Thursday, March 30, 2006

What Does Winning the War in Iraq Look Like?

I thought I knew what the word “win” meant, but now I’m not sure.

I read the letters to the editor and sometimes accidentally hear a bit of the Front Man’s repetitive words, and read the polls and the word “win” is used a lot. The word “win” and phrases such as “until the job’s done” are used interchangeably.

For example, one polling question concerning Iraq is worded thusly: “…do you feel more confident or less confident that the war in Iraq will come to a successful conclusion?”

What will it look like if we “win” the war in Iraq, if we stay “until the job’s done”, if the war comes to a “successful conclusion”? I’ve seen these euphemisms written or heard them said a lot by members of The Regime and/or their supporters. I’ve never heard anyone explain what these things mean, so I’m going to try to take a guess. It might be helpful to state what our mission is in Iraq. The Front Man made our reason for invading Iraq very clear. I’ll only give three examples, although many, many more exist.

“Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons.” The Front Man said this on September 12, 2002.

“Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons.” He uttered these ominous words on October 5, 2002.

Finally, on October 7, 2002, he said, “The Iraqi regime . . . possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons. We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas.”

It was clear, then, that we needed to invade Iraq because it possessed stockpiles of some of the nastiest weapons in the world. Not only did it possess them, but we knew where they were.

On March 30, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told us where these weapons were. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Rumsfeld assured us that “We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

As if this wasn’t enough proof, in England, on September 24, 2002, in a speech to The House of Commons, Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Iraq (or maybe it was Saddam Hussein alone), “…has existing and active military plans for the use of chemical and biological weapons, which could be activated within 45 minutes…”

So, in spite of the fact that, on the evening of September 11, 2001, the Front Man said, in a speech to a joint session of congress and to the American people, “Americans have many questions tonight. Americans are asking: Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al Qaeda”, Iraq must have justifiably been on his mind. He went on to say that Al Qaeda’s leader was “a person named Osama bin Laden.”

So there we were, on the evening of September 11, 2001 with the knowledge of who created such death and destruction to people and property on the very soil of the United States of America. We had no reason to believe that Al Qaeda, lead by Osama bin Laden, were finished with their attacks.

Yet, evidence that Saddam Hussein was more of a threat to us than were the people who actually attacked us was strong enough to turn away from capturing or retaliating against those who attacked us. Judging from Saddam’s “stockpiles of nasty weapons” and his “existing and active military plans” to use these stockpiles against the Western world, and they could be readied “within 45 minutes”, it was a logical move to turn from searching for those who attacked us to invading Iraq. This was in spite of, as The Front Man said on September 18, 2003, “No, we've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th.”

As bad as what bin Laden and Al Qaeda did to the US was, it couldn’t measure up to what Saddam was definitely going to do, according to Blair, with the weapons he possessed, about which so many members of The Regime told us.

Subsequently, The Front Man declared a war on terror.

Some Americans were still confused as to why we couldn’t keep the inspectors in Iraq to find these weapons considering the fact that Rumsfeld had so articulately claimed that we knew that the weapons were “…in the east, west, south and north somewhat”. Since we knew where they were, all we had to do is to tell the inspectors who would find them and a second resolution would have easily been passed. In this way, the US could fight its war against Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden while the rest of the world would have been more than happy to take care of Saddam Hussein and his violations.

The strange thing was that Rumsfeld must never have informed the inspectors where the weapons were because, even after all of The Regime’s rhetoric, aided by Blair’s specific knowledge of how and when these weapons were to be used, they never found any signs of such weapons.

In fact, the head of The Regime’s own weapons inspection team said to congress on January 28, 2004 that “It turns out that we were all wrong, and that is most disturbing.” Even David Kay couldn’t corroborate The Regime’s claims that Saddam Hussein was a greater threat to the US than those who actually attacked us.

Luckily, The Front Man covered himself in the September 18, 2003 interview by saying, “There's no question that Saddam Hussein had al-Qaida ties."

