How can four years seem so long?
Unless I really stop and count the years, it seems that we've always been in Iraq.
In the darkest moments, looking forward, it seems that we will always be in Iraq.
What have we gotten for those four years? Three thousand plus dead American soldiers. Ten times that many - or more - injured. Fifty times that many - or more - Iraqis dead. Uncounted more injured. As if we ever thought it possible we are more hated in the Middle East than ever before. We are estranged from many of our formerly closest allies. Our civil rights have been egregiously curtailed. The Constitution torn and shredded by secrecy and lies.
And that's just the near-term legacy.
Our children and grandchildren will be paying for this "war on credit" for their entire lives. Not just the cost of the continuing funding resolutions or the cost of rebuilding a worn out military. But also the continuing costs of caring for the thousands of critically wounded soldiers and the ensuing costs of mental health care for their families, the costs of helping those families whose primary earner has been killed or injured. The legacy we will leave in the world will be no better: anger at our leaders' hubris and naked imperialism will taint global relations and security for a century or more.
And should our politicians find it impossible to manage an honorable end to the mess they've created our children and grandchildren will literally be paying for BushCo.'s arrogance and ignorance with their lives.
And at some point in that dark, dystopic future our children will wonder why it seems that we've always been in Iraq.
And four years will seem like such a short time.