No benefits from the soon-to-be $500-billion Iraq invasion have manifested themselves until now. Oil supplies, rather than increasing, have decreased–driving U.S. gas prices well into the $2.00 range. No WMDs have been found, although the region is rife with rumors of such things being smuggled into the country for discovery prior to the U.S. elections in November. Freedom and democracy remain elusive ideals, contradicted at every turn by the actions of Paul Bremer and elements of the U.S. military. And the world situation continued to degenerate, raising the risk of future nuclear confrontation for the U.S.
Things had gotten so bad that talk-show hosts who had rabble roused for the invasion, like Bill O’Reilly and Michael Savage (Weiner), have begun speaking about "neocons" and those who encouraged the war in the third person, and George W. Bush even poked fun at himself and laughingly wondered where all those WMDs might be hidden. ("Are they under my chair?")
True, some big U.S. and Israeli companies have benefited from the Iraqui occupation. And, due to ineptitude or deliberate malice, a spiral is being set into motion that promises to dramatically reduce the civilian population of Mesopotamia and see the reinstitution of the draft in the U.S. ("We just don’t have enough forces," goes the argument. Are you barring the doors of recruiting centers to prevent enlistment or telling prospective inductees they’ll just have to wait their turn?)
Alas, the invasion of Iraq has at last borne fruits for someone–most likely one of its true architects–Ariel Sharon. With Iraq reduced to chaos and the other regional states in a desperate scramble to ward off U.S. attack and the possibility of overthrow by their own disgruntled populations, Sharon felt he was at last free to withdraw from Gaza, arbitrarily annex portions of the West Bank and impose the "chicken coop" scenario rejected by Palestinians during the administration of President Clinton, and discard the question of the Palestinians’ "right of return" forever.
Sharon already had felt free to assassinate the moderate Palestinian leader Sheikh Yassin with barely a ripple in the financial markets.
With George W. Bush coming out squarely in Sharon’s corner, abandoning the supposedly sacrosanct "Roadmap", the good news for Israel’s hard liners is almost a rout for nationalistic elements in the U.S. who resist having their nation conscripted into an alien power struggle.
More "benefits" of the Iraq invasion are undoubtedly just around the corner. MS-NBC recently pointed out that Bush’s unconditional support of Sharon may win him the November election. Now, how could this support help Bush? He’s already got a bigger campaign chest than he needs. And most Jews in the U.S. vote Democratic. Could it be that the media in the U.S. will "go easier" on Bush and smooth over unfortunate policy blunders? If so, what does this say about the independence of American institutions at all levels?
If the Iraq invasion ever gets mainstream Americans to start asking such questions, we may get an unforeseen benefit after all.