However, even with those “ties” in place, he had admitted that Iraq was not involved with the activity that should have engaged our military, the activity that occurred on September 11, 2001.

It was very clear that we were invading Iraq because of its stockpiles of WMD (weapons of mass destruction).

The Regime sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to the UN to try to convince the Security Council that, despite what the inspectors had said and what Kay was later to corroborate, Hussein did indeed have stockpiles of WMD. He wanted a second resolution from the Security Council that gave the US the OK to invade Iraq. Unfortunately, the Council chose to believe people who were actually inspecting Iraq over The Regime and denied a second resolution.

Damn the inspections! The Front Man was not going to let Saddam Hussein use the WMD that his Secretary of Defense confirmed he had. He could not wait “for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud” as he had already said on October 6, 2002. We must remember that The Front Man, when asked if he was receiving advice from his father, former President George H. W. Bush, about invading Iraq, answered with “Well, no,…There's a higher Father that I appeal to.”

That was enough for the vast majority of Americans. Consequently, in spite of the fact that The Front Man himself said that Saddam wasn’t involved in what got the country riled up and readied for war, in spite of the fact that it had been pretty significantly proved that Iraq didn’t possess WMD, therefore not making it more of a threat than those who had actually attacked us, the “higher Father” must have told him something that nobody else knew and, on March 19, 2003 at 10:15 PM eastern time, The Front Man said the following words to the American people on national television, “My fellow citizens, at this hour American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign.”

That’s right, with the leader of the people who actually attacked us still not captured and no real evidence that Iraq was a threat to the US, The Regime launched an attack. The truth must have come from the “higher father”.

Considering all of the above facts, what “winning” the war in Iraq, “finishing the job” or “coming to a successful conclusion” looked like was clear. We would invade Iraq, disarm Saddam Hussein of his stockpiles of WMD, maybe remove him from power because, despite many warnings, he insisted upon keeping these stockpiles and help the Iraqis get back on their feet.

There were no weapons of mass destruction. Not one. Saddam was actually telling the truth. To repay him for his honesty, The Regime decided that they would remove him from power anyway. What “winning” the war in Iraq or “finishing the job” looked like became very obscure. When we “knew” that they had WMD, it was clear. But they didn’t and it wasn’t.

Dick Cheney, possibly the true leader of The Regime, basically said that The Front Man, and several other members of The Regime were lying about Iraq’s involvement in 9/11 when, on September 8, 2002, he told Tim Russert on Meet The Press, “Mohammed Atta, who was the lead hijacker, did apparently travel to Prague on a number of occasions, and on at least one occasion, we have reporting that places him in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official a few months before the attack on the World Trade Center.”

Wow! Good thing we invaded Iraq even though they had no WMD. Despite what almost everyone else in The Regime had said, Cheney said Iraq was involved in 9/11.

But, almost like a swarm of planes dropping bombs on Iraq, people from conservatives to liberals, politicians to the media and, finally, The 9/11 Commission, debunked Cheney’s assertion. In fact, Cheney himself debunked his own assertion when Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards brought up the fact that everyone and their brothers were dismissing the Prague meeting.

Cheney’s response was, “The Senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11.”

No matter, a second reason which could have given us some clarity of what “winning” the war in Iraq would look like disappeared almost as quickly as it had appeared. We could have said that “winning” the war would have meant capturing Saddam Hussein because he was part of the group who attacked us on September 11, 2001. We could have put him on trial and asked him where Osama bin Laden and the rest of Al Qaeda were. He would have told us and then we could have looked for them. However, Saddam wouldn’t know. He had nothing to do with 9/11.

This is reasonably logical as bin Laden had previously referred to Saddam Hussein as “evil, a demon or devil worshipper”, calling for his overthrow by the people of Iraq. Nothing made bin Laden angrier than when Kuwait refused his offer to fend off the invading Iraqi forces in 1990. The fact that Kuwait opted for American help made it even more treacherous. Al Qaeda had no stomach for the Iraqi leader.

What does “winning” the war, “staying until the job’s done” look like now that we’ve discovered that Iraq had no WMD nor was involved in 9/11.

