"March of Folly" in Iraq (continued)
My initial posting under this title (12/18/05) has produced 18 comments so far from readers. This response is unprecedented. Much of it was undoubtedly spurred by the recent citation of Octogenarian as "The Blog of the Week" by WXPNews, a popular on-line magazine. The intensity of the comments shows that the Iraq war is probably the most critical issue of the day for public discussion. I am pleased that my blog is being utilized as a forum for debate (see below).
About half the comments support my view that the Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq was a dreadful mistake. The other writers vigorously defend it.
What disturbs me about the critics of my view is their illogical insistence that the war's opponents are in effect opposing the war against radical Islamic terrorism. In making this argument,President Bush and his supporters clearly imply that that it is virtually unpatriotic to oppose the war. At the same time,they continue to explain that Iraq was invaded in response to 9/11. And when this explanation is dismissed, they return to those other excuses for the war: that Saddam Hussein threatened the U.S. with WMDs or that we are embarked on an idealistic crusade to introduce democracy to the Muslim world.
Arguing that those of us who oppose the war are also against the war on terrorism, reader Rick, for example, has written: "There are those poor fools who believe that if we just talk to the terrorists and try to understand their view a little better, then everything will be alright. Those are the types of people who, if allowed to be in positions of power, scare the hell out of me."
In all candor, I am "scared out of hell" by the Iraq war's defenders who fail to recognize that the Iraq invasion is actually hampering the war on terrorism. The invasion has set us back in this critical endeavor by diverting manpower and other vital resources to an unnecessary war.
As has been pointed out by many military and intelligence experts--at least those who have no partisan need to support the Bush Administration (e.g., Gen. Brent Scowcroft)--we have turned Iraq into a breeding ground and training center for terrorists and have lured Al-Qaeda and other jihadis into the country. In short, we have alienated the Muslim world and created new enemies.
Moreover, the situation in Iraq has allowed Iran--a far more serious threat with WMDs than Saddam ever was--to become an influential player in the country. In the past, Saddam, admittedly a very dangerous dictator, had been a barrier against both Iran (with whom he had waged war) and Al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists who regarded Saddam as a religous infidel.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, where we had successfully destroyed Al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts, the Islamic terrorists appear to be making a comeback.
So where do we stand now? An American general has been quoted as admitting that one reason for the insurgency that continues to kill and maim our troops is our very presence in the country. And despite all the hoopla about the Iraq elections and the photos of happy voters with their purple fingers, the country is in chaos and is facing a civil war.If extremist Shiite factions gain control, which is very possible, Iraq--or at least the huge regions that they would rule--could wind up as a theocratic ally of Iran.
And for this, we invaded Iraq?