More than 11 years after the U.S. invaded Iraq, Americans feel they have been hoodwinked and lied to. Peggy Noonan explains in the WSJ how badly the loss of life, the financial cost, the loss of prestige—through two incompetent administrations—affects the American people. What Americans want is a strong America—rich, energetic, thriving, respected. Americans are sick of Washington’s crony capitalism and skeptical that either political party can heal the loss of faith “between the people who are governed in America and those who govern them.” Read here Peggy’s take on the disconnect between the American people and Washington and how Iraq continues to foster a growing resentment.
The American people do not want to go back into Iraq. They will be skeptical of all plans, strategies and decisions because they lack faith in their leaders. If they hear “We are sending 300 military advisers,” they will think: It won’t end there.
They don’t think the U.S. can solve Iraq. They think only Iraq can do that.
They think Iraq’s leader, Nouri al-Maliki, is a loser who lives in Loserville. Get rid of him? Tell him to resign? Sure, but who will replace him, the loser next door? Should he reform his government, making it more respectful, tolerant and accountable? Sure. But do the ISIS forces look like men who’ll respond, “Wow, he’s being a better leader, let’s lay down our arms!”? No, actually, they don’t.
Americans are worried about the country’s standing in the world. They want to be the most powerful and respected nation in the world, because we are Americans and that’s how we roll.
They have the feeling that what America has to do now, the missing part of the terrible puzzle, is to rebuild here, refind our strength, be rich again, pump out jobs, unleash our energy—let it bound out of the ground and help turn our economy around. We have to reset our relationship with ourselves. We have to become strong again, that is the key not only to our confidence but to the world’s respect.
Here’s a terrible thing, though: They don’t really have any faith that this remedial work will get done, that the economy will be reignited, that corrupt governance and crony capitalism will be stopped. They don’t have any particular faith that it will happen with the generation of losers we have now in Washington.