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Friday, June 27, 2014

Iraq is a mess that needs patience

From F5, (Wichita):

June 26, 2014

The World Cup is in full swing now, and I like to spend several hours a day watching the amazing display of athletic prowess. Those guys really have game. I'm sure I would be even more a fan if I had played the game or even just understood the rules. Still, I love it.
As much as I am into the games, however, the specter of Iraq keeps shouldering its way into my consciousness. Reports of internal warfare, religious animosity and political discord just throw me into the Wayback Machine and names like Kirkuk, Mosul and Fallujah threaten to haunt my dreams. It is a mess. It may have always been a mess, but it surely is one now. And part of it is our fault.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, he needed his butt kicked. George H.W. Bush, Stormin' Norman Schwartzkof and American air, land and sea forces did it. But Bush I, no matter how much he loathed Saddam and his regime, knew that worse conditions were possible. He declined to invade Iran and end the regime.
No one ever accused Bush II of being as smart as his daddy (or his momma for that matter). But Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld convinced him that his daddy made a mistake in leaving Saddam in power. They pushed W. to the point of invading Iraq.
The "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction was enough to convince George W. that an invasion to depose Hussein would be a good thing and also an easy thing. They believed that the war would be short and relatively painless, that it would be welcomed by the Iraqi people and paid for out of oil revenue. Some good people were taken in by these arguments. Some good men were sent to do the work.
Of course, the invasion was botched. Not by the troops but by the administration. The Iraqi army and police were dismantled. A new army was built by American advisors using American equipment at a cost of upward of $23 billion. After 10 years, a new government was established under Western democratic principles. By 2012, the Obama administration (which had inherited a war it didn't like) was ready to pull our troops out except for a small "training" force and rapid response capability.
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