How long will this war in Iraq last?

March 2006

            This month marks the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. At first the number of casualties was counted one by one until they reached 100. Then it seemed notice was taken when they hit another significant number: 1000. Now it seems like hardly anyone is paying attention to the numbers. The death toll of Americans is over 2,300 and there are more than 17,000 injured. .

            Before the war began, I wrote about the nature of war. It takes on a role all its own. It is clothed in patriotism. It becomes a cause celebre. It defies logic and order. This war is no exception.

            President Bush told us in no uncertain terms that Iraq held weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them. Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to the security of the United States, he told us. Finally, he said that there was a link to terrorists and al-Quaida.

            All of those statements have been proven false. We don’t know if President Bush lied to us or whether he used data inappropriately. The CIA was taken to task for giving him wrong information.

            Today, however, the President still claims that this war is part of the war agains terrorism. He no longer mentions WMD, however, or the threat Hussein posed to the United States.

Nation building

            He now claims that we are building democracy in the Middle East. This is just the first step in bringing democracy to all the countries there, even though he declared defensively in 2000 that he would have no part in nation building.

            If this is the war in Iraw is the first step in building democratic nations in the Middle East, I can’t help but wonder which nation is next on his list to attack.  I wonder to if war is still the strategy to bring democracy to those countries. Do we have to kill tens of thousands of people to make them free? The President admitted that we have killed 30,000 Iraqis since the war began. Others estimate the Iraqi death toll much higher.

 

American Revolution and Iraq War

            I recently listened to 1776 by David McCulloch on CD. There are some amazing similarities between the American Revolution and the war in Iraq.

            Some Americans wanted freedom from the rule of Great Britain and set about to establish their own government. When it became clear that King George III of Great Britain was determined to keep the Colonies as part of the British Empire, the colonists formed an army.

            The Americans were able to win because they fought an unconventional war, utilizing the skills learned while living in the woods of American and fighting to survive against the elements and hostile natives.

            Many thought the war would be a short one. Spectators came to watch battles. Even the British thought the war would be short. It would be easy to force the rebels into submission to the Crown.

            King George III was resolute in his determination to stay the course. The more he spoke this way, the more the American rebels kicked in their heels to resist.

President George Bush is determined to stay the course. The insurgents defy every move we make in Iraq. The insurgents are fighting in an unconventional manner by using IEDs.

            President Bush told us the war in Iraq would be short lived. Within a matter of months, we could leave Iraq and the oil revenue would pay for the war and the recovery of Iraq. The President even announced amidst great fanfare on May 1, 2003, “Mission Accomplished”. Now nearly three years later, no one can see the mission accomplished or the end in sight. In fact, Iraq is on the verge of civil war.

The American patriots in 1776 wanted the freedom and democracy for themselves. In contrast, we are trying to impose it on other people. Just as King George III was unable ti impose British rule over America, so too will the US be unable to maintain control over Iraq.

            So, on this third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, let’s pause to think more seriously about what the United States is trying to accomplish in Iraq and the Middle East. Are we on the right course? Ultimately, history will be the judge.

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