George W. Bush’s horrific, deadly blunder: Would Saddam Hussein be better than Iraq’s new hell?

George W. Bush’s horrific, deadly blunder: Would Saddam Hussein be better than Iraq’s new hell?

Eleven years, and so much death, misery and destruction later, Iraq’s best outcome looks like the one Bush upended

Foreign policy, at least the American kind, is like a stone thrown into a pond: The ripples outward go on and on. You have to think about the tragedy now unfolding in Iraq with this in mind.

It is tempting to say the surge of horrifically righteous Sunni armies southward from the Syrian border is unbelievable except that you cannot: It is all-too-horribly believable. The rings of sectarian violence — including mass murder, if news reports prove correct — are the predictable consequence of decisions made during the Bush II years. This mess has American signatures on it in indelible ink.

Since we are at it, as those ripples are circular, we now come full circle in Iraq. No one wants to say it, so let’s say it here: The project now, best outcome, is to reassemble the Iraq of Saddam Hussein — uneasy with itself, brimming with animosities, but whole. This is the Iraq George W. Bush set out to destroy — purposely but without purpose, if you see what I mean. He did, swiftly. And now by any other name we want it back.

There may be other contenders, but this looks to me like the bitterest moment so far in our century.

First thought. What under the sun are the families of the 4,000 fallen Americans saying to themselves as everything their sons, daughters, siblings and spouses gave their lives for, or thought they risked their lives for, comes to absolutely nothing? The grandest illusions cannot hold in the face of the headlines now.

Make that second thought. First goes to the Iraqis who have survived untold deaths around them and the loss of homes, communities, jobs, educations, health and altogether their futures. This must mean most Iraqis by now.