We don’t need to add our commentary to the huge body of opinion already existing on the subject of Iraq. We all now know that the mission was a fool’s errand and that it wasn’t accomplished anyway.
We know, too, that it cost trillions of dollars and got a lot of people killed. Nor do we need reminding that it destabilised the Levant. (We never thought it was very stable in the first place.)
Still, we are looking on the bright side. The glass may be half empty for the US empire…but it’s filling up for its enemies.
The US invasion was arguably the best thing that ever happened to jihadists. It challenged them. It forced them to grow and adapt. Like an oversupply of antibiotics in a New Delhi hospital, US interference has wiped out the weakest of the terrorists and forced others to mutate into much more lethal varieties.
The war in Iraq led to dozens of experiments and innovations — in the art of insurgency as well as in organisational skills and management. What was just a handful of nut-job jihadists a few years ago, under pressure from the US military, has become far more powerful and much less amateurish.
Evidence of this new professionalism was supplied by the public statements of the latest and most headline-grabbing insurgent group: the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
The group has mastered not only the skills to kill people, but also the admin skills needed to operate a proto-government. According to press reports, it taxes…imposes law and order…engages in sophisticated propaganda…issues a detailed annual report…keeps electronic databases of its manpower and other resources…maintains budget and accounting standards at least as good as those of the US government…and actually runs a fiscal surplus!
It is just a matter of time, dear reader. Wait for the IPO! The bond issue! And the share buybacks!
The bitter end
Traditionally, leaders who lose a war do not get off scot-free. Either the enemy punishes them…or their own people do. Adolf Hitler, seeing the handwriting on the wall of his bunker, did the cowardly thing: He shot himself. Tojo was hanged.
Julius Caesar did the honourable thing to Vercingetorix. He brought him back to Rome in chains…paraded him through the streets in triumph…then had him strangled.
With the US Army moving quickly up the Italian peninsula, Benito Mussolini knew it was time to get out of town. The Italian government had already threw him out and defected from the Axis powers.
He and his mistress, Claretta Petacci, were in a German convoy headed to the border when they had the bad luck to be stopped by Communist partisans. The war was almost over for the Italians. But it was not a pretty ending.
The next day, the partisans shot Mussolini and his mistress…before hanging them from meathooks suspended from the roof of an Esso gas station in Milan (the same place that fascists had displayed the bodies of fifteen Milanese resistance fighters a year earlier).
What was Mussolini’s crime? He had led Italy into a disastrous war.
So our question for our fellow Americans is this: Are there no gas stations in the continental US?
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