U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is exactly wrong when it comes to the nation’s military operations in Iraq.
In a response to President Barack Obama’s recent speech declaring the end of combat operations in Iraq, Inhofe released a statement that included this:
President Obama was wrong to be against the war in the first place, he was incorrect about the surge, and he still fails to recognize the strategic importance of the United States being in Iraq. Our effort to liberate the people of Iraq from the grip of one of the most dangerous and brutal dictators in the world cannot be overstated. In so doing, we have taken steps toward putting Iraq on the road to a democratic form of government that will provide stability to the region.
Here’s why Inhofe is wrong: (1) It’s disingenuous to argue that a future “democratic form of government” in Iraq is somehow intrinsic to our nation’s security or the region’s stability. Why not argue the same point about Saudi Arabia? (2) The military occupation, which has come at the cost of 4,418 American soldiers’ lives, has accomplished little. Iraq is still a mess and its government is unstable. The occupation has actually de-stabilized Iraq. (3) The so-called surge decreased American causalities, but it has done little to stabilize Iraq.
Here are some notable facts (in bold type) Inhofe left out of his press release about Obama’s speech:
Increasingly, Americans are tired of the continued military operations in Iraq. A recent CNN poll showed that 65 percent of Americans oppose the war and 62 percent argue it wasn’t worth fighting.
Besides the growing death toll of American soldiers another 31,929 soldiers have been wounded in Iraq, and some estimate that approximately 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the violence. American taxpayers have spent more than $740 billion to fight in Iraq, and that number increases by the day. With 50,000 troops still in Iraq, it’s almost certain Americans will spend at least $1 trillion on the occupation. That doesn’t account for the continuing medical care for wounded soldiers.
Speaking of getting it wrong, here’s what Inhofe said in a 2002 Meet The Press interview:
Our intelligence system has said that we know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction -- I believe including nuclear. There's not one person on this panel who would tell you unequivocally that he doesn't have the missile means now, or is nearly getting the missile means to deliver a weapon of mass destruction. And I for one am not willing to wait for that to happen."
We all know now American forces were unable to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
A major difference between the Iraq and Vietnam military occupations is that the country seems virtually unified in its appreciation for the troops these days, but that doesn’t mean the invasion wasn’t ill-advised or wasn’t based on lies and distortions. Inhofe was and still is wrong about the military occupation and no amount of political posturing will ever change that.