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2017: The Year the Iraq War Truly Ended

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The year 2017 saw America’s serial wars in Iraq ending with a whimper, not a bang. And in the oddest of ironies, it may be that Donald Trump, the fifth president to preside over U.S. military operations in Iraq, has more or less ended it, whether he had much to do with or not.

With Baghdad declaring victory over ISIS [2] (with U.S. military and Iranian assistance), U.S. officials say the number of troops remaining there could end up being far lower than the 5,500 there today. The lowest since the invasion in 2003.

Ironically, however, after a quarter-century of American conflict in Iraq, the U.S. seems to have less influence there than it ever did before.

How did this happen?

The Tweetable version: Our wars in Iraq—from Desert Storm in 1991 to the present—thrust the region into chaos while progressively erasing American dominance. Iran is picking up the pieces. As long as the U.S. insists on not opening diplomatic relations with Tehran, it will have no way short of war to exert any influence, a very weak position. Knowing this, other nation-states in the Middle East will move to diversify their international relationships (think Russia and China). Regional politics, not American interests, will drive events.

After five administrations and 26 years, the United States paid a high price for what will have to pass as a “victory.” Some 4,500 American dead, hundreds of thousands killed on the Iraqi side, and $7.9 trillion [3] taxpayer dollars spent.

Furthermore, the U.S. sacrificed [4] its long-term alliance with the Kurds and their dreams of a homeland to avoid a rift with Baghdad; the dead-end of the Kurdish independence referendum [5] vote this autumn became a handy date for historians to cite, but the Kurds were really done the day they were no longer needed to help us fight the Islamic State. Where once pundits [5] wondered how the U.S. would chose a side when the Turks and Kurds went to war both armed with American weapons, it appears the U.S. could care less about what either does over the disputed borderlands they both crave.

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The big winner [6], of course, is Iran. In 2017, Iran has no enemies on either major border (Afghanistan, to the east, thanks again to the United States, is unlikely to reconstitute as a national-level threat in anyone’s lifetime), and Iraq is now somewhere between a vassal state and a neutered puppet of Tehran.

As for Iran’s arch rivals in Saudi Arabia, again there is only good news for Iran. With the Sunnis in Iraq hanging on with the vitality of an abused shelter dog (and Iranian-supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad apparently to remain in power [7]), Saudi influence is on the wane. In the broader regional picture, unlike the Saudi monarchs, Iran’s leaders do not rule in fear of an Islamic revolution. They already had one. With its victory in Iraq, stake in Syria, and friends in Lebanon, Iran has pieced together a land corridor to the Mediterranean at a very low cost. If it was a stock, you’d want to buy Iran in 2018.

Going forward, Trump is unlikely to pull troops out of Iraq entirely, having seen the political price Obama paid for doing so in 2011. The troops will stay to block the worst of any ugly Shia reprisals against the Sunnis, and to referee among the many disparate groups (Peshmerga, Yazidi, Turkmen, the Orwellian-named/Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, along with animated militias and factions of all flavors) who the U.S. armed willy-nilly to defeat ISIS.

This isn’t just abstract caution—Americans put a lot of weapons onto the battlefield over the last 15 years, and a reckoning is feared. The armed groups mostly set aside differences dating from Biblical times to fight ISIS, but with that behind them, about all they still have in common is mutual distrust [8]. There is zero chance of any national cohesion and zero chance of any meaningful power-sharing by Baghdad. U.S. goals include keeping a lid on things so no one back home starts looking for someone to blame in the next election cycle, wondering what went wrong, and what we should be doing about it. How well the U.S. will do at keeping things in line, and the long term effects of so many disparate, heavily-armed groups rocketing around greater Mesopotamia, will need to be seen.

U.S. troops perma-stationed in Iraq will also be a handy bulwark against whatever happens next in Syria. In addition, Israel is likely to insist in so many ways that the United States garrison parts of western Iraq as a buffer against expanding Iranian power, and to keep Jordan from overreacting to increased Iranian influence.

Iran has already passively agreed to most of this. It has little to gain from a fight over some desert real estate that it would probably lose to the Americans anyway, when their prize is the rest of Iraq. And if any of this does presage some future U.S. conflict with an Iran that has gotten “too powerful,” then we shall have witnessed a true ironic tragedy and a historic waste of American blood and resources.

