Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Iraq reconsidered: I agree with most of Jeff Jocaby's November 1, 2006 article in the Globe entitled "Scenes from the jihad." All the countries he sites have significant problems with Islamic jihadists within and terrorism in general including ours. In the very beginning after 9/11, going against all the Democratic inclinations of my political beliefs, I supported the invasion of Iraq. I supported it for several reasons.

First, I thought the highest echelons of our government had significant evidence of Hussein's attempt to get -- or that he already possessed -- weapons of mass destruction. I thought he would sell them to the highest bidder or use them himself as he had done in the past on his own people.

Second, I thought Hussein was undoubtedly aggressive and, if given the opportunity, would invade countries wherever he could and spread those WMD's. I thought it was in OUR best interest to remove him from power. I did not care a wit if the Iraqis fell in love with democracy but I did care whether that regime was capable of doing harm to us in the form of another possible attack.

Third, I thought, in the future, Hussein or worse one of his psychopathologic sons would ultimately try to hurt us or certainly the west.

Fourth, I thought Republicans would plan for the peace. I thought they would know HOW to wage war. War means nothing if the peace is not secured. I thought -- and I am incredulous today that I even thought this -- that Republicans some how now would not perpetrate a second Vietnam. I thought that they, being who they are, would bring whatever American power was necessary, listen to the military especially, and do what had to be done to ensure an absolute and total victory for our country including and MOST especially securing the aftermath. I thought they would do it right.

I made a mistake and many of them. All my reasons and justifications for the president taking us to war were undeniably wrong. Thankfully, I am not the president. Bush is and had access to all the intelligence.

First, and importantly, because our rationale for war was WMDs, no WMD's were found and later I found out that the evidence that Hussein had none was discarded or lied about such as in Colin Powell's address to the UN.

Second, not enough troops were brought to the task. Rumsfeld's miscalculations were insane. He overruled or fired those who said we needed many more and who did not agree with him.

Third, our incurious and unquestioning president knew NOTHING about the history of Iraq and who its warring factions were. Our president did not know for centuries Shia, Sunni and Kurd hated each other and that we could not secure the peace easily because of possible civil war between the factions. He did not realize we could be quagmired and caught squarely in the middle. He did not plan for that and did not keep that important fact in mind.

Fourth, we disbanded the Iraqi military, sent them home with no job to do, and with their weapons which they would ultimately use against us.

Fifth, we allowed anarchy to rule after Hussein was brought down. We allowed looting which showed we had no control. We did not secure munitions and lost billions of military hardware which until this day haunt our troops. We also lost billions of US dollars.

Sixth, horrifically and unbelievably, we did not provide our troops with the proper equipment like armor. I remember sending a package to our troops which included a pair of sunglasses. I though the USA cannot provide sunglasses to our troops in an area with lots of sun? Something should have clicked that we were doing this half baked.

It started to become clear fairly rapidly that this adventure was SERIOUSLY botched and that the Republicans did not care about our troops and did not care about Iraq. What on earth DID they care about? I am supposing Bush cared perhaps about being Churchill, and was coaxed by neo-conservatives into thinking he could reform the entire Middle East and/or into doing what his father did not do. He did not possess the intellectual acumen to think through things on his own. Cheney perhaps cared about America avenging Vietnam, regaining a perception of strength and, because of his Nixon years, wanted to strengthen the power of the presidency. Rumsfeld thought he could create a streamlined military and just wanted to strike back after 9/11. It did not matter on whom. The Congress was interested in giving a blank check to Bush so they could give a blank check to themselves and maintain their power to make lots of money. If 3000 servicemen had to die for that and thousands horrifically wounded, well, I suppose it simply did not matter to them. Generally, it was not their sons and daughters who were doing the fighting and dying.

I am only guessing what the rationales were. All were misguided grandiose schemes which had no chance of success except for, of course, creating a presidency, with a Congressional wink and nod, which had unlimited power. Now WE do not even have the kind of democracy that we want to export.

It became crystal clear that the very thing we were so fearful of is exactly what has occurred. Yes, Iraq is a major front on terror now because WE made it so. Hussein it turned out was the least of our problems and actually kept radical Islam from proliferating in Iraq. He was secular. Afghanistan where Bin Laden is near to this day, was the real front on terror. It was generally abandoned for Iraq. There is no Bin Laden to be found unless his capture or death will be the so-called Rovian October surprise. The second front should have been securing Saudi Arabia from whence the heinous philosophy of Whabiism and fundamentalist Islam came. There were many other fronts that should have been the recipient of a sagacious foreign diplomatic policy such as negotiations with Iran and Syria with the insurance that other more moderate Islamic regimes remained safe.

Instead we dropped a tonnage of bombs on a people who had NOTHING whatsoever to do with our 9/11 attack by admission of our commander-in-chief. That makes people who are the recipients of those bombs very mad and involves us in quicksand from which we do not know how to extricate ourselves.

We have emboldened Islamic fundamentalists' horrendous cause to our great peril and soon I would predict Iraq will have a Shite religious fundamentalist power structure just as Iran does today. This is not what I had in mind. Iraqis I fear are not buying what America likes to sell -- copies of itself.

Bush's policies have been reckless and could doom us in the end beyond the time of his tenure. We are in, I fear, deep trouble. It is this president and his feeble attempt to invade a country, which did not deserve it and who erroneously calculated what it would take to actually win and sustain a peace which are among his most egregious errors. It is he who is responsible for this disaster.

Why anyone could not see the folly of what has been done (or has not been done) on his watch is beyond me. If he were a Democrat who in August, 2001 did not heed the simple warnings of 9/11 and an impending attack, lied about evidence to take this nation to war, his most trusted advisors revealing a CIA agent's name and his perpetrating a usurpation of executive power, those Republicans would be calling for his head and indicting him for treason and, I believe, he would rightfully be convicted.

I pray that the American public is smart enough to see through this, as the author Tom Ricks calls it, fiasco. If we are not smart enough then we get what we deserve -- perpetual war, unattainable peace or God forbid something far much worse!

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