Back to the Future in Iraq

According to the March 2, 2009 statistics, the United States had spent 2,180 days in Iraq, had lost 3,417 soldiers in combat and 837 in non-hostile actions, had seen 13,706 severely wounded American soldiers and had spent $650 billion on the conflict.


After years of hostile debate about that war, the question today is: Knowing what we now know, would you, if you had the power, rewind to January 2003, stop the war, return all the American soldiers to life, return the injured to health, retrieve all the American money spent and undo all the destruction to Iraq?


It sounds like a loaded question, does it not? It sounds simple to answer.


Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.


Of course, there is another side to the question.


In saying “yes” to each question, would you, in effect, return Iraq to Saddam Hussein and decades more of his family’s genocidal rule; allow tens of thousands more Iraqis to suffer torture and execution every year; undo the democracy that is taking hold in that nation today; and give new life to the front-line terrorists who went to Iraq to confront the United States, and who suffered a humiliating defeat, losing thousands of soldiers and many top leaders.


In addition, a democratic Iraq will prevent another future conflict in the Middle East that could draw in the United States, ultimately leading to much higher American casualties.


It would be an interesting debate, because America has lost large numbers of  soldiers in the Revolution, Civil War (630,000 dead), World War I, World War II (440,000 dead) and Korea (33,000 dead), yet there are few who would say that we should not have fought those wars.


So what would you say about Iraq?


It is important to consider what the conditions were in January 2003 under which Bush was moving toward war:


*There was 18 months of delay given to get Hussein to give up his weapons of mass destruction and let inspectors in. He refused. Those WMDs were said to exist by virtually every intel source from the CIA to international agencies. In other words, he had them, as far as America knew, and Democrats said so too repeatedly.


*For more than a decade, many prominent Democrats including Bill Clinton had said that Hussein was a genocidal maniac who needed to be removed from power;


*Hussein was known as a mass murderer with up to 500,000 Iraqis executed and dumped into mass graves and many more tortured in his brutal prisons. Several million Iraqis had been driven into exile.


*There was unending media criticisms of Papa Bush that he “should have gone to Baghdad and finished the job” after the Desert Storm conflict of 1991. Al Gore even gave a campaign speech in 1992 offering that very criticism.


*Hussein was possibly linked to the 9/11 attacks;


*Hussein had been financing terrorist attacks inside Israel for years;


*Hussein had instigated two major wars in the Middle East against Iran (2 million total dead) and Kuwait. He had used weapons of mass destruction (poison gas) in the war against Iran, and against the Iraqi Kurds and so bolstered the argument that he still was producing them.


*Hussein allegedly had attempted to assassinate Papa Bush when Papa was giving a speech in Kuwait in April 1993 (”After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad,” said George W. Bush in September 2002)


*Relentless media criticism of George W. Bush for not capturing bin Laden after the Afghanistan triumph certainly weighed heavily in his conscience.  


*And finally Iraq is potentially another Saudi Arabia with possible oil reserves of 2 trillion barrels.


So Bush had political, professional, ideological and even personal reasons for wanting to take out Hussein, and the war was on.


On March 20, 2003, the ground invasion began with the authorization of the use of force approved by all Republicans and 21 Democrats in the US Senate (77 total senators) and more than 65% of the American people.


So what do you think?


Put yourself in the place of George W. Bush in 2003 and make your decision. And it is crucial to remember that at the time Bush had no idea that the toll would be so high.


Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.