Over There? President Obama announced today the extrication of all forces from Iraq by December. The one position I regret that I took after 9/11 and after observing the American political scene for decades is naively and with astounding stupidity I believed George Bush and his Iraq WMD phony claim convincing most (including me) that Sadam Hussein was an imminent threat. Some may even say today Sadam Hussein who? Tom Ricks, according to Foreign Policy Magazine is a Senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a bipartisan think tank, contributing editor to Foreign Policy Magazine, special military correspondent to the Washington Post and author quite correctly named his book about Iraq during the height of its fury "Fiasco." We can see now how apropos that title was. We can observe how destructive, how murderous, how deceitful, sending troops to wage a war based on lies against a country which did NOTHING to us was.
The US, under the dreadful leadership of George W. Bush, paid for this mistake in much lost blood and treasure conveniently ignored by Republicans today when assessing their perceived horror of the deficit. Clearly, George W. Bush was woefully unprepared for the presidency. At his order the US nearly singlehandedly destabilized an entire region, handed Iran the keys to the kingdom of power and broke a nation. Now we allegedly are leaving Iraq and see how difficult it is to do that. Colin Powell, Secretary of State under Bush, was quite correct when he said “if you break it you own it.” We shattered it without knowing what to do to fix it.
When American troops leave Iraq -- as the president today says they will by December -- and it does not explode into civil war it will be miraculous. How Iraq maintains a continuity of power with so many factions at each other’s throats I do not know. Can it meet the needs of its people or will it fracture into a million pieces destabilizing the region further with a nuclear Pakistan? I will breathe a sigh of relief if Iraq works with a semblance of normalcy and non violence. Until then, I need a tranquilizer to calm my fear! Never again will I believe a leader simply because he says it is so. As Ronald Reagan, a man I seldom quote, said: "Trust but verify." Next time I surely will and so should everyone else.