On May 1, 2003, The Front Man tried to answer that question on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. “The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11th, 2001…” he stated in his infamous “Mission Accomplished” speech.

Wait. Hadn’t he already said that Iraq was not involved in 9/11? How could winning the battle of Iraq be a “victory in a war on terror that began on September 11, 2001?”

The present reason given for why we invaded Iraq in lieu of tracking down those who attacked us is to free the Iraqi people from Saddam’s tyranny and bring them democracy.

Here we have to begin guessing. These are some possible visions for what all of those euphemisms mean. I’ll put them in the present tense because that’s how vision statements are supposed to be worded.

“Winning” the war in Iraq, “staying until the job’s done”, etc. means:

    1. We have invaded every nation that had nothing to do with 9/11, toppled the governments of those nations and injected those nations with democracy. One problem with that is that many of the nations that had nothing to do with 9/11 are already democracies. What to do then?

    2. We have invaded every nation whose government is tyrannical, toppled that government and replaced it with one that we can inject with democracy.

    I hate to be cynical, but I see a couple of problems with that.

    First, some of our leaders think that Venezuela’s democratically elected leader Hugo Chavéz is a tyrant, including the highly respected televangelist Pat Robertson who has suggested that we merely assassinate him. This may not set too well with the Venezuelan people who seem to love this man.

    Another problem might be toppling the government of China. I think that most Americans agree that the Chinese government in tyrannical. I’m sorry, but China actually does have nuclear warheads and plenty of them. Trying to topple that government may not set well with people who live on the west coast of The Former United States of America (FUSA).

    Besides, how would that affect our agreement to “hire a Hong Kong firm linked to the communist Beijing regime to monitor nuclear materials that pass through the Bahamas to the United States and other countries”? I’m assuming that China will monitor all of the nuclear materials headed for the FUSA except, possibly, those that they send.

    3. If we overlook all of the statements made by members of The Regime and just about everyone else in the world and believe Cheney’s assertion that Iraq was involved in 9/11 and, therefore, the war on terror, then we can say that “winning” the war in Iraq is the day that terror disappears from the earth.”

    It’s a little confusing, though.

    I was driving on the freeway and a car traveling close to the speed of sound swerved and almost hit me. I was, indeed, terrified. The driver of that car terrorized me. It was an act of terrorism. I’d even say it was an act of intentional terrorism because the driver might have guessed that, at the speed he or she was driving, he or she could terrify someone to whom she or he came too close.

    So, does “finishing the job in Iraq” mean that, if one is approached by a vehicle that is driving irresponsibly, one will no longer become terrified, feel terror? Is the war in Iraq that far reaching?

    OK, that’s a stretch, but, semantically it makes sense.

    Let’s look at it the way The Regime wants us to look at it. We know that we will have “won” the war in Iraq when there never again are acts of terrorism by radical groups, Islamic or otherwise.

    Call me cynical, even realistic if you wish, but my guess is that guaranteeing that acts like the acts of September 11, 2001 or the act of April 19, 1995, the day Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, will never happen again will entail the tracking of every human being born anywhere on this earth at anytime for that person’s entire life time. Whatever cabinet level department is created for that task will be very busy, indeed. It will no doubt even nose out Wal-Mart as the employer of the greatest number of workers in the FUSA.

    4. Some say that “winning” the war in Iraq means that Iraq is a sovereign Democratic nation which is able to defend itself. It is a nation which embraces freedom of (or from) religion, equal opportunities for everyone no matter of race, gender or ethnicity and whose government answers to the citizens.

    That, indeed, is a lovely picture. What spoils it is that it appears that the Shiite Muslims, by far the largest social group in Iraq, are almost always going to have the best chance to head this Democratic government. The Shiites are very attached to Islam and would rather the Koran, the holy book of Islam, be where the final decisions on social issues are found. Shiites are also the largest social group in Iran, a member, if you recall, of the “axis of evil”. What guarantee does the rest of the world have that, once American troops leave Iraq, the Shiites won’t ally with Iran to create a large Islamic theocracy where the FUSA had just left a sovereign democracy. All of the blood and destruction will have been for naught.

