In an example of unparalleled hubris, Iraqi officials are demanding that the United States apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city. Officials are complaining that the blast walls installed by the U.S. to protect the public are ugly and that Humvees and vehicles have caused damage in patrolling the city and fighting insurgents.
The city released a statement saying “The U.S. forces changed this beautiful city to a camp in an ugly and destructive way, which reflected deliberate ignorance and carelessness about the simplest forms of public taste . . . Due to the huge damage, leading to a loss the Baghdad municipality cannot afford . . . we demand the American side apologize to Baghdad’s people and pay back these expenses.”
For those of us who opposed the war in Iraq, this is a particularly maddening moment. We continue to lose lives and billions in public funds as our states sell off parks, buildings, and cut critical programs. We have wasted billions of dollars in Iraq with little or no evidence of where money has gone.
In Afghanistan, we have a corrupt president who repeatedly states that he prefers the Taliban and views the United States as an enemy. Karzai also sought to tax U.S. contractors supporting his government and a bailout for his banks.
Yet, we continue to assume towering losses because our leaders are unwilling to take personal responsibility to pull us out of these countries. Rather than risk political backlash, President Obama and others allow our military personnel to die every day for countries that are increasingly openly hostile to us. This is becoming a truly Felliniesque farce.