Divorce in America is a “growth industry.” It’s been estimated that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. (And that poll was taken before Kelsey Grammer.)

For those who stay married, each anniversary has a name. Year one is called “paper,” a rather flimsy term. The 10th anniversary is “aluminum or tin,” which is hardly romantic. The 11th is “steel,” which as least connotes strength in a marriage. The 25th is “silver” and the 50th is “golden.”

With divorce rates so high, instead of years to mark anniversaries, maybe we should use months. If a couple stayed married 50 months maybe that could be considered their golden anniversary? (OK, dumb idea.)

Wikipedia refers to a marriage that ends before five years as “short.” A divorce lawyer friend refers to a marriage that ends after five years as “expensive.”

Actually, I know of many happy, long lasting marriages. This September, my childhood friend Don will have been married to his bride Joyce for 25 years. Another friend, one with whom I worked on our high school newspaper, Lance, has been married to lovely Marilyn for 30 years, an anniversary called “pearl.”

This August, my sister Brenda and her husband David will celebrate their 47th anniversary which is Ruby plus two. This June, readers of mine, Joe and Kathy Geletko, will be married 53 years which is golden plus three while my neighbors Flo and Bill have been married 63 years, or diamond plus three. (There will be a short quiz at the end of this column.)

Tomorrow our country “celebrates” the eighth anniversary of the Iraq War. The eighth is known as “bronze” but, in this case it could be called “The Worst Foreign Policy Mistake in our History” anniversary.

This all came to mind after I watched “60 Minutes” last Sunday. One of the segments featured former Iraqi defector Rafid Alwan whose spy codename was “Curveball.” Sleazy and nervous, Alwan is a 44-year-old former chemical engineer and apparently a congenital liar. You can see the interview on YouTube by typing “60 Minutes Curveball.”

Curveball’s deceit-filled story was the “crown jewel” of Colin Powell’s infamous testimony to the United Nations. In fact, the entire case for the mythical “mobile weapons labs,” which the Bush administration touted as the rationale for the war, came from Curveball who unapologetically admits he made the entire thing up.

Curveball came to us via another Iraqi defector, Ahmed Chalabi, who was convicted in Jordan of bank fraud (having stolen a mere $288 million) and sentenced in absentia to 22 years in jail. And yet Ahmed was on the CIA payroll at $350,000 a month, and brought us scam artists like Curveball.

With budget deficits these days we’re told that we can’t possibly afford to help Americans below the poverty line pay for home heating oil in the winter but evidently we had plenty of dough for the likes of Chalabi and Curveball. Something’s rotten folks, and it’s not in Denmark.

After Curveball was proven to be an unabashed liar (and we lost 4,439 GI’s in Iraq, the most recent on Feb. 17, 2011) the Bush administration fired Chalibi. Talk about closing the barn door after the cows have gone. Also a sociopath like Curveball, Ahmed’s defense was, “Sure, I brought you Curveball but no one told you to believe him.”

When questioned, W. claimed that he wasn’t sure he even knew Chalibi. This belies the fact that Ahmed sat right behind Laura at one of W’s State of the Union addresses. (Oops. Did Bush tell a little fib?)

After watching Curveball on “60 Minutes” it’s hard to imagine anyone believing him about the time of day, much less mobile weapons labs. When Bob Simon pressed for the “whole truth,” Curveball bolted off the set. And yet the CIA bought his story lock, stock and barrel. (Barrel of what, I’m not going to say as this is a family newspaper.)

Or perhaps the Bush administration needed Curveball? Had they finally found someone saying exactly what they wanted to justify an invasion they longed for way before 9/11?

Either way, we went to war in Iraq almost solely on Curveball’s bogus story. Why has no one gone to jail over this? Why has there never ever been a real investigation where Bush and Cheney testify separately (not holding hands) and are under oath? (Apparently we’re too busy cracking down on teacher unions.)

So, tomorrow is our eighth anniversary in Iraq and in October it will be our 10th anniversary in Afghanistan. Frankly, I wish we could get a divorce from both. We could call it “irreconcilable differences.” Given the endless lies, the loss of lives, limbs and national treasure, and the staggering ineptitude of the architects of these wars, I’d like to call it something else but this column is G-rated.

Jack can be reached at Jnsmdp@aol.com.

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