Things That Are Difficult For Me to Understand
(This is from the most senior Roach, as Def and 9Driver are busy with non-blog-related-program-activities)
If the war in Iraq is the main thrust of the global war on terror, as GWB so often states, why are we fighting it and financing it almost by ourselves? I guess Great Britain still has a military commitment to Iraq. And, some smaller nations have a few troops present. But where are our allies in a "global" war. One that is against terrorism; an adversary that almost any country should be against. Nations in the region that have been attacked by terrorists (e.g., Pakistan, Saudi Arabia) have not sent troops to the front lines of this war. Most of our traditional allies who are also considered major powers (e.g., Germany, France) have not sent troops: they don't even seem to give us lip service support. Other countries (Spain being perhaps the prime example) have withdrawn their troops as they evidently feel that the "global" war on terror is not worth winning. My sense of logic tells me that Iraq is a war. Perhaps it is or will become a global war. But, it seems highly unlikely that most countries do not see it as a war on terrorism. And, perhaps neither should we.
GWB is often heard stating that we are winning this war; another claim that is difficult for me to understand. I must ask by what measure are we winning? Our troops have had their tour of duty extended. There is still doubt among our military leaders that we have enough boots on the ground. Our casualties are continuing and the casualty rate is accelerating. I remember that almost eighteen months ago, the statue of Sadam was toppled (a great TV moment for the folks back home) and our troops entered Baghdad to pictures that were staged to look like the liberation of Paris in World War II. Then we celebrated "winning" the war with a swagger on the deck of an aircraft carrier and a sign that said "Mission Accomplished." Since then we find that the Green Zone in Baghdad, the most secure area in the entire country, is subject to ongoing attack and constant terrorist threat by car bombs. The number of kidnappings alone make much of the country unsafe to anyone not accompanied by a squad of soldiers. Bodyguards are dying trying to protect the local political leaders who often seem to have a very short life. There is still no drinking water available in the country. The electricity is only available about two-thirds of the time. I believe we are still importing gasoline into the country so people can cook their meals. And the oil that was supposed to pay for Iraq's reconstruction is either being burned or poured back into the desert sands as the pipelines are under constant attack. This hardly seems like winning to me.
World War II was a global war. Many countries participated on each side. It was fought in many theaters. And, at its end, there was no doubt about who won. Since then, our country has been involved in many wars. Some were minor adventures and two stand out in my mind as major conflicts: Korea and Vietnam. Both of these wars began while a Democrat was president. In both cases an election was held during the war and the Republican Party candidate was elected because he had a plan to end the war. The plan was never explained or detailed. There is no record of the plan even existing. The only record is the claim that there was a plan to end the war. Is good for the goose also good for the gander?
As a final note, GWB claims that we are safer today than we were after 9/11. I must ask, "How do you know?" How many of Osoma's plots have been thwarted? Of course, security prevents any answer as we would be helping the terrorists by telling them that their plot didn't work. Has the encroachment on our liberties due to the Patriot Act added to our safety? How can lost liberties make us safer? In my mind, the war in Iraq has only made the world safer for one person: Osoma. Standing down in Afghanistan made Osoma much safer than having special forces and several divisions of regular troops (no National Guards or Reserves to give the regular troops a much needed break) would have made the world much less safe for Mr. Bin Laden.
(Good post, Dad.)