Hardball with Chris Matthews, 6/19/14, 8:05 PM ET

Matthews on the lasting effects of war

Chris Matthews says the US should remember what its role was in tearing Iraq apart, and asks why some believed the killing the US began in March 2003 would end when the US government decided to leave.

On the drumbeat of war, more than a decade later

Updated

Let me finish tonight with the last words of the last article I wrote as national columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Sunday, September 1, 2002: 

“So I’ll say it: I hate this war that’s coming in Iraq. I don’t think we’ll be proud of it. Oppose this war because it will create a millennium of hatred and suicidal terrorism that comes with it. You talk about Bush trying to avenge his father. What about the tens of millions of Arab sons who will want to finish a war we start next spring in Baghdad?”

Here we are 12 years later facing the backwash of the war President Bush, Dick Cheney, and their ideological cohorts began in March 2003.

All those Sunnis who were thrown into the streets when we came in, overthrew Saddam, disbanded the Iraqi army and government, are now rooting for ISIS as it fights its way to Baghdad. All those angry hearts who have a motive for killing and letting others kill are now hoping for an overthrow of the Maliki government.

What made us think that the killing we started in March of 2003 would end when we decided to leave? What instilled in us the confidence that the families of all those dead Arabs would not remember who caused it and pine for someone who would repay it?

You go into a country. You kill anyone who stands in your way. You set up a system that puts one side in power over the other. You kick out the people who’ve been running the country for 300 years, rip the uniforms from the army and send them running, throw people from their government jobs and positions, and don’t expect them to remember who did this to them?

Watch that ragtag army working its way toward Baghdad. Look and see who joins it. Then remember what role we, the United States, played in Iraq’s history, in planting the hatred that now marches toward the Iraqi capital.

Iraq

On the drumbeat of war, more than a decade later

Updated