When the WMD did not materialize, the result of “look forward, not back” was to portray nation-building — a goal the public never agreed to — as the dominant purpose of our prohibitively costly presence in Iraq, an ungrateful Muslim country that generally despises Americans.This isn't the first time that McCarthy has called Iraqis "ingrates" -- and really, there's a (can't get around this word) imperialist presumption to his attitude that's quite simply breathtaking. "You'll take our invasion -- and the years of bloody violence it unleashes -- and you'll like it!"
As McCarthy notes, we didn't actually invade Iraq in order to bestow the blessings of freedom -- even in the anger that permeated America after 9/11, there probably wouldn't have been much stomach to go nation-building for the pure and simple pleasure of nation-building. We invaded Iraq to protect ourselves. And it turns out that we were mistaken in doing so. Most folks aren't grateful to you, though, when you act in your own interests.
Don't get me wrong (it must always be said): Saddam Hussein was a bad guy. But let's try a little empathy exercise: If you were an Iraqi and had your life under a vile dictator usurped by outsiders -- who gave you years of bloody and explosive violence and public infrastructure problems, only to end up with an apparent strongman leader with ties to Iran -- how grateful would you be feeling? McCarthy, like too many of his ilk, is so proud of the efforts and sacrifices of U.S. servicemen and women that he can't even imagine why Iraqis wouldn't see it the same way. The problem isn't really one of Iraqi non-gratitude. The real problem is Andy McCarthy's chauvinism.