A Reader’s Response to my 1/5/07 column, “Our Wars.”

Rick,

As far as I can decipher, your justification for going to Iraq was that we “should cowboy Saddam… we need to protect the Kurds… and Saddam’s payments to suicide bombers was criminal”.

Are we talking about same Kurds that Bush just pissed off by ambushing an Iranian embassy?  The same Kurds who while being gassed in 1988, members of the Reagan administration tacitly stood by doing nothing because Saddam was engaging the Iranians in a little war which claimed over a million lives underwritten at least partially by Ronnie himself. Are we discussing same Kurds that were abandoned by Bush the firsts’ administration after pushing them to revolt?  The main players in the Bush Administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Pearle, et al. and the many pundits who support them) have sold the Kurds out at every step.   Why on earth would they suddenly protect them?  Why have these Neocons not been behind the idea of a partition ala Joe Biden?  This is not cutting edge diplomacy.  Why?  Then the Kurds would have their own country and at least some oil revenues that are due them.  Oh wait, Turkey would never stand for that, and how much aid do we give the Turks, the soon to be EU member?  The Bushies could give a fuck about the Kurds.  And while your idea is a noble one, the Kurds are the least concern of our current little war against terr’rism in I—RAQ.  We are much more concerned with the Shiites and their lovely inspirational leader Mr. Moqtada Sadr and the former Baathist Sunnis that live in proximity to the biggest oil fields.

Yes I agree that Saddam needed to be taken out.  But couldn’t we at least have looked realistically at the power vacuum that was going to occur?  The Chinese General Sun Tzu stated:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

Sun Tzu (6–5th century B.C.), Chinese general. Ed. James Clavell (1981). The Art of War, ch. 3, axiom 18 (c. 490 B.C.).

If we, as a country are planning on invading another country against the wishes of the majority of the rest of the world, couldn’t we do so with a least a working knowledge of the population.  Why not engage our allies in the area (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the Israelis) or at least the ones we provide billions of dollars in aid to, to get a little pre war intelligence.  Maybe even hire an Arabic speaker here or there?  I’m no military expert, but remembering the bombing of the barracks in Lebanon in the early 80’s, the Black Hawk down incident in Somalia, the bombing of the USS Cole, the multiple bombings during the past two intifadas in Israel, the guerilla war that the Afghanis fought against the Russians, and several other Mideast incidents, why were we so surprised that the old Baath army melted into the population and became the de facto insurgency?  Why did Paul Bremner disband the army, made up mostly of Baathists and deny them a paycheck, a way to make a living?  Why are we now hiring them back and expecting loyalty?  We take out the despot and replace him with what:  a Shiite puppet whose master is a firebrand cleric.  If taking out the despot was the reason we got into the war, then we fucked it up beyond belief.  Take out the puppet, put in the religious extremists.  Democracy imposed 101 in action.

Were Saddam’s payments to suicide bombers criminal?  Who knows, it wasn’t part of the trial that recently found him guilty of genocide and hanged him.  Again, a major FUBAR.  Why not send him to the International Court at Hague?  Try him like Milosivic, like the Nuremberg Trials, with a semblance of legitimacy, instead of a kangaroo court with Shia gangbangers?  Then you can legitimize the argument that”his payments to suicide bombers” was indeed criminal.  Oh wait, they hanged him while shouting out the name of Moqtada Sadr.  Get rid of Al Queda, invite in the other Taliban, seems like a good exchange.

The whole reason for the war, in my humble opinion was to stimulate the US economy.  Stagnation, stagflation, recession, oh my.  Call me a cynic, but the tech bubble had burst, 9/11 had decimated the airlines, tourist trade, large parts of the service economy, and the financial sector was reeling from being a target.  What do we make in the USA these days that could stimulate the economy?  We make cars, but not as good as the Japanese.  We make steel, but not as cheap as the Chinese.  We manufacture computer components, but it’s cheaper on the Pacific Rim.  What is the one thing we make better than anyone else?  War.  So the Bushies trot out a host of plausible reasons.  Fox drums up the threat by stating Saddam has WMD that could hit the UK in 45 minutes.  They get Tony the Poodle Blair to sell it to the American left.  Line up a couple of other allies who will do their part for goods or cash to be traded at a later date:  the Cotillion of the Willing.  And Presto, we have the next clash of Civilizations:  the WAR ON TERROR.  Too bad our representatives in Congress were a rubber stamp for this misguided mission.  And now, we find our country 4 years in with eroded civil liberties, and fear mongers in charge of the White House selling scare, as spun by FOX News, yet the economy is making a rather astounding recovery.  The NYSE is over 12,000, the housing market is suffering a slight correction, but housing starts are up again, the tech industry is making quite the comeback, based largely on new security software and hardware.  God Bless that home land security.  And if you own energy stocks, or oil production related products, then you are golden.  Boffo still, if you own a couple shares of General Dynamics, Boeing, Halliburton, Blackwater USA, Aegis, Bechtel, GE, and too many others to mention.  What has gone unmentioned in all of the discussion of this miserable little blood bath in the Mideast is the profit motive.  And like everything political, one must follow the money.

In closing, I believe that your reasons for going to war are better, more altruistic than this administration.  Personally, I don’t believe that there is any reason to go to war short of an attack on our sovereign soil or a direct attack on our vital interests (and that does not include Blackwater mercenaries).  The war should have been fought solely in Afghanistan.  We should have routed Al Queda and the Taliban.  We should have re-built that country and given their farmers something to grow other than poppies to fuel the heroin market.  We should have spent our resources rebuilding the Afghan economy, modernizing their educational system, their roads, and their hospitals.  Instead, Iran is throwing millions of dinars at the Afghan economy, and building mosques with every new road and outpost.  More places to teach the Arab youth how to hate democracy, hate the western ideal and lifestyle.  But no, George W. Bush, the worst President in the history of our country and his corrupt cronies have damaged the reputation of this country worldwide and ruined the next generation of Iraqi youth by importing an inept occupation hell bent on saving the population from despotism.  It is fucking clinically depressing.  It’s been the most despicable period in my 47 years as a citizen of the USA and when I travel abroad, I encounter a world population that thinks us morons for electing this semblance of a leader.  Shame on us, shame on George W Bush, shame on his advisors, shame on every corporation that has made one red cent off of this endeavor.  Shame on us for electing, not once, but twice this miserable sneering little piece of shit as President of the United States.

So where do we go from here?  How about a SURGE?  More of the same, from this inept fuck, but with more 19 year olds in the line of fire.  Maybe now we’ll have a Congress that will hold this pathetic, corrupt, misguided President and his Machiavellian administration’s feet to the fire.

May we one day find a peace so powerful it inspires even the poorest Muslim child, the poorest Christian child, the poorest atheist child to stop killing each other in the name of Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Allah, God.  A peace that transcends borders, boundaries, belief, and unites us all in the fact that we share, as men and women born of women, a common birthright.  And may it happen in my son’s lifetime so he doesn't have to deal with a world population that would have him killed without seeing his beautiful smile.

Thus spake Randustra.

Take it slow bro,
R.S., Chicago, IL

Return to “Our Wars” or