So, apparently, the Iraq War has still been going on all summer, even though Hurt Locker won an Oscar and everything. Who knew! Well, Barack Obama did, and tonight, he announced its end, in an Oval Office address—the second of his presidency. What do you think, professional political troll Sarah Palin?
Ha, totally! Tons of people are going to bust out Burmese Days to learn more about the Iraq surge. Or, wait, does she mean Down and Out in Paris and London? Which Orwell is it that has the Barack Obama rewritten history decipher code?
Anyway. The address was nice enough, as these things go. (You can read the whole thing here.) Mostly, it was about the troops, who are just the best, aren't they? And also, a little bit about what a dumb idea it was to go to Iraq in the first place. And, of course, it was a little bit about the economy, and how, maybe, you know, spending a trillion dollars on a useless, pathetic adventure doesn't put us in the best position to recover from a recession, but even so, Barack Obama is totally committed to getting you a job.
There were no new announcements and no particular surprises. Why would there be? The war sucks. It has sucked, since 2003; it was based on a sucky ideology and founded on sucky evidence. There's nothing to do to make it suck less at this point except leave, which we're only sort of doing, and even that isn't a guarantee of anything. Future generations will look at it as a huge, wasteful embarrassment emblematic of a decade that, on the whole, sucked. It has sucked for our economy, for our political culture, for our global standing. Most of all, it has sucked for the 4,403 American soldiers who died in the war, and their families, and the families of uncounted dead Iraqis. And it will continue to suck for the families of the 50,000 U.S. troops still stationed there, and continue to suck for Iraqis.
But why think about bummers like that when there are so many other important things to talk about?