Monday, November 14, 2011

Flush with 'victory' in Iraq

I said, war, huh
Good God, y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing. . . .
-- Edwin Starr,

Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote War for Motown in 1969, and it became a No. 1 smash in 1970 for the label's Edwin Starr.

Commercial and artistic success, however, is not the guarantor of absolute truth.

And as the United States' recent experience tells us, sometimes war is good for something. Sometimes you get a stainless-steel sh*tter out of the deal.

There's a certain logic to that, and in this Reuters report from the soon-to-be abandoned Camp Irony Victory Base.

The U.S. military is vacating Saddam Hussein's ornate palaces at its war headquarters in Baghdad and will turn the property over to Iraq next month, but Saddam's prison toilet is leaving with the Americans.

The stainless steel commode and a reinforced steel door have been removed from the cell where the dictator spent two years before his 2006 execution and is destined for a military police museum in the United States.

"We're not taking anything that the Iraqis had. We are only taking stuff that we put in, we utilized, and when we didn't need it any more, we took it home," Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Brooks, a U.S. military historian, said on a tour of the site on Monday.

The villa where American troops built a maximum-security jail for Saddam and his henchman Chemical Ali sits on a U.S. complex near Baghdad's airport known as Victory Base, which is scheduled to be handed over to Iraq's government in December as U.S. forces withdraw completely by year's end.

Surrounded by 42 km (27 miles) of blast walls and razor wire, Victory, the largest of the 505 bases the U.S. military once operated in Iraq, housed over 40,000 soldiers and up to 25,000 workers. Only 4,000 troops remain there.

I KEEP wondering how to sum this all up -- "this" being America's whole disaster of a new millennium. How can we distill, say, the Iraq experience into something concise enough to fit on a T-shirt?

I think I got something:

We came to Iraq,
got 4,483 troops killed
and 33,183 wounded,
spent a trillion bucks . . .
and all we got was this lousy toilet
THAT'S what I call a legacy.

Did I mention that, as it turns out, the MP museum at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., doesn't even want the crapper? Gee, I guess Whitfield and Strong were right after all. My apologies to them.

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