Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: No Clues from Cheney on Operation Enduring Mystery

Posted at 12:55 pm, September 10th, 2011
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

Iraq looks more and more like the proverbial tar baby the U.S. can’t get off its hands. The Obama administration had visualized getting rid of the sticky mess by year end but now several thousand American troops may well be slated for duty there beyond the planned departure date.

Speaking of the embarrassment that is Iraq, does anyone yet have a definitive idea of why the U.S. attacked the place? I had hoped that Dick Cheney, an ardent advocate of war against Saddam Hussein, would answer the riddle in his recent memoir, “In My Time.” Instead, Cheney offers up the usual platitudes about Saddam and terrorists and how he had made war on his own people, but on the central question of why the U.S. launched a war of aggression against Iraq, the multiple entries and 12 inches Cheney devotes to Iraq in his book’s index, yields not a clue.

The Bush administration called the war Operation Iraqi Freedom. A more apt designation would be Operation Enduring Mystery. It’s a mystery not only why the U.S. fought the war but why Congress and the American people have been so incurious about it.

The toll in Iraq included 4,500 U.S. military fatalities, 30,000 American troops wounded (many grievously) and more than 100,000 civilian casualties. Those losses alone should have produced a resounding call: WHY?

The explanation offered at the time, Saddam’s alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, never materialized, but no one has ever been held accountable for the fiction. Nor has there been an apology for misleading the country into war. Throughout it all the U.S. press stood idly by.

Have we become so accustomed to being bamboozled that we can no longer summon righteous indignation even when human lives are lost in a misbegotten military adventure?

Operation Enduring Mystery is one of the nation’s most unnecessary wars. Perhaps the country tolerated it because there was no draft or tax increase to support the conflict; the Bush administration simply put the war’s many billions on Uncle Sam’s credit card.

Belatedly, there is unhappiness with the deficit caused in part by the Iraq war. But no presidential candidate is raising questions about the war itself. That seems fated to disappear down the nation’s memory hole and remain an enduring mystery.

One Response to “No Clues from Cheney on Operation Enduring Mystery”

  1. Karl Drumm says:

    Dear Mr. Cranberg,
    Joe Scarborough once said on MSNBC “Morning Joe” show “We Americans are GOOD at winning wars” and guess what, I almost spilled my cup of coffee.When you hear him and his probaganda and how he pads himself and the country on the back then as foreigner you believe there is NO PROBLEM IN PARADISE!
    The fact is that every time there is or was a war we always created a new one so the the military industrial complex stays in business like Holliwood is “SHOW BUSINESS” the Military has to have their “WAR BUSINESS”!
    I am a serviver of WWII and when the war was ended I just had turned 9 years old.And as history was made the American goverment made the biggest mistake by giving the Russian occupy the city of Berlin.George Patton (God bless his sole) was really the only SMART American General who noticed the handwirting on the wall that the Russian were more trouble down the road and he was willing with help of the rest of the German Army to drive the Russians back to Moscau where they belonged.
    Right at this point because nobody listened to him the foundation for the start of the “COLD WAR” was created and evry thing else was just a continuationn of the problems the Russians handed us like the “IRON CURTAIN”, the Hungarian revolution, and you could go on and on.
    Then some people claim but we won the cold war which did not have to be in the first place.
    Our policy has been:The FRIEND of today is our ENEMY of tomorrow! We are great of killing innocent women and children but it takes 10 years to kill a terrorist!!!!!

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