We the People should consider these points as we formulate or reformulate our positions on the continued US occupation of the Middle East.
1. The US has been involved in various adventures over the last century, supporting associates we would later call terrorists (e.g. CIA support of Saddam Hussein).
2. The US invasion was based on a desire for preemptive War against Iraq (see Paul O'Neill's interview on 60 Minutes, 1-11-04), poor information ("WMD") (linking Saddam and Al Qaeda), poor sources ("Curveball" and tortured detainees), hyperbole ("a mushroom cloud"), and poor planning ("they will welcome us"). Key information was censored or not released (Downing Street Memo).
3. Leaders (e.g. The Pope, the King of Jordan) and experts (VIPs) who warned against the war were ignored, and are still being ignored. Anti-war advocates included a diversity of people, including libertarians and nativists.
4. According to a Columbia/Harvard study the total cost of the war/occupation will be more than $2 trillion, excluding the cost of interest on the debt. New reports estimate a $2.4 to $3.5 trillion cost if not considerably higher.
5. Some people, and not others, have profited from the occupation. Could this money have been spent more effectively? Will this debt, particularly to China, affect geopolitics?
6. Since the US War and occupation, 4-4.5 million people have been displaced, creating a refugee crisis/humanitarian disaster. A Johns Hopkins University study estimated more than 600,000 premature deaths as a result of the US invasion and occupation. Most Iraqis do not support a US presence in Iraq.
7. More than 4000 Americans, mostly working-class People, have died as a result of the war and occupation. An unknown number have been wounded (official estimates are over 25,000). Tens of thousands of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder have been reported (New England Journal of Medicine).
8. It may be argued that neither the world, the Middle East, nor Iraq is safer with a US occupation (e.g. AQI would not have been formed or as well developed without a US occupation). Foreign Policy experts (including conservatives) argue that the US has pitted many groups against each other, destabilizing Iraq and the Middle East, including current allies.
9. The US use of torture has also put future US soldier/POWs in peril.