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Iraq: the gift that keeps on giving

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If nothing else, maybe America will learn, once again, that invading other countries and going to war has consequences. You would have thought the masterminds of the Iraqi war, including two men who were of draft age during Vietnam, would have remembered that quagmire, and its lessons. Obviously Dick Cheney (5 deferments-Bush went the National Guard route) and George W. Bush did not remember history. There were other- more recent events (around that era) to remind these two about the consequences of going to war in foreign lands with inherent obstacles. After the Soviet Union fell apart, former independent nations battled each other when the main rule of law was gone. The war in Kosovo was yet another reminder of what happens when a commanding entity is removed from power allowing formerly enslaved people to fight for ultimate power. Saddam Hussein was certainly an evil tyrant, but he kept the Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other. During the first Gulf War, Dick Cheney, then Defense Secretary, wisely verbalized the sheer chaos of fighting door to door had we invaded Baghdad. I do think that although he may have believed that, more importantly, he was kept in checked by men who knew better, like Brent Scowcroft, and the first President Bush. Bush would later show some of the same reckless tendencies though that would later be tied to his son: Bush invoked the idea of rebellion to the Kurdish people of Northern Iraq, inferring America would be there to help.They did rebel, and were slaughtered without any aid from America. Maybe that played into invading Iraq after 9/11, but George W. Bush would never admit that.

I did support the idea of keeping forces in Iraq after we left in 2011, but the Iraqi's didn't want us, and the departure date was initially set up by George W. Bush. Could President Obama have forced the issue more with the Iraqi government? Maybe so, but how long would American soldiers remain in a hotbed of violence keeping the Sunni's and Shiite's apart? The American people were already fed up with what was, along with Afghanistan, our two longest wars. George W. Bush didn't know who these two warring factions were when asked during the 2000 presidential campaign. That ignorance would come back to haunt all of us.

There's a time to go to war when America's vital interest is at stake. In this war with terrorism, we could literally go around the world and invade multiple countries simply because these slovenly freaks can train in most any area where the rule of law is nonexistent. At the end of the day, the Iraqi people, Sunni and Shiite alike, are going to have to figure out a way to live together, or figure out a way to divide their country into three regions, an idea expressed by Joe Biden years ago.The Kurdish people already inhabit the north and live in relative peace. We do owe them because they seem to be the only normal human beings in a nation of blood thirsty terrorists. As most would agree, yes, most people of this and other war-torn nations would like nothing more than to live in peace, and some prosperity. For that to happen, the people of Iraq, Syria and elsewhere are going to have to figure out just how to forgive centuries of rivalries and decide their future can be spent killing each other, or building a better life. As the major super power, we can help with this effort, as we always have, but we can't keep invading and occupying other lands, trying to force peace by force. Other nations around the world are also going to have to get involved: it can't always be America being the apparent bully, even if the goal is peace, because too many times perception becomes reality.

Iraq was a nation put together by others, mainly the British. Who is to say they got it right? Maybe dividing this country is the only way to get something resembling peace.No matter what, we may have to somehow help defeat the latest version of terrorism, calling themselves, ISIS. Iran has mentioned something about a possible collaboration with the United States in ridding the area of this group. In another insipid move among many, Iran offered to help us in the early days of the Iraqi war, but the Bush team blew them off. These guys made almost every mistake imaginable, and we are still paying the price.It won't be easy as there are bloody days ahead and more chaos. Iraq needs real leaders with vision, the ability to compromise and the determination to see a viable future. The current government in Iraq is a farce and everyone knows it. Violence is spreading like a cancer throughout the Mideast which seems to be incapable of all out peace. Unfortunately, for the typical civilians of that region, escaping with their lives becomes a daily ritual. It's tough to watch, but for Americans- we need to remember that as much as we love our freedom and lifestyle, it's not necessarily a commodity we can easily export wherever and whenever we want.

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