In the longer view, the Iraq wars will be seen as a turning point in the American Empire. They began in 1991 as a war for oil, the battle to keep the pipelines in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia open to the United States’ hungry mouth. They ended in 2017 when Persian Gulf oil is no longer a centerpiece of American foreign policy. Once oil no longer really mattered, Iraq no longer really mattered.

More significantly, the Iraq wars created the template for decades of conflict to come. Iraq was the first forever war. From oil, the reasons for being there shape-shifted effortlessly to containing Saddam via air power to removing weapons of mass destruction to freeing Iraq from an evil dictator to destroying al Qaeda to destroying the Islamic State to now, a buttress against Iran. Over the years the media dutifully informed the American people what the new rationalization was, reporting the changes as it might report the new trends in fashion—for fall, it’s shorter hemlines, no more al Qaeda, and anti-ISIS, ladies!

The Iraq wars changed the way we look at conflict. There would never again be a need for a formal declaration of war, such decisions now clearly were within the president’s whims and ordinations. He could ramp things up, or slow things down, as his mind, goals, temperament, and often domestic political needs, required. The media would play along, happily adopting neutral terms like “regime change” to replace naughty ones like “overthrow.” Americans were trained by movies and NFL halftime salutes to accept a steady but agreeably low rate of casualties on our side, heroes all, and be hardened to the point of uncaring about the millions [9] of souls taken as “collateral damage” from the other. Everyone we kill is a terrorist, the proof being that we killed them. Play a loud noise long enough and you stop hearing it.

The mistakes of the first forever war—Vietnam—were fixed: no draft, no high body counts for Americans, no combative media looking for atrocities, no anguish by the president over a dirty but necessary job, no clear statement of what victory looks like to muddle things. For all but the most special occasions the blather about democracy and freeing the oppressed was dropped.

More insidiously, killing became mechanical, nearly sterile from our point of view (remember the war porn images of missiles blasting through windows in Iraq war 1.0, the high tech magic of drone kills, video game death dispensed from thousands of miles away). Our atrocities—Abu Ghraib is the best known, but there are more—were ritualistically labeled the work of a few bad apples. Meanwhile, the other side’s atrocities were evil genius, fanaticism, campaigns of horror. How many YouTube beheading videos were Americans shown until we all agreed the president could fight ISIS forever?

Without the Iraq wars there would be no multi-generational war in Afghanistan, and no chance of one in Syria. The United States currently has military operations underway in Cameroon, Chad, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Uganda, and Yemen. Each one will do as the answer to one last question: Where will America fight its next forever war, the lessons of Iraq well-learned, the president ready?

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well [10]: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper’s War [11]: A Novel of WWII Japan. Follow him on Twitter @WeMeantWell [12]

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35 Comments (Open | Close)

35 Comments To "2017: The Year the Iraq War Truly Ended"

#1 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 29, 2017 @ 11:37 pm

I would like to head off any notions that the US won the war in Iraq. There is not evidence of peace with honor. It is just not possible to acknowledge the effort as a win. That is not because the US military lost battles. But the nation as a whole fell apart during the invasion, the occupation of the US.

The US succeeding in removing Pres Hussein and in that effort catapulted our most difficult adversary into a prime position to be a dominant force in the region creating more undo pressures for other Sunni states.

Just two other challenges in this narrative.

1. Our response to 9/11 was the turning point. We have not recovered. Osama Bin Laden was successful. His intention to draw the US out of its protective military posture of defense has succeeded. It has also accomplished something that Al Qaeda could not accomplish in a one on one (FtF) confrontation. Iraq is a disaster on multiple levels, but it is the never ending war on terror that is going to be the long term ruse. In the convoluted world of Iraqi politics, I am remain reticent on whether ISIS is a big win for the US. The real force was always going to be the Shia, that we aided in unleashing unrelenting civil war. I suspect that this is all part of the Islamic revolution.

But no one who cheer leaded that invasion has been held to account. Aside from blaming Pres Bush, the same players expanded the mistake into Libya, Syria etc., and left to their own devices, they would go on doing so.

US forces have been in Africa since at least Pres Bush and probably longer, though I have heard of no plans to engage in wholesale regime change — maybe friendly persuasion is working.

