BY KENNY BELFORD
Even before the first shots were fired in Iraq, I opposed the invasion. I never once believed the Bush lies about Saddam having any connections to the 9/11 attack on America. Logic told me Bush’s other claims about Iraq posing “a clear and present danger to America,” and all those lies about Iraq’s nuclear program, and great stores of weapons of mass destruction, they were wrong.
I believed that before we started a needless war. And I believe that now – after 4,000-plus Americans have died as a direct result of Bush’s lies, distortions and incompetence.
There were no reservations about Saddam. It was obvious he was a despot, a weasel, but … he was a caged weasel. He was a prisoner of his own borders. He didn’t even have control of his country’s own air space. There was little need to launch a war, just continue the Clinton policies and Saddam was contained.
Apparently I wasn’t alone in that belief. Before this sorry mess ever started, Colin Powell, Secretary of State, and an individual that knew more than a little about war, real war, not the armchair, bantam rooster bravado kind, was attempting to explain the downside of a needless war against Iraq to his boss. He was aware of the intellectual limitations of his boss, so he used a simple analogy, hoping that would make it easier to comprehend. It was the Pottery Barn analogy … “If you break it, you own it.” Apparently that was too deep for his boss, and 4,000-plus Americans needlessly lost their lives.
Now we’re pulling our troops out. It’s about damn time! But there’s a downside to that. As horrible as Saddam was, he kept civil unrest to a minimum. He controlled and contained it. He kept the electricity working and drinking water clean. There were no roadside bombs, suicide bombers, IUD’s. He ruled with an iron hand, but staying within the boundaries of his rules allowed Iraqis to lead a somewhat normal life.
Not any more. The Iraqi government is weak, centuries old divisions between Arab factions have never gone away, just controlled and contained. Not any more. We saw Iraq fall into a civil war, and we had to surge troops in to contain it. We didn’t solve the undercurrent problems that caused it, we just used our massive military might to control and contain it.
Now that we’re on our way out, the insurgents that were controlled and contained are once again rising to the top. An Associated Press story says in part …
Bombers and gunmen killed 55 Iraqis in two dozen attacks spanning the country Wednesday, mostly targeting security forces in seemingly coordinated strikes the day after the number of U.S. troops fell below 50,000 for the first time since the start of the war. Insurgents have been stepping up their attacks on Iraq’s security forces in recent months as the U.S. has trimmed its military presence in the country. At least half of those killed — 31 — were Iraqi soldiers and policemen. There were no claims of responsibility for the spate of attacks. But their scale and reach, from one end of the country to the other, underscored insurgent efforts to prove their might against security forces and political leaders who are charged with the day-to-day running and stability of Iraq.
There’s a strong possibility that Iraq will once again fall back into a civil war. This time there will be no surge of American troops. We’ve almost bankrupted our treasury on Bush’s needless war. We’ve killed enough Americans on Bush’s needless war. It will be up to the Iraqi people to sort it out.
Nobody knows the outcome, but it can’t be good. Iraq was a nation we had little to fear from before Bush wanted to play armchair Rambo and claim, “See, I’m a war president.” We’ve got a lot to fear about Iraq now if their radical faction prevails.
At the time of Bush’s rush to war, America placed a trust in him, that he would not lie us into a war. America had not yet realized the depth of his incompetence, and shallowness of his intellect. That was our part of responsibility for this colossal mistake.
We’ve also got another mess. It’s in Afghanistan. We’ve “surged” troops into that country and violence and American casualties have increased. Their government is a joke, a corrupt deadly joke. Their citizens have no sense of “country” – just tribal territories. Invaders have attempted for 1,000 years to conquer Afghanistan. The mighty Soviet military met their “Vietnam” in Afghanistan, tucked their tails and came home. It’s a nation that seems stuck in 15th Century, by choice.
There is no period of time we can remain in that country, then leave, and find they’re now stable. They’ll wait us out, until eventually we come home, then revert right back into the kind of society they want. We simply don’t have the ability to impose our beliefs on them. If we stay 10 more years, the outcome would be no different than if we leave at the end of next month. The only difference is, less Americans will die, and we’ll squander less funding we can’t afford.
Haven’t we reached our fill of war by now?
– Kenny Belford lives in Tulsa, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer