Andrew J. Bacevich: Can Wikileaks Actually Make Americans Care About Iraq Again?

Roundup: Historians' Take

[Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. His new book is Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War.]

“The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much. What redeems it is the idea only. An idea at the back of it; not a sentimental pretence but an idea; and an unselfish belief in the idea—something you can set up, and bow down before, and offer a sacrifice to....”

—Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Julian Assange and his obnoxious Wiki-leakers just don’t get it: As far as Americans are concerned, the Iraq war is over, done, finished. We’ve turned the page, changed the channel, tied up the odd loose end, inserted the last punctuation mark, and moved on. And not a minute too soon: With Bush’s War barely ended, Obama’s War demands our undivided attention.

Assange is deluding himself if he thinks his dump of various and sundry classified documents relating to the war is going to distract us. He obviously hasn’t gotten the word: Now that Saddam Hussein’s no longer around, the world is an infinitely better place. ‘Nuf said.

Whether Iraq itself is a better place now that more than 100,000 Iraqis are no longer around—all of them killed in the mayhem unleashed by the U.S. invasion—is not a question that Americans are prepared to entertain. As to whether America itself is a better place given the loss of some 4,287 American war dead along with the physical and psychological suffering sustained by thousands of other soldiers and their families, not to mention the expenditure of at least a trillion dollars—well, let’s not go there...

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