I guess it’s nine years since the Iraq War began. FP has an only slightly half-assed postmortem. I’m not claiming any superpowers of prescience when I say that the disaster played out exactly as I expected it to. I was, after all, only one of at least ten million people who were against it from the start, and that’s only counting those who felt strongly enough to march against it. Everyone I knew was at that march, if not in San Francisco, then in London or Sydney. I had six-week-old Claire with me, in the tie-dyed rainbow footy pyjamas my mother had brought with her from Barraba.
People – like, for example, my Dad – are vaguely surprised, even now, when I say that I consider the Iraq War the most serious failure of my adult life. It’s easy enough to blame the war criminals, Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Rice and Wolfowitz and Feith, and to be sure, it was their fault. They overreached and they betrayed the trust that was placed in them, to put it mildly. They should all be in gaol.
But I knew. I knew there were no weapons of mass destruction. I knew Judith Miller was talking out of her ass and that the Grey Lady was publishing lies. I knew the casualties would be in the tens of thousands, at least. I knew the war would drag on for at least a decade, and that its cost would spiral into the stratosphere. I don’t mean that I had a strong hunch. I mean that I never doubted any of that for a second. Knowing what I knew, why the hell didn’t I protest harder? Why didn’t I fight more? I feel those deaths on my conscience. I always will.
I knew the banks were going to crash, as well, for all the good that did. With those two awesome feats of clairvoyance on my record, you might be wondering what I know now. Well, I’ve known for a while that Romney’s going to get the GOP nomination and that Obama’s going to win reelection. So I haven’t sweated over the outcome of this campaign like I did over the last one. (Pretty cold comfort, though, I have to tell you. The whole women-as-the-punching-bags-of-the-GOP-primaries thing is surprisingly painful anyway.) I’ve also felt the center of geopolitical power shift from Washington DC to Beijing. And I’ve seen the future of work, and unfortunately, it sucks.