I think Pres Trump consider very carefully what he is willingly being baited into concerning the use of force. China is not going to bug out of Africa. The US has never been isolationist and there is no way we can be. But if we want to cash in on Africa’s wealth, we had better have more than big guns.

2. I think the opposite is true concerning the referenced corrections. They allowed the country to avoid the national buy in that would have caused greater debate on the use of force.

I don’t think the US is done yet. but it may be that we have over extended ourselves in ways we can’t repair. I hope not —

#2 Comment By Bankotsu On December 30, 2017 @ 1:17 am

“They began in 1991 as a war for oil, the battle to keep the pipelines in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia open to the United States’ hungry mouth.”

Actually no. Saddam Hussein wanted to sell oil to the entire world to pay off huge Iraqi debts. He complained that oil prices were too low!

In 1991, the cold war was concluding and Europe and Japan had forces that wanted to break away from U.S. control now that USSR was no longer a threat. Japan wanted to say “no” to U.S. and some in europe wanted NATO to end and U.S. forces to withdraw. U.S. economy was weak in 1991 and there were doubts globally on U.S. staying power.

The 1991 war in Iraq was designed as a display of U.S. military power to warn these forces that U.S. was STILL the no.1 superpower and that U.S. was in fact here to STAY, AFTER the cold war.

U.S. still called the shots and the 1991 gulf war demonstrated that fact for the entire world to see.

#3 Comment By Fran Macadam On December 30, 2017 @ 1:35 am

In the calculations of our military industrial war economy, manufacturing peacetime good having largely been outsourced and offshored for the benefit of elites, prosperity depends upon constant warfare. Under this paradigm, the only wars that would be lost, would be the ones that end.

Echoing Randolph Bourne, war is the health of our deep state.

#4 Comment By Realist On December 30, 2017 @ 1:56 am

A very insightful piece. I particularly liked the way it traces the historical development of that many-headed Hydra, the US military-industrial complex, on its mindlessly destructive path through the world from Vietnam to the present-day Middle East. So many lives needlessly ruined, so much of our national treasure squandered, and so many military contractors obscenely enriched. And all to the detriment of our true national interest around the world. Now the monster is completely out of control, and US foreign policy consists of the business of war wrapped up in pro-democracy and pro-Israel ideological packaging. The transition from republic to empire is complete, and the end is not far off.

#5 Comment By Bankotsu On December 30, 2017 @ 2:48 am

“2017: The Year the Iraq War Truly Ended”

Yes I agree.

The U.S. hegemonic project in middle east was completely defeated in 2017.

There are still U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, but they are just going through the motions.

Iraq war in 2003 was designed to be part of larger agenda of getting rid of every single regime in the region that didn’t kowtow to U.S. global hegemony.

That agenda was finished and defeated in 2017.

Other forces have entered the fray.

Time now is to hunt down those who were the vanguard in pushing U.S. into this mess in the first place – the neo cons.

#6 Comment By Realist On December 30, 2017 @ 3:47 am

The war in Iraq isn’t over.

#7 Comment By Barry On December 30, 2017 @ 8:14 am

“The troops will stay to block the worst of any ugly Shia reprisals against the Sunnis, and to referee among the many disparate groups (Peshmerga, Yazidi, Turkmen, the Orwellian-named/Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, along with animated militias and factions of all flavors) who the U.S. armed willy-nilly to defeat ISIS.”

Not with ~5,000 troops. They’re there more to try to keep half an eye on things, and to maintain bases for moving more troops in.

#8 Comment By Barry On December 30, 2017 @ 8:15 am

But other than that, a great article!

#9 Comment By Michael Kenny On December 30, 2017 @ 9:26 am

Where will America fight its next forever war? Ukraine, perhaps? The world has now discovered that Trump bawls and blusters but does nothing. The American “business model” of world domination requires permanent war. No war, no domination; no domination, no America. Four years of doing nothing will bring the US to its knees (to say nothing of the effect of eight years!). Trump needs a war to validate his presidency. He’s slowly eliminating all the options other than Putin. The mysterious ways of the Orient boggle American minds. Brought up on the cold war, unable to distinguish between the present-day Russian Federation and the former Soviet Union and convinced (wrongly, in fact!) that they understand Europeans, Americans can easily understand a conflict with “Russia”. Sooner or later, Trump will have to get there.

