With fully one Ukrainian soldier confirmed dead and several others wounded in myriad clashes, world leaders seem agreed that the Russian annexation of Crimea is the worst thing to happen within their collective memories. Then someone, likely just to bum everyone out, brought up Iraq.
Speaking in Brussels today, President Obama went on a lengthy diatribe about how the decade-long US occupation of Iraq, which left roughly a million people dead and the entire region awash in al-Qaeda factions, was nowhere near as bad a thing as Crimea.
“America sought to work within the international system. We did not claim or annex Iraq’s territory,” Obama insisted, going on to praise Iraq as a “fully sovereign state” that “could make decisions about its own future.”
Which is to say the US forced a puppet government into power before it left, despite Prime Minister Maliki losing the last election, and put in place an election system so crooked that even the Maliki-appointed election commission resigned en masse yesterday rather than take part in April’s planned vote.
The US left Iraq, but the war did not, and even today the US is throwing military aid at the nation in ever-increasing numbers to fight off al-Qaeda, which has seized significant chunks of the country.
Obama went on to praise the “vigorous debate” which surrounded the US invasion of Iraq, which mostly centered on the Bush Administration lying about the “threat” until they invaded.
The Russian annexation of Crimea is indeed apples and oranges to the US occupation of Iraq, in that Russia acquired a small peninsula populated mostly by ethnic Russians with few casualties involved, and the US obliterated the nation of Iraq in the bloodiest war of the current century, killing enormous numbers of people and accomplishing virtually nothing before meandering off in search of new dragons to slay.