But neither Congress nor the president officially declared war in Iraq. Instead, we invaded the boundaries of a sovereign nation under false pretenses, a divided Muslim nation, intentionally created civil strife between the Shi’ites and Sunnis and now we’re responsible for more than 100,000 wounded and dead Iraqi people. If war officially was declared, we would have had to abide by the Geneva Convention’s rules of engagement, meaning Bush couldn’t torture, waterboard or imprison innocent, unarmed civilians suspected of hating Americans. Once a declared war ended, we would have had to release all prisoners of war and cease any operations targeting specific leaders such as Osama bin Laden.
America overreacted in its response to the 9/11 terrorist attack. Bin Laden wanted to negotiate with us on a Mideast settlement between the Palestinians and Israeli government to prevent further Israeli expansion into Muslim territory. We refused and he retaliated by providing Americans with a first-hand look at what war looks like on our own soil. In retaliation, Bush decided to invade and kill every Muslim he could in Iraq and we still haven‘t found bin Laden.
Obama called his ceasefire a milestone. A milestone is a highlight, turning point or an important lifetime event. In this case, milestone is another word for defeat. Although, it could be said the conflict in Iraq did highlight America’s willingness to spend billions of dollars chasing a few thousand armed anti-American dissidents around Baghdad.
Hopefully, this milestone will represent a turning point in our foreign policy and end the futility of Americans chasing terrorist halfway around the world. We lost two wars because we couldn’t chase the communists out of Korea or Vietnam and we lost in Iraq because we couldn’t kill the last anti-American Muslim terrorist living under a tent in the Iraqi desert.
Obama said he called Bush before making his public announcement. I wonder if he consoled Bush’s ego and reminded him of the $1 trillion cost of the war he started and that it was Bush who signed the legislation providing a $1 trillion stimulus plan and the taxpayer bailout of banks, creating an almost $2 trillion debt before he left office, something the Democrats are still being blamed for today.
But did we really meet our responsibility in Iraq? Did we fail to achieve our goals and what exactly was our responsibility in Iraq? We did get rid of a dictator, something we couldn’t do when we lost the invasion on the Bay of Pigs in Cuba.
We didn’t establish a real democracy or a strong central government. In a theocracy, there is no such thing as a multiparty democratic political system. A Muslim cleric representing religious dictatorship, values, laws and corruption will ultimately determine who will be in power.
The Iraqi people did not accept, embrace or support our invasion and colonization of their land, religion or culture. They traded a cruel dictator for brutal U.S. cleansing of dissident Muslims — no different than Saddam Hussein.
We didn’t unify Iraq. Instead, we divided the nation allowing al-Qaida and the Taliban to join forces against us. Maybe our responsibility was just to admit defeat and get out.
Obama said it’s time to turn the page on Iraq. So let’s see what’s written on the next page of war strategy in the Middle East.
We just announced Iraq will purchase more than $1 billion in military arms from the United States. That includes 18 aircraft equipped with modern technology and weapons that probably will end up being used against the United States and its allies. No doubt, Russia and China will find ways to supply similar arms to Iran and Afghanistan. Combined with the future nuclear capabilities of Iran, current nuclear weapons in politically unstable Pakistan and a well-armed Iraq, Israel will be the prime target for the next war of mass destruction.
Obama said he believes that “out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization.” The question remains: Is rearming Iraq to do our dirty work in the Mideast the beginning or the end of civilization?
David Farside is a Sparks resident and political activist. The polemics of his articles can be discussed at email@example.com. His Web site is www.thefarsidechronicles.com.