Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apparently We Have Won the Iraq War

By Alan Caruba

I had an odd thought the other day. Apparently we have won the Iraq war.

The president of Iraq thinks so and he wants us to leave. That's good enough for me, but apparently not for George W. Bush or John McCain. Neither of these gentlemen seems inclined to be leave. Meanwhile, Barack Obama is still trying to make up his mind when to leave. If elected, my bet is that he will find an excuse to stay.

There's all this talk of departure "horizons" versus "timetables." The good news is that we not engaged in shoot-outs every day and that the Iraqi army and police force now numbers over 500,000 men.

As matters stand now, Rasmussen Reports has posted notice that 63% of those surveyed as of July 22 want the troops to return home. That is a virtual mandate.

This war has been marked by endless absurdities starting with the USS Abraham Lincoln where President Bush announced that combat had ended and reconstruction would begin. That was in 2003. The war had been pursued on the grounds that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Turns out he didn't by the time we invaded, but—surprise—he did have tons of "yellowcake", the stuff you need to make nuclear weapons.

Was there ever a more political round of absurd nonsense than the fuss over The New York Times opinion piece by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, followed by the revelation his wife worked for the CIA? A massive and needless investigation of White House aides ensued, led by a prosecutor who knew exactly who leaked the facts about her. Wilson had written that he had found no evidence that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake. He has been proclaiming his indignation ever since. Nobody likes a crybaby.

The Iraq War will likely qualify as one of the most curious in our very long history of military interventions in the Middle East. The troops, bless'm, were in Baghdad within in a week or so, but once there the Iraqis began looting everything that wasn't nailed down and burning a great deal of their own infrastructure including schools, libraries and universities.

Having gone in with too few troops, nothing could be done to secure the city and, after the looting, the nation became a killing ground as various internal and external factions made war on each other and on us. In the process we lost some 4,000 troops. Eventually, the level of Iraqis killing Iraqis reached a point where even they found it nauseating.

The result? Peace, glorious peace!

Americans tend to forget that, in the Middle East, most political disagreements are settled with assassinations such as the murder of Egypt's Anwar Sadat and, more recently, the killing of Benezir Bhutto in Pakistan. In Lebanon, the Syrians assassinated a whole raft of politicians whom they found irksome. Several efforts have been made to kill Hamid Karzi of Afghanistan. In Gaza, Fatah was forced out by Hamas at gunpoint. Having achieved zero cooperation for decades, world leaders keep insisting that the Israelis negotiate with Fatah, giving them land and lollypops.

In the midst of the speculation about a possible war with Iran, people forget that, under Saddam's leadership, Iraqis fought Iranians for eight years in the 1980s. The result was a million casualties and a total stalemate. Then Saddam invaded Kuwait, occasioning our first visit there. And people still wonder why Bush43 concluded that it was cheaper in the short run to just invade and kill Saddam.

The history of conflict in the Middle East suggests that Arabs are not very good at fighting wars. If Lebanon's Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy, decides to attack Israel again, the only thing left of Beirut and the rest of the nation will be its wall-to-wall smoldering ruins. It's always a bad idea to attack Israel, particularly for a second time.

Listening to presidential candidates arguing back and forth about withdrawing from Iraq is a tad surreal. Realistically it will take at least a year or more to get out of Iraq because we have a ton of hardware there. Most of it will be warehoused in Kuwait and Qatar.

Tucked away in desert wadis, encampments of American troops will likely be pulling duty in Iraq for a very long time to come. Once we invade a nation we never really leave.

The Middle East is what it has always been; a festering cesspool of oppression, corruption, backwardness, and despair. What else is new?

In truth, the United States has been sending troops to the Middle East since Thomas Jefferson commissioned our first Marines to kill Barbary pirates. We built the first U.S. Navy precisely for that purpose.

No doubt there will be some kind of big international confab to conclude the recent unpleasantness in Iraq and everyone will toast each other with champagne and toss back some really good caviar.

Saddam Hussein is dead. We won. It's time to redeploy to some other nation foolish enough to get our attention.

12 comments:

Justin said...