    Maybe that’s why the FUSA “is building at least four "super-bases" in Iraq, military compounds that are almost certainly designed to be huge permanent presences there.” It almost seems as though The Regime is more cynical than I am about the prospect of “winning” the war in Iraq. If nothing else, it appears as though it thinks that the war won’t be “won” anytime soon.

    There’s another monkey wrench, if you will, that’s been thrown into the “sovereignty” portion of this vision.

    On Saturday, March 25, 2006, The Front Man sent a message to Abdelaziz Hakim, the leader of the Shiite alliance, which said the present Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim al Jafari, would not be an acceptable candidate for Iraq’s upcoming election. I guess he meant al Jafari wouldn’t be acceptable to The Regime (The Regime of the FUSA).

    The message that “Hakim should seek the withdrawal of al Jafari’s candidacy” was passed on by The Regime’s “Ambassador to Iraq”, Zalmay Khalilzad.

    So much for “sovereignty, hey?
Whatever “winning” looks like, and I’d really like to see a vision statement backing up those “staying until the job’s done” statements, we’re told we just can’t up and leave, cut and run, as it’s called, because of the chaos that would be created. I suggest that, from the point of view of Iraqis, the environment under which they are living while the troops are there looks very much like chaos. I suggest that Iraqis don’t agree that it can get any more chaotic if American troops leave. In fact, I suggest that the longer the troops stay, the more chaos they’ll create.

In this essay, I hoped to find the answer to “What does “winning”, “finishing the job” or “coming to a successful conclusion” look like for the war in Iraq? I merely wanted to look at all of the possible vision statements and come up with one that seems logical, accomplished, so to speak. I wanted to give The Regime the benefit of the doubt. Well, that’s not true because I thought about this a long time ago.

After all, we’re told that, if we don’t “complete the mission”, “finish the job”, etc, it will be an insult to all of the American soldiers who’ve died in this war. In other words, more American soldiers must die, not to mention become permanently wounded and more Iraqis must die, in order to honor those that have already died. The vicious circle here is that the longer we stay, the more soldiers will die and the longer we must stay to honor them, guaranteeing more death.

There is no winning the war in Iraq. It was lost on the day we invaded that country.

    To friendship,

    If our house be on fire, without inquiring whether it was fired from within or without, we must try to extinguish it.” – Thomas Jefferson


    DHill said...

    It’s not so bad that Bush has his preemptive strike doctrine. He’s going to have that because he’s a bully. What worries me more than that is how imcompetent he is when he carries it out. So who do you think is next? Iran? You mention Venezuela. There’s a country who deserves to be attacked right? Good column!

    storm said...

    There were no wmd. So the fact that 29m iraqis can vote and will have a democratic country soon means nothing to you. You would rather see them tortured by saddam instead. We haven’t done any good there. I’m really sick of your whining.

    Michael said...

    DHill, if I’m not mistaken, you’re agreeing with me. If I am mistaken, I apologize.

    I disagree that “The Bush Doctrine” is “not so bad”. That’s not the policy that was put in place in this country.

    John Quincy Adams said, “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

    It’s not surprising, then, that he helped President Monroe formulate “The Monroe Doctrine”. A lot of people split hairs, saying that “The Monroe Doctrine” says that we won’t interfere with the inner workings of European countries. Basically, however, it would be more accurate to look at Adams’ quote above. We were not to be the policemen of the world.

    As I said, though, I detect a bit of sarcasm in what you write. No, Venezuela doesn’t “deserve” to be attacked. Like Iraq, that country has never threatened us. But I think you know that.

    storm, when the choice is between American soldiers’ lives and Iraqis right to vote, you’re right, their “democratization” means nothing to me.

    The death of American soldiers is the most important reason why I don’t care if Iraqis become democratic or not, but it’s not the only reason. You and I both know that, whenever it is that we leave Iraq, it will be overtaken by Islamic radicals. This wouldn’t have happened under Saddam. The radicals should send us a thank you card.

