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The ignominious war in Iraq is now five years old. Much was proferred by the proponents of war in the buildup to this crusade. We were warned that we needed to take immediate action to rid the planet of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. We were told that the “liberation” of Iraq’s long oppressed masses was at hand. We were reminded incessantly about the grave threat the entire planet faced from this latest “Hitler.” Alas, none of their statements were true.

And here we are in 2008. We’re five years into an undeclared war that is illegal according to the United States Constitution. We’re reminded daily by the neoconservative satraps of the Bush administration that the U.S. must continue this war in Iraq until victory is achieved. But what constitutes victory? Since this war is reputed to be part of the larger War on Terror, is the U.S. going to stay until every last suspected terrorist in the world has been killed, or at least waterboarded into admitting he is a terrorist? Or will victory come when Iraq has a stable and suitably pro-American government in place? Which begs this question. If establishing freedom for Iraqis was really the goal, then why didn’t the U.S. simply leave the country immediately after Saddam Hussein was captured? Could it be that there are actually different types of “freedom?” On the one hand there could be the generic and quite possibly dangerous to American interests brand of “freedom.” While on the other hand there could be the “correct, American government approved freedom.” I wonder…

Anyway, I just thought I’d take this opportunity to highlight some of the key U.S. government “accomplishments” during the past five years of “Iraqi liberation.” But first I’d like to draw your attention to the number 935. For that is the number of lies told by members of the Bush Administration in their effort to sell this war.

And speaking of the Decider, there is the number 3,857. That would be the number of American deaths in Iraq since he declared “mission accomplished” on May 1, 2003.

Of course, other numbers are quite significant as well. Take for instance the number 1,191,216. This is the estimated total of Iraqi deaths that have resulted from the U.S. led invasion of their country.

And how about this statistic? Since 2003, as a result of the violence in their nation, nearly 5,000,000 Iraqis have become refugees. I suppose they are just thrilled that the American occupiers have brought them “freedom” from their homes.

But that’s not all. Thanks to the abysmal security situation in their country, many Iraqis now have “freedom” from the fetters of employment, as well. There are nearly 200 major factories in Iraq that used to employ over 300,000 people. Most of those plants are now closed.

Ah, but I can hear it already! I hear those shrieks of “Hey, Ed, its the terrorists in Iraq that are creating the security problem, NOT the United States government!”

Well, the thing is, those terrorists wouldn’t be in Iraq right now if the U.S. hadn’t invaded in 2003.

But now I hear the shrieks again. “But, Ed, are you saying that you liked Hussein? Don’t you remember how he tortured people? Don’t you remember how evil he was?!”

Believe me, as a libertarian I harbored no affection for Hussein. He embodied everything that libertarians abhor in government and human beings in general. But, and here is the crux of the issue. Hussein was no threat to the national security of the United States. The internal problems of Iraq should be solved by the people of Iraq, not by the United States military.

The Soviet Union once posed a much greater threat to its own people and to the United States than Hussein ever could have. And what happened there? The United States was not required to liberate the Russians from the yoke of Communism. Against a truly menacing State the people simply stopped obeying the orders of their leaders. Soviet Communism crumbled from within.

Within the Iraq War we see things crumbling as well. But, in this case, it’s nothing to celebrate. Just take a look at this gut wrenching story from the USA Today concerning the effects of the war on Iraqi children. Imagine dealing with this situation when you were a kid:

“Many Iraqi children have to pass dead bodies on the street as they walk to school in the morning, according to a separate report last week by the International Red Cross. Others have seen relatives killed or have been injured in mortar or bomb attacks.

‘Some of these children are suffering one trauma after another, and it’s severely damaging their development,’ said Said Al-Hashimi, a psychiatrist who teaches at Mustansiriya Medical School and runs a private clinic in west Baghdad. ‘We’re not certain what will become of the next generation, even if there is peace one day,’ Al-Hashimi said.”

How many of these children will look back fondly on the time when the Americans came to “liberate” them?

Finally, as if the Constitutional and humanitarian cases against this war aren’t enough to elicit widespread condemnation from Americans, there is the financial cost of fighting this war. How about the nice round figure of 3 trillion dollars? Just read what Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes have to say about it. Boy, this empire expansion thing sure is an expensive business!

And just think. Five years of the Iraq War is really no time at all. If John McCain wins in November, we can look forward to another 95! What joy!

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