, sure enough, there on page 5 of The Daily Bugle, “Obama Orders Airstrikes – Small Group of Military Advisors Deployed.”
Now, to a fellow my age, whose memory dates back to well before the Tonkin Gulf Incident, you’d think “airstrikes” and “small group of military advisors” would be cause for alarm. But this is Iraq. It was cause for a second scotch, which, to tell the truth, I was going to have anyway.
Aren’t we always at war in Iraq? Mightn’t the Bugle headline just as well have been “Cloudy in Seattle”?
War in Iraq is exciting the first few times but then begins to pall, the way sex, drugs, and rock and roll turn into marriage, Prilosec, and the One Direction concert I took my daughter to.
When I was a foreign correspondent, at the turn of the last century, it seemed like I was always rushing off to cover Desert Sword, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Desert Swipe, Desert Wipe-Up. Nowadays I wouldn’t even know where to rush. We seem to have “war in Iraq” automated.
Is war in Iraq one of those things that U.S. Presidents just do? Perhaps it’s among the arcane and incomprehensible routine Oval Office ceremonies such as photo ops in the Rose Garden with foreign leaders nobody’s ever heard of, or giving every member of congress a pen, all of which have been supposedly used to sign a pointless piece of legislation.
JFK’s C.I.A. was complicit in the February 1963 coup that overthrew Iraq’s dictator Abd al-Karim Qasim and killed 50,000 Iraqis.
Relations with Iraq were severed during the LBJ administration. That’s usually a prelude to war, and we might have had one if LBJ hadn’t been so busy in Vietnam.
Nixon armed Iraq’s Kurdish rebels.