    The other thing you and I know is that the FUSA isn’t building “temporary” super bases. The Regime plans on staying there forever, if it has its way, just like I think it plans on staying in power well past 2008, one way or another.

    As far as my “whining” is concerned, you won’t have to read it if you don’t show up here. You can stick to reading only one side of everything, the side The Regime has trained you to read. But you keep showing up, first at my site and now here? Why do you torture yourself like that?

    However, you’re always invited to show up and maturely debate the issues.

    To friendship,

    JtWalton said...

    Michael, I already told you that I’ve read other features on your blog and must say that I agree with most of them. This piece is just another summary of the crimes of George W. Bush. I can see why you feel you need to repeat these things. Some people just don’t get it and I’m as frustrated as you are.

    It is a benefit and accepted duty to preside over the executive branch of the US government. The president of The United States of America is an ordinary inhabitant of this nation chosen to work for every American. George W. Bush is no exception.

    It is essential for the citizens to be confident that he is respecting and acknowledging the legal statutes of this country.

    I concur with Russ Feingold that it is necessary to censure Bush for definitely and without cause committing a crime by listen in on the private conversations of Americans.

    All Americans are obliged to cooperate with one another to keep America safe. By discounting our legal mandates without the awareness and approval of the people who hired him, he damaged his credibility with America. After all, those legal mandates exist for a purpose.

    Bush should at least be censured for his deceit.

    Like I said, you write some long articles, they their worth reading. I like the nicknames you give to this administration.

    taylor said...

    If I remember correctly, my brother Jim worked at a fried chicken eatery for a while when he was in college. He couldn't eat chicken for some months after working there. The very sight of chicken was revolting to his stomach.

    The truths that you cover here are no less revolting to my stomach...literally. What Bush/Blair & Co. are pulling off is so immoral, yet so obvious to anyone whose eyes are open and whose thinking caps are on, I can't read but a portion of your essay without beginning to become ill. Literally, in order to hold down my breakfast it's going to take me a few days to read through your essay. This morning I managed to make it down to your first mention of Colin Powell.

    Saddness is a part of every day, nowadays,

    Michael said...

    I’m sorry. I certainly didn’t mean to make you ill, not that I didn’t mean to make some people ill. These are people who can read about the lies – freakin’ documented quotations showing the lies, the misleading, misinformation, the charade – and not only keep their breakfasts down but, beyond the comprehension of, as you say, anyone who takes but a second or two to think, can defend this. People are still defending this.

    You know what? You present people with quotations, mushroom cloud quotes, save the world quotes, 45 minutes quotes and they ask, “So you think that we should have let Saddam Hussein stay in power?”

    Who the hell are we to say who does and who does not stay in power in other nations? Like I wrote, China’s got to be as bad, if not worse, than Iraq. Yet, we started “spreading democracy” in a nation that has less that one tenth the population which is under China’s tyrannical rule. Do people really believe that it’s good that Saddam was toppled? Do people really believe that Iraq is better off?

    Yesterday, I saw Ed Schultz, a left leaning radio talk show host, Randi Rhodes, another progressive talk show host, square off against conservative hosts on The Larry King Show on CNN. Not even the so called liberals stopped the discussion at the Weapons of Mass Destruction stage! Everyone got right into how it’s either good or bad to set a timeline, disagreed about how much progress has or hasn’t been made in Iraq. No one even said, “We shouldn’t have gone in and shouldn’t be there now. It’s Iraq, not America!”

    No one even talked about mushroom clouds and why The Regime has be given 300 billion dollars for “activity” in Iraq!! They got right into how things are now and didn’t even talk a lot about getting the hell out of there.

    One of the conservatives said that time will tell, but history will see Bush as a great president. For what!! For what!! I believe I have some ability to write and I don’t think I could make up anything based upon anything that’s close to fact that would make Bush look like a good president, let alone a great president, can you? He isn’t even the president. How can so many people be so blind?

    To friendship,