#10 Comment By Nance On December 30, 2017 @ 9:49 am

The next forever war will be at home.

There is no amount of war that can fix what ails the United States of America but that won’t stop us from trying.

#11 Comment By Ken T On December 30, 2017 @ 10:04 am

US Foreign Policy – Empowering Iranian radicals since 1953!

#12 Comment By Randy Williams On December 30, 2017 @ 10:10 am

It’s a mess I guess, with no solution. Or, at least, I didn’t see one in this article. I did notice that, according to the article, there have been 2 “first” forever wars…. “Iran was the first forever war.” And “The mistakes of the first forever war – Vietnam – were fixed.” Oh dear. I feel a Monty Python sketch coming on. Which leads me to my final quibble – with the term “American Empire”. There has never been such an empire despite all the American influence in the world. America is more like a Social Worker than an Emperor. Hence the mess.

#13 Comment By Nance On December 30, 2017 @ 11:02 am

Lets just be honest here: The world is literally ending. The myriad of crises resulting from the collapse of the world’s sole remaining superpower will plunge the world into nuclear war. We’ve got maybe 10 years left I’d say….I’m not entirely confident we will even make it through Trump but certainly not long thereafter.

Saudi Arabia cannot defend itself from Iran without the United States backing it. South Korea and Japan cannot defend themselves from China without the United States backing them. Europe cannot defend itself from Russia without the United States backing it. We are attempting to defeat terrorism military but in doing so we create open perpetual conflict zones that terrorism thrives in. We’ve killed a lot of terrorists and yet there are always more (and will be again).

Our military is badly overextended and cannot resolve these crises militarily to begin with. It is just spinning its wheels in conflict zones that are left open. We are so divided at home that we cannot agree on whether we are in or out and what values we wish to project onto the rest of the world.

Without U.S. leadership there will be chaos because the world has been dependent on that leadership for the past 75 years. And chaos means world war.

#14 Comment By johnny b davis On December 30, 2017 @ 1:12 pm

The war is not over. We are in beginnings stages of the great Sunni Shitte Regional War which will rip apart the Middle East.

Even that is likely only a prelude to a great wave of Islamic radicalism sweeping across the Islamic world bringing down regime after regime.

We are heading toward the great clash of civilizations which Western Elites have sworn could never happen.

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 30, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

” And “The mistakes of the first forever war – Vietnam – were fixed.” Oh dear. I feel a Monty Python sketch coming on.”

I will not engage in a legnthy rehash of Vietnam or why we won that conflict and how. i am going to eschew the long drawn out narratives about the evils of war and the ultimate political motivations of social revolution by protesters engaged in false narratives. But the one lesson that remains unlearned — once you actually have a victory — you must ensure that it is secured.

To secure Iraq would have required

a. the continued admin by the Baathists
b. a massive intrusion of US or allied forces
or
c. a combination of both a and b.

What we should have done is enlisted the aid of Iraq in exchange for an easing of sanctions and several other helpful measures to rebuild Iraq. But our leadership has remained stubbornly wedded to justifying the invasion and that has been costly in multiple ways on multiple levels.

apparently I love the weeds more than being “in”.

#16 Comment By Odyss On December 30, 2017 @ 1:42 pm

I would not worry about Iran. Trump, being pro-oil and gas exporting, is putting a yuge crimp in the military adventures of all petro-states like Russia and Iran. Wait until the reality of a LNG pipeline from a port on the Atlantic coast of Europe to supply Europe with lots of gas and oil. THEN Iran and Russia will really see their military adventures take a dive.

#17 Comment By IssacNewton On December 30, 2017 @ 1:43 pm

The key problem was not the overthrow of Saddam, but our attempt to transform the region into some sort of democracy. The war cost $600M, the other 6 Trillion was transformation. If we arm and work through proxies the costs will be much less. This i how balanced opposition cultures work.

#18 Comment By Ken T On December 30, 2017 @ 3:38 pm

Without U.S. leadership there will be chaos because the world has been dependent on that leadership for the past 75 years

It is the US “leadership” that has been creating the chaos for the past 75 years.

#19 Comment By Twinpinesmall On December 30, 2017 @ 3:55 pm

–$7.9 Trillion in taxpayer dollars spent–

Well, to paraphrase Michael Rivero, “$7.9 Trillion here, $7.9 Trillion there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money!”