Wars tend to be like Nato, and other government agencies. Once they go up they never seem to disapear even after there usefulness has long past.


Companies tend to evaluate them selves and cull the dead weight. I often wonder why it is so hard for the U.S. to do the same.

If the department of Education was turned into the department against government waste perhaps it would be prudent?

I would never have fought in Iraq, but do see some usefulness in the fact that many Jihadist from around the Islamic world have been killed, and been shown that their divine destiny is not so set in stone.

I am with you though I would get out since we have acheived all we set out to. Finish the job in Afganistan and then let the remaining jihadist ponder their future carear choices.

Great article!!

Alan Caruba said...

Thank you, Justin. I'm just telling it like it is.

You can thank your lucky stars the Draft is dormant and you didn't have to suit up for combat. 'Cause when Uncle Sam wanted to go to war a lot a folks didn't have a choice.

I take my hat off to those who fought in Iraq, but I think we need to bring'm home, pin a medal on them, and give them a long vacation.

scott ryan said...

if you think that America should leave Iraq now because they have won the war, you are wrong.
al-maliki & his Iraqi troops have what,,,, they have won the fight,, wrong,,
if America did not build cement walls around sadra city, al sadar would of not made a ceasefire, they only did because they new that after the cement wall was completed, that they could not get any more weapons into sirdar city,, so within 3 more months of the fighting inside the cement wall, they would run out of ammo because the cement wall stops any think getting in,, plus they go door to door with sniffer dog finding every guns & bombs and so on.
al-maliki should not think that his troops have won the war, and that American troops can go home,,,
do you really think that, if American troops leave now, that Iraq will stay a full democracy,, especially after al-maliki runs his troops for only 3 months now,,,, American troops need to stay there for 20 years at least, and need to see 10 different presidents before they leave,, to make shore they don’t rig the elections, and to watch people come and go from government.
the Iraq troop have done what,,, al-maliki has done what to win the war.
Al-maliki has had real control of his troops for 4 months, his government is only just starting to run there country, and you think that if American troops just leave, it will stay a democratic country,, wrong/wrong..
just like ww1, the British did not stick around for 20 year to set things right in Germany, instead they half won the war then formed a half dodgy government, then left when it just started to work, then look what happened, Hitler,, you have to stay there for 20-30 year to make shore it will stay a democracy & have fair elections.
If you leave Iraq / al-maliki with a government that has got half control with its troops, and no one stay to make shore they have fair elections, it will be back to the old Iraq.
Even if al-maliki had full control of Iraq troops, it would be worse and more likely that it would become a communist type country,,,
You can not give al-maliki full control of the troops and leave Iraq and think it will become a democratic country, because it will 100% not..
America must stay for 20 to 30 years, but only have 20 to 30,000 troops there with 75% of air support for the first 10 years then it will work and be a democratic country..

scott ryan said...

if you think that America should leave Iraq now because they have won the war, you are wrong.
al-maliki & his Iraqi troops have what,,,, they have won the fight,, wrong,,
if America did not build cement walls around sadra city, al sadar would of not made a ceasefire, they only did because they new that after the cement wall was completed, that they could not get any more weapons into sirdar city,, so within 3 more months of the fighting inside the cement wall, they would run out of ammo because the cement wall stops any think getting in,, plus they go door to door with sniffer dog finding every guns & bombs and so on.
al-maliki should not think that his troops have won the war, and that American troops can go home,,,
do you really think that, if American troops leave now, that Iraq will stay a full democracy,, especially after al-maliki runs his troops for only 3 months now,,,, American troops need to stay there for 20 years at least, and need to see 10 different presidents before they leave,, to make shore they don’t rig the elections, and to watch people come and go from government.
the Iraq troop have done what,,, al-maliki has done what to win the war.
Al-maliki has had real control of his troops for 4 months, his government is only just starting to run there country, and you think that if American troops just leave, it will stay a democratic country,, wrong/wrong..
just like ww1, the British did not stick around for 20 year to set things right in Germany, instead they half won the war then formed a half dodgy government, then left when it just started to work, then look what happened, Hitler,, you have to stay there for 20-30 year to make shore it will stay a democracy & have fair elections.
If you leave Iraq / al-maliki with a government that has got half control with its troops, and no one stay to make shore they have fair elections, it will be back to the old Iraq.
Even if al-maliki had full control of Iraq troops, it would be worse and more likely that it would become a communist type country,,,
You can not give al-maliki full control of the troops and leave Iraq and think it will become a democratic country, because it will 100% not..
America must stay for 20 to 30 years, but only have 20 to 30,000 troops there with 75% of air support for the first 10 years then it will work and be a democratic country..

