Last week, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) insulted the Iraqi government on a visit to Baghdad when he asked Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki to repay the United States for the cost of the now 8 year war. The Iraqi government called Rohrabacher’s comment “inappropriate” and subsequently kicked the California Republican and his congressional delegation out of Iraq.
Even some of his Republican colleagues are criticizing him or his remark but Rohrabacher isn’t showing any remorse. He refused to apologize in a statement last weekend and now he’s coming out on the attack. On CNN last night, contributor E.D. Hill, the former Fox News host of the “terrorist fist jab” fame, talked with Rohrabacher about the incident and appeared equally credulous at the Iraqis’ gall. “Did that kind of shock you? she asked, adding, “after all we have done?” Rohrabacher agreed and then critized the Iraqis for not being grateful for starting a war in their country:
ROHRABACHER: We spent a trillion dollars trying to free those people from the Saddam Hussein dictatorship and help them build a more democratic society. Yet now it seems there is no gratitude on the part of the people who now are in charge of the Iraqi government. And that should give us pause if we’re thinking about spending any more money or leaving our troops over there any longer. They just aren’t grateful for what we’ve done. … American people gave their lives, their children, and we expended billions of dollars, which now we’re — is hurting our economy.
Watch the segment:
Rohrabacher’s point is well taken. Americans have sacrificed much in both blood and treasure in Iraq and no one on either side of the coin should forget that. But it’s also important to remember that President Bush’s justification for launching a war in Iraq was to rid Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, not to liberate Iraqis. And what Rohrabacher seems to leave out is that the Iraqis, both civilians and soldiers, have sacrificed too.
But Rohrabacher is right about one thing, that the financial cost of the war – which is still ongoing — is a huge strain on the U.S. economy and should serve as a reminder when U.S. officials consider having U.S. troops stay in Iraq past the Dec. 31 deadline to withdraw.