Bush's senseless Iraq war (continued)
Aside from the celebrated issues of "guns, God and gays," George W. Bush was reelected because voters regarded him as being stronger on defense issues and more aggressive in fighting terrorism than John Kerry, who was allegedly "soft" on such matters. The dreadful irony is that, because of the Iraq invasion, U.S. military capabilities are now weaker than they were a decade ago, while the fight against Islamist terrorism has spread to new territory.
American armed forces are now deployed so widely that our military strength has been sapped and the top brass have warned about their ability to cope with new national security crises. And while Bush and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have serenely boasted until now about "progress" in fighting the Iraqi insurgents, the generals reveal that there are insufficient U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq to fight what has become a serious guerrilla war. Belatedly Rumsfeld now concedes that "the insurgency could deepen and last as long as 12 years."
Meantime, largely because of the shift of military resources to Iraq from Afghanistan, the Taliban Muslim fundamentalists, who had been soundly defeated, are making a comeback. But the most serious result of the Iraq invasion is that Iraq itself has become a dangerous breeding ground for terrorists recruited from other Islamic countries.
And all this is happening because of an unnecessary invasion of Iraq. There was no link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. There was no imminent threat to the U.S. from weapons of mass destruction in Saddam's hands. And as evil as Saddam's regime was, it was not a terrorist training ground as were Afghanistan and our so-called "ally" Saudi Arabia.
Seeking a new justification for his decision to invade Iraq, Bush now stresses his goal to introduce democracy to that chaotic country. But the more likely outlook is the emergence of a pro-Iranian Shiite theocracy and a subsequent civil war with the Kurds and Sunni Arabs.
While the fighting in Iraq intensifies, the nation's professional, all-volunteer armed forces are suffering a severe decline in recruiting and reenlistments. If indeed the U.S. intends to "stay the course" in Iraq, as Bush has blithely stated, the introduction of a military draft would be required.
Having vented my spleen over Bush's senseless war, I cannot claim to have any ideas of how the U.S. can now gracefully withdraw from the mess that we have created in Iraq. Nor can I conceive of any scheme to counter the worldwide, anti-American hostility that the Iraq invasion has created. I can only hope that we have a Democratic Congress in place before Mr. Bush's term expires so that he could be impeached for getting us into a quagmire that increasingly resembles the Vietnam war.