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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Revisiting the Iraq War.

For all of 2016, I have been without a television.  It wasn't some moral choice on my part to rid my life of time wasting distractions and bad influences, it was more of a case of changing residences and not finding the time to hire a new Cable or Satellite provider.  Once Lent season rolled around, and I still hadn't connected the boob tube, I decided to guilt myself into extending this new lifestyle sans TV.  I gave up television for Lent.  Granted, when Lent commenced I was already without my 46' flat-screen Sony, but I did have the intention of rejoining the grid.  Lent gave me the opportunity to extend this experiment, which no-doubt has been good for me.  The most valued benefit of not having a television is being able to keep Donald Trump out of my life.  Friends assumed I would spend less time at home without a TV, but having my own personal, guaranteed "no Trump zone" tempts me to spend more time in my empty little apartment, catching up on my reading.  But I still function in this society, therefore I am destined to get more than my share of "The Donald".  This character manages to increase my dislike for him every single chance he has.  If I'm at my friend Sue's house, or visiting my Mother, and the TV is on in the background, the media will find a way to include Trump in the programming.  I could be mistaken, but I believe my friend Stacy and I actually saw Trump interjected into a National Geographic Channel program about asexual reproduction in the worm community.....and there's Trump.

I've already explained my hypothesis regarding Trump, the media, and our future next President, Donald Trump.  Today my annoyance is with something I've heard this ignorant bully repeat a number of times.  Donald Trump did not support President George Bush's decision to invade Iraq following 9/11.  Shockingly, Trump normally explains his lack of support for the invasion by connecting the war and its aftermath to Bush's less-than brilliant attempt to justify the invasion by protecting the free world from Iraq's research into Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).  Trump, who seems to enjoy soaking in his own ignorance like a chicken in a pot of stew, seems to believe that Iraq, in fact, did not have any WMD and was not conducting banned weapons research.  In fact, Iraq was (is?) littered with WMD; Saddam Hussein had poison gas storage facilities in a number of locations around Iraq.  Maybe you don't consider Mustard Gas a Weapon of Mass Destruction?  I'm sure the Shi'a women and children that Saddam gassed following the first Gulf War will disagree. But Trump, in all his bluster and braggadocio, can't help himself.  So he goes on television to brag to the American people that he did not support the Iraq War and that he knew that there were no WMDs.  I only wish Trump would have been obliged to spend a bit of time out in the desert as we had to do.  A good gust of wind and sand would turn his hair into a magic carpet.

I no longer discuss the subject of WMD as it relates to the Iraq War, but I welcome the opportunity to discuss the conflict in simple, factual terms.  After observing the damage that had been inflicted on our transportation grid and our sense of safety, no doubt Osama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri spent the months following the September 11 tragedy, making every effort to plan and implement a similar attack.  The longer we waited to directly respond, the more likely that al-Qaida and their supporters would find the opportunity to hit us again.  As a nation, our defense apparati had to undergo a Sea Change, and make terrorism the greatest threat to our security.  Fighting a war against s terrorist group is nothing like conventional warfare.  They don't want to be forced into prolonged military engagements because they have neither the manpower or the equipment to be successful.  Hence their Modus Operandi of utilizing well-trained, heavily-armed and religiously motivated operators with tremendous religious conviction.  Terrorists can slip into crowds and disappear like a needle in a haystack.  President Bush was faced with a difficult task: how to defeat an enemy that is so far removed from the United States, and relishes the backward, primitive society within which they live.  Bush and his advisors came to the conclusion that to destroy Al-Qaida, the conflict must be taken to bin-Laden and his group of butchers.  We knew that Al-Qaida was being given a form of Sanctuary by Afghanistan's Islamic Extremist Taliban government.  I believe that the Bush Administration chose to deliver the war to Al-Qaida in its own back yard, which ideally would force them into a conventional conflict, and there was no way that Al-Qaida (and the Taliban, for good measure, could hope to triumph over the United States military in a conventional war.  But the Bush Administration had a dilemma: a country was needed that was near enough to Afghanistan to support our military efforts against the Taliban, and also present an opportunity for a long-term military presence, in the form of military bases.  If this plan were successful, Al-Qaida would not have the resources or operatives to continue launching suicide attacks against Europe and the United States.

We all know that Iraq was chosen as the ideal location.  The United Nations had been involved in a protracted struggle with Iraq regarding its attitude towards UN resolutions.  The Bush Administration must have considered Iraq as the ideal location the create this semi-permanent military footprint in the Middle East.  I imagine that Bush expected the UN and it's member states to welcome the willingness of the United States to go into Iraq, remove a bloodthirsty dictator, and rebuild a nation with tremendous oil reserves.  Heck, he probably expected that our troops would be greeted as liberators (at least that's what a number of the Iraqi ex-pats, told Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

In the end, the plan proved successful, at least temporarily.  By 2009, much of Iraq had been rebuilt, including its transportation network and refining capacity.  But more important is the fact that following 9-11, Islamic Extremists were unable to repeat their destruction.  The U.S. military, like an avenging giant, transported itself in a matter of weeks into bin-Laden's front AND back yard.  Al-Qaida attempted to combat the U.S. presence, partly by sending Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Iraq with orders to establish an Iraqi-based military force that would conduct lightening raids and ambushes, and make deadly use of Improvised Explosive Devises.  In the end, our military dropped a 500 lb bomb in Zarqawi's lap, and his group took off for greener pastures (Syria beckoned).  Of course, our foreign policy since 2008 has been at odds with what was accomplished during the Bush Administration.  But let's not let Trump trick himself anymore.  He wants to brag that he would not have invaded Iraq in 2003, then I wonder just how long it would have been before Donald Trump was witnessing another domestic terror incident.  So lay blame as you see fit, Mr. Trump.  I'm convinced that history will give the Bush Administration credit for keeping the pressure on Al-Qaida, and disrupting any other attempts at 9-11 type attacks.

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