Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On the Anniversary of War.

There were two editorials in the Spokesman-Review this morning, 19 March 2008, one by Trudy Rubin and the other published in The Spokesman-Review's main editorial that brought up yet again what had brought us ultimately to this moment in time.

Trudy Rubin, gotta love her. Gives a blow by blow account of the fiascoes, the incompetence the mistakes made by the GW administration in both war planning and the aftermath of the invasion. She then goes on to say what wiser heads would indeed recognize that an immediate pull out of American troops would simply assure that Iraqis would again engage in bloody sectarian battles with one another. But, it is not an option to keep American troops in Iraq for the next 100 years as Senator McCain wants to do. Simply because, military readiness as it exists now, does not exist. McCain who had been to war, who served in Vietnam, who spent time in the Viet Cong prison camps such as Hanoi Hilton, should surely know that a superpower can only maintain its status by having an effective military. Given the history of GW vis a vis this war, he managed to successfully dessicate our military readiness utilizing Rumsfeld's ideological theories of how many troops it would take to topple a foreign government and then maintain the peace before flowers of democracy would burst forth in bloom overnight. Obviously, that was the biggest area of incompetence of all. And McCain wants to maintain such incompetence? GW has never really pushed for a diplomatic solution in Iraq. He pushed instead a half measure, okay, we'll allow a mini surge so that the Iraqi government (some 4 years after the fact) will finally get its act together and become the democratic institution we want it to be. Some 4 years after the fact and Ms. Rubin reports that this really hasn't happened. That what alliances our "surge" produced will probably not survive. How long can we maintain an "iron gloved peace" before we have fully exhausted our resources and manpower and have to leave anyway? As Rubin puts it bluntly, the two warring sides wait for us to do so, in order to start again their sectarian violence against each other. Did it have to be that way?

The Spokesman-Review editorial (see link above) is a 5 year reflection of the eve of war, what we did as a nation, what GW did not do as a president. Our ambivalence about entering into a venture that in hindsight now was poorly planned. Make that, the public caution of some that was reprinted in the Spokesman-Review editorial pages during that 2002-2003 time frame. Certainly, posting personal opinions about this venture on various newspaper websites, would have also been a cautionary voice against rash acts from the White House. What I also saw when doing so, was the hatred of our fellow Americans who were protesting this war. The hatred of our allies who cautioned against an act of war too quickly engaged in even before all possible diplomatic solutions were explored. Those who fawned on GW on those message boards waxed hysterical over the "threat" that Saddam Hussein posed to us as a nation, just because GW and his administration waxed hysterical. Ambivalent feelings about the matter when even Vietnam vets stepped forward to declare their opposition to the war, at the risk of being called "Saddam lovers" because they recognized the risks to this nation that we might indeed not be able to afford. Since that time, the cautionary voices of local veterans writing letters to the Spokesman-Review have been vindicated. We can't afford the mess that the incompetent GW administration embroiled us in and he leaves an intractable problem that is Iraq for his successor. As Rubin has correctly pointed out.

Yes, Hussein did happen to be the Butcher of Baghdad. So, some 4,000 American lives later; some 10s of thousands of Iraqis killed, injured, internally displaced or refugees in foreign nations; billions of dollars and counting, 10s of thousands of American war injured--billions of dollars toward their own care and counting. This was the sort of grand scheme that carried risks that became truly lethal landmines in American foreign policy. By January of 2009, GW's successor probably will not have a clue or a map as to where all the IEDs are buried unless he or she reads the opinion pages in newspapers across the land. After all, we can only expect a secretive GW to dump the whole Iraq mess in his successor's lap and ride off into the sunset. Just as he said he would do. All he wanted was a war. Okay, he got one. But the frat party boy didn't want to do the heavy lifting that it would take to bring this foreign fiasco to a successful conclusion, any more than he cared to do in Afghanistan. Even though the news media punditry encouraged voters not to:

  • Not to change horses in midstream and actually elect an unproven challenger in the person of Senator John Kerry.
  • That GW must have a chance to finally resolve the war he so very much wanted this country embroiled in.
  • We'll be a cowardly nation who gives up on our commitments if we elect the wrong leader.
  • We'll cede the battle to the terrorists.
  • We'll be happy to play up "swiftboating" giving an hour or better to what is after all a negative attack ad.
  • We still believe in if it bleeds it leads. And GW has certainly given us plenty of grist for that sort of mill. We wouldn't want it any other way.
  • A different president would force us to start questioning why we came into this war to begin with. We don't want to upset the applecart here.
  • And it takes political cartoonists such as Signe Wilkenson to remind us that there are definite questions here.

Today, on the anniversary of this war, Signe Wilkenson reminds us of the "link:" between terrorism and Saddam Hussein. Yes, GW Bush. Republished in the Spokesman-Review.

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