Ten years ago.
Close to 200,000 people dead. Most of them civilians.
To say nothing of the more than 30,000 US soldiers wounded — many with debilitating injuries they will carry for the rest of their lives.
Or the undetermined number of “excess deaths,” likely in the hundreds of thousands — those who died not necessarily from bullets or bombs but from the general disruption of war.
Or the 3 to 5 million people displaced, many driven from their homes forever — including most of Iraq’s Christian minority.
Or the nearly $2 trillion price tag of this war. Never paid for, and about 25 times higher than what was promised.
Or the most recent projection, which puts the final price tag at $6 trillion, once the full cost of veteran care is accounted for.
That’s $6 trillion we don’t have to spend on our children’s education, healthcare, international aid, infrastructure, environmental cleanup, or any number of other worthy endeavors.
All in the pursuit of weapons that didn’t exist.
Was it worth it?
For me personally, Iraq marked a turning point. It was the last war I will ever be lured into supporting.
Like most Americans, I threw my support behind the call to arms. September 11 showed us how vulnerable we are (even though Iraq had nothing to do with the events of that day).
I wanted to feel safe again. I wanted to believe that a little bit of “shock and awe” could deliver on its promise of security.
It couldn’t and it didn’t, because there is no such thing as redemptive violence. There is no such thing as a war to end all wars. Violence only ever breeds more violence.
“Peace through victory” is the myth of empire. It didn’t work for the Romans, and it will not work for us.
May God forgive us for what we’ve done to ourselves and to the people of Iraq.
Ten years on, kyrie elieson.
Lord, have mercy.