Alan Caruba said...

Three words, Scott: Spelling, spelling, and spelling. And punctuation. You are going to be given a pass because you are no doubt the result of the horrid educational system, but you could at least make an effort, okay?

Unless you are prepared to personally spend the next twenty years in Iraq, I respectfully suggest that you not set up that program for the soldiers over there fighting the bad guys.

As my post says, America never really leaves anyplace it invades, so rest assured that our military will be in the Middle East in some capacity for a long time to come.

scott ryan said...

Alan Caruba,, try read this then.
well mate guess what,,, educational system in Australia is fine, I did not want to
Learn back then.

& number 2, you are a American,, don’t worry about someone who can not spell 100% mate.
Americans are dum and I am the one that told your country what to do in Iraq, like the ,surge,
Road block and check points everywhere, and sniffer dog/ test there hand for explosives / making full proof id cards and 1000 more things, plus Gave them the idea for building a cement wall around sadar city an so on,,,
So if you and your chiefs of staff had a good educational system back then,,,,why why why why did it take a person who has had a bad educational system to teal you what to do, to win the war, a mate.
don’t worry about the spelling mate, I no a lot
More then you, and really am 100 times smarter then, and your chiefs of staff.
even though I cant spell or put, what is it,,punctuation in the right spot.
The hole new strategy of the Iraq war, was from a guy from south Australia, who has had what,,, had a bad educational system…?
Now you teal me mate.
It’s the American way, people like you would of said the new war plan the ,surge, would not work,,
People like me make it work, & 95% gave your people in charge, the new strategy, like the surge then cement wall of sadar city that is
Wining the war for America,, ps, along with 300 other thing as well.
So don’t teal me about spelling problems or result of the horrid educational system….
America is the problem, and people like you like bush who think you no what is right and what is wrong are wrong.
Ps,, not 1 lie in what I am saying.
So don’t worry mate I will give you and America a pass 2.
I think you should scrap your educational system,, its not working anyway.

Justin said...

Scotts got merit to his argument. If America was all that smart we would not need checks & balances, and free and open discussions.

I am definatly not all knowing or all seeing. As Scott considers himself a step up on the evolutionary scale I'm glad us dumb Americans have a system by which we can re-ceive his informed opinion.

I definatly can not take pride in being all knowing, but I can apreciate the thoughts of others even if they throw daggers at me.

Its definatly worth as much open discussion as possible these conflicts.

I maybe a little stupid but this battle how with battle with radical Islam turns out will govern the destinies, and freedom to choice those individual for millions of born and un-born alike.

Alan Caruba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin said...

Australians are not really any different then people in the states.

Unfortunatly we are limited by our human nature. Coming to terms with our limitations is what makes western secular - democratic governance wise.

Not coming to terms with our human limitations is what dooms other regions of the world to darkness and misery.

We have come to a unique juncture in our shared human history to which the our conflicts with Radical Islam are just a small part.

For better or worse their will definatly be change. If we all stay true to our shared beleifs in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; dispite the differences of opinion, our future can not be anything but bright.

This is my personal opinion.

Alan Caruba said...

Justin, unfortunately neither of us is as brilliant and omniscient as Scott. Surely he should have his own blog so we could visit it daily and worship him.

What is it with these Aussies? First there was "Saildog" and now there is "Scott"...and I am beginning to suspect a connection. "Saildog" got banned for being annoying. Let me look into my crystal ball and see what fate awaits "Scott." Hhhhmmmmm.

scott ryan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alan Caruba said...

Okay, let's make it official. Scott Ryan is herewith banished forever from this blog for a serious lack of civility.