Tony Karon in Rootless Cosmopolitan:
The Arabic world nakbah, denoting “catastrophe” best describes what George W. Bush and his American-Taliban administration has wrought in Iraq — and, as a result, what it has meant for the United States. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died as a result of Bush’s failed attempt to violently reorder the politics of the Middle East; 4 million have been displaced from their homes; more than 4,000 American troops have been killed and some 60,000 maimed in a war that smart estimates suggest will cost the U.S. economy $3 trillion — it currently costs America $12 billion a month to maintain an occupation whose time-frame remains open-ended. The Financial Times reported today that the war has already cost the average American household of four (like mine) $16,000 in taxes.
And this blood-drenched disaster has done absolutely nothing to advance U.S. strategic interests; on the contrary, it has dramatically debilitated U.S. strategic influence by graphically demonstrating not the extent, but the limits of American military power. The “shock and awe” mantra that the U.S. media so dutifully chanted at the war’s commencement sounds like a pretty sick joke now.