How long must we endure the stupidity of war?

Home Columns Books Talks About me Contact me

March 25, 2008

(Note: at the end of this column is a response that appeared in a letter in the Midland Daily News. It is added here with the author’s permission. I have added links to his sources and corrected  spelling but the rest is as written. Following that is an update from an Institute for the Pentagon)

 

   This month marks the fifth anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq. Until this war is over, I need to repeat once again the obvious: This war was wrong in the first place and continues to be wrong. It was based on lies at worst or faulty intelligence at best, neither of which speaks well of the present administration and those in Congress who support this war.

   The President and his top advisors during his first term (Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald  Rumsfeld, Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and others) naively thought that the Iraqis would seize the opportunity and magically govern themselves. At the same time they would use the oil revenues to pay back the United States and build a prosperous Iraq. None of that happened and it isstill not happening. And we are paying for this war on borrowed money, thus adding another trillion dollars to our national debt. Their  war plan sounds more like a living room board game than real War.

Background

   These top advisors and others in the Bush administration were key members of the Project for a New American Century which published in 2000 the document Rebuilding America’s Defenses. That document called on the United States to oust Saddam Hussein from Iraq and was critical of Iran and North Korea. These are precisely the countries Bush has been focusing on during his presidency.

   We destroyed not only the infrastructure of Iraq but any government it had by expelling all government administrators, leaving a leadership gap. Then we set up a puppet government. In the midst of war we are building an extravagant US Embassy at the cost of three quarters of a billion dollars. (Yes that is billion, not million.) Now that opposition to the war is growing in the United States, our leaders are demanding that Iraq take charge of its country. How can Iraq do that when our military and non-military security forces are occupying the country and telling them what to do?

   Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain has supported the war from the beginning and still supports it.  He maintains that we must fight the war until we succeed. We must not allow our troops to come home in shame and dishonor. He has implied that the war very may well continue for many years and he is happy with that.

Sen. John McCain

   McCain said on the Larry King show, " both Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal -- that means chaos, that means genocide, that means undoing all the success we've achieved and al Qaeda tells the world they defeated the United States of America. I won't let that happen." (CNN, February 15, 2008).

   With these words McCain perpetuates the lie that this war was initiated to fight al Qaeda. it is only a war against al Qaeda because our war opened the borders of Iraq to bin Laden’s followers and other terrorists.

   Osama bin Laden couldn’t be happier with the results of his attack on the United States on 9/11. regardless of the outcome of the Iraq war he has already won. Instead of the US seeking out and capturing bin Laden and his followers, we diverted our attention to Iraq. Instead of having only 3,000 Americans dead as a result of 9/11, we now have another 3,973 Americans dead (as of March 4)  and nearly thirty thousand injured and traumatized as well as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis  killed and millions displaced.  And we devastated a country that bin Laden had considered an enemy anyway. I am sure he is laughing at us in his secret hideaway while we fight an indefinable war in Iraq.

Challenge and Solution

   The challenge we face now in Iraq is finding a solution to the terrible destruction we have caused, not the challenge of finding an illusive undefinable success by continuing to increase the numbers of dead on both sides. Apparently bringing our troops home in body bags or in hospital beds is a sign of honor.

   The solution involves the engagement of all the major nations of the world and all the nations in the Middle East. Such an action will not occur under a  McCain presidency who supports the failed Bush Doctrine. We need to have a change in leadership to convince the world that the United States is changing its imperialist ways and will become again a member of the familyof nations instead of a bully cowboy brandishing a six gun and lariat.

Top

 

Misleading

April 17, 2008

To the editor:

On the editorial page of the Midland Daily News of March 25 the paper pub­lished an article by Mr. Bufka, which he entitled "How long must we endure the stupidity of war?" Thus one must conclude that removing a dictator who used weapons of mass destruction, i.e., poison gas, in a war against his enemies, Iran, and against minority civilians, the Kurds, in his own country, is a stupid thing to do.

Mr. Bufka bases his assertion on the stupidity of war in part on the death of 4,000 of our soldiers. Once upon a time not too long ago there was a man, a dictator of a country, the same as Saddam Hussein, who attacked neighboring countries


attempting to create an empire. He thought nothing of murdering inno­cent civilians by the millions using instruments of mass destruction. His name was Adolf Hitler. The U.S. and its allies took him and his allies down at a cost in excess of 400,000 US lives. Since the U.S. lost more than a hundred times of its forces fighting that war, then according to Mr. Bufka, World War II must have been a hun­dred times more stupid.

Mr. Bufka states that "we" destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq and devastated the country. However over the five years the overwhelming majority of that destruction and kill­ing of innocent civilians in Iraq was done by al-Qaida and similar insur­gent terrorist groups. It makes you wonder who the ''we" in Mr. Bufka's article is. Mr. Bufka alleges further that we destroyed any government Iraq had and replaced it with a pup­pet government. It would seem that Mr. Bufka endorses the dictatorship government of Saddam Hussein and considers the freely elected democrat­ic government ofIraq to be a puppet.

Mr. Bufka argues that our effort

to create a democratic Iraq is wrong because it is based on lies and faulty intelligence. I would suggest that Mr. Bufka not limit his research to infor­mation  gathered from Move-On.org and similar liberal sources. Only very recently the Federation of American Scientists published on its website a five-volume study by the Institute for Defense Analysis entitled "Saddam and Terrorism," based on the analysis of more than 600,000 captured Iraqi documents. The abstract of that report contains the following statements:

"Captured Iraqi document have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to region­al and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations."

On al-Qaida the abstract states:

     "Because Saddam's organizations

and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network operated with similar aims, considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financ­ing and training outside groups. This created both the appearance of, and in

. some ways, a "de facto" fink between

  the organizations.

     The abstract concludes:

     "Though the execution ofIraqi ter­

ror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam's use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until his collapse."

Mr. Bufka ignores the war in Mghanistan, which also has been going on for the same length of time, where U.S. soldiers have sacrificed their lives serving their country, where the country has suffered


destruction and civilian death, and where a democratic "puppet" gov­ernment has been installed. Appar­ently since the liberal left wing of the Democratic party approves that war, Mr. Bufka is silent on the stupidity of that war even though the Taliban never committed genocide or used WMDs. The left wing, misleading arti­cles of Mr. Bufka when prominently displayed on the editorial page also makes clear the biased nature of the Midland paper.

 

BILL SANDT

Midland

 

The above letter appeared again in the paper on Tuesday April 22, 2008 with the heading “Bufka is misleading” and this added:

   Editor's note: Mr. Sandt's last comment is incorrect. Columns published on this page contain the viewpoints of their authors, and not the Daily News. In fact, many times columns published here contain viewpoints contrary to the Daily News' position. The goal of the Editorial page is not to provide readers with only one point of view, but to provide readers with a wide range of viewpoints and allow them to make up their own minds based on those viewpoints.

Top of document    Beginning of letter  Pentagon Institute report

 

Abstract quoted from http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/iraqi/index.html

“Abstract: Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist, and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist–operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam’s security organizations and Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a “de facto” link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime.”

Back to letter    Top of document    Beginning of letter

 

 

Pentagon's educational institute April 18 2008

The Institute for National Strategic Studies began an assessment of the war with these words:

"Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle".  It goes on to say

"…  our efforts there (in Iraq) were designed to enhance U.S. national security, but they have become, at least temporarily, an incubator for terrorism and have emboldened Iran to expand its influence throughout the Middle East".

Top of document