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Back to the future in Iraq

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As history is being written about the George W. Bush presidency, the part about invading Iraq is about when the administration started its march to oblivion. Like Vietnam, invading Iraq turned out to be a major blunder of historic proportions. The United States had no choice but to invade Afghanistan after we were attacked by Al-Qaeda on 9/11/01. Even how we fought there has been coming under fire because of costly nation building and siding with a leader we cannot trust, but nobody can fault Bush for going there. Iraq was a different story. There were endless UN resolutions demanding the turning over of weapons of mass destruction much of the world believed Saddam Hussein had. As it turned out-he was bluffing to keep his arch enemy, Iran, at bay. The logistics of invading Iraq were deemed to be a cake walk by those around Bush. It is interesting in the sense that Dick Cheney, as defense secretary under the first President Bush, warned against invading Iraq back in the early 1990's when the United States chased Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. In a rare, lucid moment, Cheney predicted back then that door to door warfare in Baghdad would be a complete mess for us. He was right then, and wrong in 2003.

Now we see after all these years, an Al-Qaeda presence in Iraq where none never existed before with Hussein in power. Yes, Hussein was a tyrant the world would and (maybe) is better off without, but now you could argue that perhaps the presence of a tyrant or dictator is exactly what Iraq needs. The fact is in that part of the world, attaining some sort of democracy just doesn't seem to work. Freedom doesn't come easy as we Americans know. We too had a civil war, and as we celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday, and we do so because he was a freedom fighter who was brutally murdered fighting for the cause of freedom for America's black (so called) citizens. We all know there are still plenty of racists in America, but we've come a long way.

Al-Qaeda now has a stronghold in Fallujah, a city in Iraq where much American blood was shed.We freed that city of militants, and now it's back in the hands of the enemy we first went to fight in Afghanistan: that's hardly progress. For those who think President Obama made a mistake by not leaving some of our troops there to keep Al-Qaeda from making inroads in our absence, he did try that, but Iraq's leadership deemed our troops could stay but they would be subject to Sharia law. Needless to say-we didn't stay, and rightly so. All I can say is, it's a good thing Bush left office when he did, as it's come to light recently that Dick Cheney wanted to bomb both Iran and Syria before he left office. We may want to foster peace in that part of the world, but bombing proved that's not always the best way to do it. Some day in the future, if the people of the Mideast can ever figure out how to get along despite their factional (religious) differences, we don't want to be the world power who bombed much of their population centers. I think Obama will look better in history as he took the cautious approach when it came to facing Republican, and military pressure to do just what Cheney wanted and hold back from more bombing or invasions by the United States.

The Iraqis need to learn how to get along. It's doubtful at this point they can pull that off. As long as there is one party rule, there will also be continued fighting-something which wouldn't be occurring without our invasion. We would be dealing with Hussein of course, but less killing on the scale we see now would be occurring. Hussein's day would have come at some point, and we kept him contained with a $1 billion annual "no fly zone". The Arab Spring which brought hope in the Mideast has stalled, and bloodshed reins. How much we had to do with that is questionable, but the people of the Mideast want peace, they just don't know how to bring it about. There is always going to be those who hold power unwilling to give it up. We can hope for a younger generation who grow up and demand more freedom, but so many of those who attacked us and seek a holy war, are or were young when 9/11 took place. It's next to impossible to predict how they will deal with their future. We can help if they want to live in a democracy or something like it, but invading countries like Iraq can have dire consequences we may not realize at the time the bombs first drop. Bush and Cheney didn't understand the long term results of liberating a nation which was kept together by a dictator. Their one dimensional view of war and peace did not serve our country nor our military very well.

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