Following President Bush's 13-minute swan song last night, one may wonder “whatever happened to the Iraq war?” The President did admit "there are things he would have done differently," but failed to own up to the biggest disaster of his eight years.
Iraq is the place where 4,219 U.S soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have died since the launch of that unnecessary invasion. That includes 24-year-old Justin Bauer (Loveland, Colo.) and 20-year-old Sean McCune (Euless, Tex) who were killed this week. Christmastime brought the deaths of Jon Dean (25) of Henegar, Ala. and Coleman Hinkefent (19) of Coweta, Okla.
President-elect Barack Obama’s transition rightfully stole the show with the No. 1 ranking.
That was followed by the invasion of Gaza, Blago/Burris saga, financial crisis and Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. The new Congress, flooding in the Pacific Northwest, auto industry collapse, Russia/natural gas shipments and Bush’s last days in office rounded out the list.
Admittedly, the Iraq occupation has been a long and tough slog. There is much more fun for papers to report “news” about the latest medical miracle, such as a drug to grow longer and lusher eyelashes.
The Iraq debacle though is at the core of America’s problems. The $3T outlay is far greater than the $850B economic stimulas package proposed by the Democrats. Fixing Iraq is one of the best ways to bolster the economy. As Stiglitz wrote in the Washington Post, “money spent paying Nepalese workers in Iraq (or even Iraqi ones) doesn't stimulate the U.S. economy the way that money spent at home would.”
The media need to hold Obama to his promise to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. The best way to do that is for Iraq to return to Pew’s Top Ten list.