#20 Comment By Fran Macadam On December 30, 2017 @ 4:39 pm

“There has never been such an empire despite all the American influence in the world. America is more like a Social Worker than an Emperor”

A social worker outfitted as a SWAT team that comes to your house with guns blazing, asking questions, if ever, much later.

If there’s no empire, there would be no need for sanctions backed up by garrisoning the world.

#21 Comment By tim On December 30, 2017 @ 5:30 pm

I guess this may be simplistic ,but Iraq is not a bitter enemy as it was under Saddam.

#22 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 30, 2017 @ 7:07 pm

“I guess this may be simplistic ,but Iraq is not a bitter enemy as it was under Saddam.”

Iraq has never been a bitter enemy of the US. The issues of whether Kuwait owed Iraq money for his taking on: the Islamic revolution, annexing former territory back into Iraq proper or whether Pres Hussein had the right to bump up or down his oil prices regardless of OPEC agreement is a question for discussion. But until the Kuwait invasion Iraq and the US were timidly cozy pals. We as a nation believed so many bizarre claims about the Iraqi invasion repeated by a media that should have known better. one of the most popular and still repeated is how Iraqi soldiers left a baby to die in an incubator (that story is much worse). Iraq became an enemy when we and others chose to remove them from Kuwait. Had we not invaded in Iraq in 2003, there’s every reason to believe we could have settled those difference.

But interventionists for democracy and capitalism – more accurately “mercantilism” used 9/11 as excuse to promote regime change. The invasion was a hop skip and a jump.

Regime change via occupation was a disaster. Here pres. Bush was spot on, 100 years of occupation would not have been far off a good start, along with 30,000 plus more troops and personnel.

#23 Comment By Masood Voon On December 30, 2017 @ 7:49 pm

I’m sorry that this guy isn’t mature enough to realize that war is necessary to stop even larger atrocities sometimes. To compare Abu Ghraib with what ISIS did to the Yizdis for example is absurd but seem to be comparisons the author fails to grasp. The Middle East is a concentration of religious, trade, national, and ethnic rivalries that to isloate one as a root cause is also ludicrous.

#24 Comment By Realist (the first one) On December 30, 2017 @ 8:39 pm

One quibble I have with the author is his talk of “US troops perma-stationed in Iraq”. Doesn’t he realize that the Iraqi government might have something to say about this? There are significant forces in Iraq that are anti-American and that want our troops out (e.g., the forces of Muqtada Al-Sadr, the Iranian-backed militias of the PMU, etc.). Now that ISIS has been vanquished, their voices will likely grow louder. If a war involving Israel breaks out, we will inevitably be drawn into supporting Israel, which will exponentially increase our unpopularity in the Muslim world, including in Iraq. If the Iraqi government asks us to leave, we will have no choice but to go. That would indeed be a fitting end to the dreams of Empire with which the 2003 Iraq War began.

#25 Comment By Gazza On December 31, 2017 @ 12:16 am

@tim

“I guess this may be simplistic ,but Iraq is not a bitter enemy as it was under Saddam.”

In fact, Iraq was NOT a “bitter enemy” but an ally that the US fell out with following mixed messages Washington had sent to Baghdad regarding the Kuwaiti theft of Iraqi oil and reneging on promises associated with financial aid given during the war against Iran. Baghdad took the US at face value, acted on Kuwait, only to find the sands had shifted.

Saddam always expected the US would eventually agree to a grand bargain to allow Iraq to come in from the cold. He rightly understood that Iraq was key to “containing” non-Arab Persia and mistakenly assumed that Washington would eventually see sense and agree to ratcheting down tensions in exchange for some concessions. He never understood the venal and short-sighted nature of Murican political elite until it was too late. The great tragedy is that the entire affair could (and should) have been avoided by allowing Iraq to come out of the cold, but Washington stupidly demanded full spectrum dominance and total capitulation of Iraq and removal of Hussein from power.

Cynically using 9/11 as an excuse to invade and kick-off a 7-nation campaign against ME nations that refused to bend knee was the worst possible response the US could have conceived.

#26 Comment By My Least Favorite Martians On December 31, 2017 @ 1:28 pm

Over? Try telling that to the rabies patients in Congress and DoD.

When they say “forever” they mean “forever”, bub.

