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Thursday, September 16, 2004

The War in Iraq

Like most of the other stuff I put up on this page, this essay is more for myself than for public viewing. I just want to be able to look back and be able to read how I felt at a given moment. Ten years from today I will know that I was totally against this war. I think that history will prove once again that war was an extremely poor choice in dealing with a political challenge. I wrote this essay in about twenty minutes and I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t the most articulate argument I have ever posted. I have opposed this war from the beginning. It seems obvious that it has been a disaster that has caused the stature of the United States to plummet around the world.

We are more than a year and a half into the war in Iraq. The fighting is now worse than ever, to the point where we seem to have lost control over Baghdad itself. American contractors are being poached at a rate of several every week, and any Iraqis showing the least bit of cooperation with the U.S. occupation have put themselves in grave danger. American soldiers definitely don’t have it very easy, but it’s an all volunteer army, right? Just how we will be able to continue this occupation without a draft goes beyond my concepts of what citizenship is all about.

This war didn’t bring a lot of surprises for me. I was against it from the beginning for the same reasons I am now. I never believed Iraq or Hussein were much of threat to the U.S. I never believed that terrorism has been much of a threat. I have always felt that the war on terrorism should have been waged almost exclusively on a clandestine front. That is assuming that we had a working intelligence organization in this country, which we don’t. We should be reading things in the paper like, “Osama bin Laden and 30 of his top lieutenants died last night in what is thought to be of natural causes,” instead of hearing that 50 more U.S. soldiers have died already this month in the lost cause which is Iraq.

This war has shown our weaknesses and our strengths. It has shown that our intelligence organizations are completely incompetent. We should have prevented 9-11 from ever happening and we didn’t. We were ill-informed on the whole question of weapons in Iraq. The Abu Gharib prison scandal was entirely the fault of our intelligence community. Any fucking idiot knows that torture and abuse yield lousy intelligence, yet they pursued this course in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I never thought the invasion was a good idea but after we sat back and allowed Iraq to be looted in the first weeks after the fall of Baghdad I knew that the neo-cons running the war didn’t give a shit about rebuilding Iraq. These same architects of war were not the least bit concerned with rebuilding Afghanistan after we removed the Taliban. They have displayed the same lack of focus in rebuilding Iraq except where matters of oil are concerned. If you read the papers you will see that we are doing poorly on both fronts.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is constantly being asked what he would do in Iraq. What he would do? It wasn’t his idea to invade a sovereign, predominantly Muslim nation. What is Bush’s plan? It was his idea. Bush doesn’t mention anything beyond childish pipe dreams of instilling democracy and freedom n Iraq. I don’t have any figures on this but suppose 90% of Iraqis don’t want us in their country. How can we shove freedom down their throats?

I would guess that the standing orders for U.S. troops in Iraq are to lay low and stay in their compounds until after the election so as not to incur heavy casualties that will make Bush look bad. I think this is why we are seeing a lot more air strikes lately as they can be carried out with not much risk to U.S. personnel. Iraqi civilian casualties have never been the slightest concern to most Americans.

We are going to lose in Iraq, make no mistake about that. Kill one insurgent and you create 10 terrorists as one Iraqi recently said. At this point I think the only way we can restore order in Iraq is by using a very heavy-handed military approach tantamount to genocide. A better solution is just to leave Iraq which seems politically impossible at this late stage of the game. We will leave, and when we do Iraq will spiral into chaos. Of course, it would be easy to consider the situation there as already being chaotic.

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