Saddam Hussein

The Iraq War, 10 Years Later and How I Was Wrong

Iraq War

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. It is a good time reflect on what, if anything, was gained. It is also a time for those of us to learn about what, if anything, can we learn from the mistakes of the war.

I supported the Iraq War when it began. I looked at the evidence leading up to the war and I came to the conclusion, as most Americans did, that the regime of Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and that the status quo that was in place after the end of the Gulf War was simply unsustainable. Also, I was also intrigued by the possibility of bringing democracy to the Middle East to combat the appeal and vision of radical Islam. Furthermore, I do believe the Bush Administration sincerely believed that Iraq possessed WMDs. I do not think this was an attempt to steal Iraqi oil or other conspiracy theorist nonsense.

However, I was wrong. I’m enough of a man to look at the evidence that has emerged in 10 years and more importantly the results of the war and acknowledge that I was wrong to support the Iraq War. I do not believe the war has served the interests of the United States. I also believe that the high losses, in both blood and treasure do not justify the results achieved.

Death pics, “Deathers,” and an October Surprise?

I have become completely obsessed with this so-called “deather” phenomenon, the topic du jour that the media wants to shove down our throats at the moment.  I should warn you straight away, that I am a raging news junkie.  There are far too many moments of my life spent sitting on the couch watching a news channel on television, while reading the news on my iPad, and checking Twitter with my Blackberry.  In fact, I have pretty much been in that position since Sunday night.  So, as soon as I heard the news that we had finally tracked down and eliminated the most infamous terrorist of any of our lifetimes, I did kind of wonder if we would see a death photo of Osama bin Laden.

I’m not really someone who seeks out shocking or gruesome images or videos, only because I don’t want to live with something that disturbing in my mind if I can avoid it.  In fact, I have never watched any of the videos of Americans being beheaded at the hands of animals in the Middle East, I didn’t watch Saddam Hussien’s execution, I’m frankly just not curious about these things.  However, on Monday morning, when I listened to Hoda and Kathie Lee breezily chatting about a death photo on the Today show, I figured there was no way in hell those photos weren’t going to be released.   Well, obviously I was wrong.  Of course, no politician would ever let an opportunity like this pass without milking it for all the political capital it is worth, so a delay and drawn out public debate didn’t surprise me.

Those Pesky No Fly Zones

The following editoral was made available on the State of Georgia Tea Party’s Facebook account and has been re-posted here with permission.

Much is made of the 2011 No Fly Zone over Libya. President Obama says that he imposed the No Fly Zone over Libya to prevent Mummar Ghadaffi from killing innocent civilians. There is one problem with this statement – No Fly Zones don’t prevent dictators from killing innocent civilians and a No Fly Zone is wholly incapable of preventing mass slaughter of civilians. Sadaam Hussein killed tens of thousands of Iraqi Marsh Arabs, Shites, and Kurds under our No Fly Zone in Iraq from 1991 to 2003. Likewise the No Fly Zone did nothing to stop ethnic cleaning in Bosnia from 1993-1995.    A No Fly Zone accomplishes one thing, it keeps people from flying fixed wing aircraft within airspace that you don’t want them to fly in – helicopters are a different problem.  In reality No Fly Zones have been around since the invention of the airplane, we just called it something else until 1991.  It should be mentioned that prior to No Fly Zones we had No Float Zones and No Boot Zones.

The first No Fly Zones we’re over the battlefields of Northern France in WW 1. The Allies wanted to keep Germans from flying airplanes over France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, so they established a No Fly Zone and shot down as many German aircraft as they possibly could.  The Germans wanted to do the exact same thing, so they established their own No Fly Zone and shot down allied aircraft.

Scott McClellan Claims that Bush Authorized Outing of CIA Agent Valeri Plame

See Video

This is not highly surprising, but it’s good to hear the truth confirmed.

Declassified: CIA Aided Iraq’s Chemical Weapon Attacks on Iran

Donald Rumsfeld and Saddam Hussein

Bashar al-Assad has allegedly crossed what President Obama called a “red line” using chemical weapons against up to 1,000 people. The threat of chemical weapons and other WMD by such unsavory characters as Saddam Hussein was the major pretext for “preemptive” war with Iraq.

President George W. Bush argued that regime change was necessary due to the fact that Hussein used these awful weapons in the Iraq-Iran war and against the Kurds. In this post 9/11 world, “outlaw regimes,” particularly those he dubbed the “Axis of Evil” (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea) were a threat to the civilized world which could no longer be tolerated. Chemical weapons are so taboo, after all, even the Nazis opted not to use chemical weapons on the battlefield!*

But as this article in Foreign Policy points out in analyzing declassified CIA documents, the use of these weapons was not so taboo inside the CIA at the time when Saddam Hussein used them against Iran (yes, the very same event which would later be cited as a reason to attack Iraq about a decade and a half later):

In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq’s war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein’s military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.

War in Syria: Just Say No

Last week was the 10-year anniversary of the beginning of the United States’ involvement in the war in Iraq.  After 10 years, I still believe that the decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s regime was the correct decision, but that the aftermath of the initial invasion was horribly managed, with poor rules of engagement, no clear strategy, and no real definition of “victory.”  Even after the successful surge in troop levels helped to prevent an immediate decline into civil war and achieve an unsteady peace, the inability of the Obama Administration to come to a Status of Forces agreement with the Iraqi government not only left the United States with no tangible benefits 10 years later, but also left Iraq in a precarious position that runs the risk of declining into civil war that could have horrible regional consequences.

When is enough actually enough

So.  We find ourselves smack dab in the middle of yet another war.  Damn, we’re good at that, aren’t we?  This time, we’re doing it at the behest of the United Nations, which is operating under a new principle called “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) that the UN is using to justify involvement in Libya.  It sounds great and very humanitarian and all that, but at what point does it get to be to much?

Bruce McQuain at Hot Air, asks:

Do we intervene in Sudan or the Congo?  Ivory Coast?  And if not, why not?  None of them, like Libya, put our core national interests at stake.  But all certainly fit the new R2P principle.  How about Bahrain and Yemen?  Nepal?

Instead, what we see here is precisely what the left has decried for years – the US along with others who can afford it and are willing to do it –agreeing to police the world.  However, in this case, it would be at the behest of the UN.  We are agreeing that the UN can determine when and where we commit our military forces simply by invoking this principle.  Invoke R2P and, by our precedent in Libya, we agree to respond.

This is far and away different than case by case agreements among member nations to intervene with peace keeping troops in troubled areas around the world.  This is a “principle” that Moon says is a “new international security and human rights norm” apparently is interpreted as a “right” to intervene with military force.

Funny – I don’t remember us agreeing to this “new norm”, do you?  Did we negotiate and sign a treaty saying all of this?  Or did we just hand over our power to make sovereign decisions concerning the use of our military to a world body?

Portraying Saddam Hussein as a Gangster is Wise

According to Troy Patterson over at Slate, the Saddam Hussein portrayed in HBO’s series House of Saddam resembles more a crime lord than a genocidal dictator. It’s quite a relief to read that HBO went that route, as Hussein’s career resembles more that of a gangster than an ideologue.

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