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Was Iraq a Dumb War?

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    Barack Obama has been reminded that as an Illinois state legislator, he had called Iraq a "Dumb War". Was Iraq Dumb War"? History will indeed have the final word & I certainly suspect that very much as Winston Churchill assured Neville Chamberlain that history would not treat Chamberlain well, because Churchill would himself write that history, Mr. Obama will write about the actions of his predecessor. Many of Barack Obama's supporters first took notice of him when he opposed the war as an Illinois state senator. He was right then and he is right now. I am a former US Army officer and I could not agree with Mr. Obama more. Nearly every single justification given to the world to justify the Iraq war was a lie. Many people knew it then and we were shocked when otherwise sane members of the US Congress voted to support a war because they felt "we had to do something". I have known many members of the US Army that I would serve with in any theatre of operations where American intervention was required. We have the best military in the world. Bar none. However, as an officer I would obey my commander-chief as long as it took for my separation from the military to be processed. Good commanders do not waste the most important asset any organization has: It's people.

    US & international arms inspectors told us that they had serious questions about the existence of weapons of mass destruction. There were many reasons to think the Iraqi nuclear weapons program had been decimated. European intelligence agencies were manipulated in such a manner that they were essentially giving credibility to intelligence from faulty reports from each other. This made it appear that they were credible when in fact they were merely repeating each others faulty intelligence. When you wrap all of this in the American flag and whip up a frenzy of patriotism the result is a recipe for disaster.

    I have seen men and women at Walter Reed Army Medical Center we should all be proud of. My greatest regret is that they were sent to fight a war that never should have been prosecuted in the first place. Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11. There was no connection between Al Queda and the brutal dictator that ran Iraq. Indeed, there was no love lost between the fundamentalist and the dictator that they considered a heretic. There were no Iraqis on the 9/11 planes. The insurgency forces the US fought in Iraq did not exist before the invasion. Many of the fundamentalist fighters traveled to Iraq from neighbouring countries to fight Americans for the simple reason that they were there. The US allowed Iran and it's surrogates, Hezbollah and Hamas to become stronger. The US created a great deal of ill will in the Arab world at time when most of it's members are under 35. Perhaps Saddam would have gone the way of the rulers of Libya and Egypt. during the "Arab Spring". He would certainly been a candidate for overthrow. The US took it's eye off of the prize in Afghanistan and diverted resources away from a justified war to one created out of whole cloth. 115,000 thousand Iraqi dead. Almost 4,500 US casualties. Almost every aspect of life, for the average Iraqi is far worse now than it was before the invasion. Other than the removal of Saddam many Iraqis are hard pressed to list positive outcomes of the invasion. This does not even begin to take into consideration the financial cost of the war. I have been to too many funerals and seen too many broken bodies at Army hospitals to come to any other conclusion than that this was indeed a dumb war. A very dumb war.
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    First off, thank for your military service to our country.

    I attended an anti-war rally in McAllen, Texas during the run-up to the Iraq war. On the way home, listening to NPR, I remember hearing Obama's speech outside the federal courts building in Chicago with Jesse Jackson off to his side. 
    "I'm not anti-war, I'm anti-dumb war."  It sent chills down my spine. Like many, I heard a voice that sounded like presidential timber. 

    The Iraq war totally horrified me. By week one of the invasion, with no recovery of WMD, I was certain this was going to be an absolute disaster, especially in the area of our non-proliferation efforts. Despite the p.r. coup of Qadafi disarmament in Libya, which now rings hollow  considering that the transitional government reportedly recovered nuclear weapons in country, I believed that our anti-proliferation efforts would suffer as dictatorial regimes would have an incentive to retain WMD, especially over the short term with US bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. If Saddam disarmed and got removed anyway because the USG said otherwise, what are other regimes to think? WMD disarmament would appear to put them at risk. They are damned if the do and damned if they don't. 

    And now you have an accelerating Iranian nuclear program to worry about. 

    Thanks for your comments and again for your service.
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    Roland Nicholson, Jr.

    Thank you. I agree 100 percent with your sentiments. I appreciate that President Obama has to present the withdrawal from Iraq in a "face saving narrative" that just as well could have been written by the Bush administration. The many troops that died or were wounded and their families need to feel that their sacrifices were not in vain. Time will eventually reveal the truth, and hopefully one day those that have served and their families can face that reality. But probably not today or maybe not even in the next year. There are, however, lessons to be learned that need to be discussed and openly debated.

    And for the Iraqi citizens so directly affected, how can they possibly see any good in what we "achieved." The Arab Spring has indeed demonstrated that the people of a nation can replace their dictators at a far smaller cost of lives and resources than outright war with foreign "boots on the ground." That is a lesson learned that should be heeded.

    Unfortunately the same forces and mentality that so easily brought us into the Iraq war, are now at work to bring us into another war...a war with Iran. Those members of Congress that have had their campaigns so handsomely rewarded by the military-industrial complex, are beating the drums of war again. (Did they ever stop?) But for war in the Middle East area it is not just about feeding the war profiteers...it is an unwritten alliance between them and those on the Christian right, the dispensationalists, that believe in the Armageddon Biblical prophecy. For them, there is no cost to war that cannot be justified.

    PS - I wrote this before seeing El Prezidente's comments. I also agree with him.

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    Roland:


    I graduated from college in 1969, and some of my former classmates and relatives have their names engraved on a black wall in Washington, D.C.. As I stood in the shadow of that wall in the summer of 1986, I felt a profound appreciation for the  people who made the ultimate sacrifice in one of the most divisive wars in our nation's history.

    It's gratifying that today's service men and women are being treated with a lot more respect than some of the returning  Vietnam vets were.

    Again, thank you for your service!

    Although I've read a lot of commentary stating that Iraq and Vietnam aren't the same, former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara has made some interesting comparisons.
    Most revealing of all are the "eleven lessons" listed under the Post World Bank activites and assessments in the Wikipedia article listed below:

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_McNamara


    The sentence that really stands out in this paragraph is this one:

    "If we can't persuade nations with comparable values of the merit of our cause, we'd better reexamine our reasoning."

    Excerpts from his book are posted below:

    archives.obs-us.com/obs/english/books/mcnamara/top.htm

    Our friend in Texas ia absolutely correct about the threat presented by Iran.

    Our Baha'i friends have made us aware of the continued persecution of followers of that faith in Iran (where the religion was founded), but the world knows a lot more abou thte country becasue of the video posted belwo:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbdfOQRsLM

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    This was a war for money, at the expense of the majority.  Not just the trillions we now owe the deficit, but the many lives the majority lost, so the rich money ran system could prosper.  Boeing and many others love war, but they don't have to fight the war, just make the war toys.    The majority has to fight, nothing is worth human li\fe, not even a trillion dollars I say, but not the system that is running our government.