#27 Comment By Frank Sherwood-St.John On December 31, 2017 @ 3:50 pm

I am amazed that this passed editorial muster. How does one leave out the Kurds but add the Peshmerga and Yazidi to Iraq insurgents. How does the tail end of only the most recent conflagration of the Fertile Crescent seem like an endless war. And the US Congress voted twice for this war. It was not ramped up and down at will. Someday we might try voting to end a war.

#28 Comment By Nelson On December 31, 2017 @ 8:49 pm

I guess this may be simplistic ,but Iraq is not a bitter enemy as it was under Saddam.

We labeled them an enemy because the Bush and Saud families have strong ties. If we just stayed out of the middle east altogether, Sadam (or anyone else who happened to control the Saudi oil fields at any given moment) would have been happy to sell us oil and call us friend.

#29 Comment By Bandit On December 31, 2017 @ 10:49 pm

Cynical anti-Americanism – the author seems to have forgotten Saddam’s family run totalitarian death camp. If there is any list of benefits of the Iraq war it is that Uday and Qesay were removed from earth and the Saddam reign of terror was ended.

#30 Comment By dcleve On January 1, 2018 @ 1:01 am

The article, and the comments, demonstrate a near total lack of understanding of international affairs. The echoing of anti-US Russian propaganda by the now easily manipulated right, in a near-perfect parallel to the manipulation of the left in the 60s has been a stunningly easy achievement by Putin.

Warfare is not an engine of any economy, and has not been for several hundred years, ever since economies required loads of infrastructure. Countries actually fought over are no longer plums or sources of profit at all — economically, they are destroyed, and are an economic burden. The US has no empire — we do not occupy or extract resources from other countries.

Iraq WAS a discretionary war, but no — we did not fight in Afghanistan because we were in a forever war in Iraq. We fought in Iraq because a President made a massive strategic blunder and extended the time to win the Long War against Islamic extremism by several more decades.

We are in Chad, Libya, Yemen, Philippines, etc because that is where the people fighting the Long War against the US and the civilized world are choosing to fight the Long War, and where our local allies need help.

#31 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 1, 2018 @ 10:28 am

” If there is any list of benefits of the Iraq war it is that Uday and Qesay were removed from earth and the Saddam reign of terror was ended.”

I am curios where these death camps were located. The level of Hussein family evils means that US forces should have been greeted with flowers and chocolates. Your observation even it were accurate is small consolation this needless adventure.
I take it you would that the US go about the globe ridding the world of of everyone so deemed “unfit” or brutal or mean . . .

On the balance of scales your advance doesn’t count for much given the real life consequences.

#32 Comment By KA On January 1, 2018 @ 2:21 pm

Strife going back to Bibilical times ?

In another space and time, another power can try to impose its rule on USA igniting the dormant underground ever present funds among Native Indian, White , Latinos,Blacks ,Protestants, Jeohavs Witness, Cathloics ,Orthidox , and Neo pagans .

I am referring this only to underscore the immense staying regenerative power of the rationale for renewed strifes ,conflicts,and bloodletting within any geographical entities when the collective sense of. being part of something larger greater is destroyed by the occupying power . America created the Shia Sunni ,Sunni Sunni , Sunni Christian fights .

#33 Comment By Realist (the first one) On January 1, 2018 @ 6:51 pm

@dcleve

“Warfare is not an engine of any economy, and has not been for several hundred years,…”

You are missing the point. Warfare may not now be an engine of the overall US economy (like it was back in World War II when it pulled us out of the Great Depression), but it is certainly an engine of growth for the elite class of blood-sucking military contractors who profit from it, and who constitute the core of the military-industrial complex. The concept of the military-industrial complex was first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and you might want educate yourself by reading up on what he had to say about it. As for Vladimir Putin, that all-purpose Boogeyman of the deep-state elite, he is being used as the focal point of a fear-mongering campaign of threat inflation that will serve to justify the continued growth of this military-industrial complex.

#34 Comment By Clifford Story On January 2, 2018 @ 2:52 pm

Iran and Haliburton. Haliburton (and other companies) won big time. War always breeds corruption.

#35 Comment By Dave Sullivan On January 6, 2018 @ 9:31 am

There is no “Iraq war”. There are US militants attempting to destroy any, and all, functioning societies in the middle east. This is what we observe.