Year 6 begins today

There were a lot of protests today as our nation began the sixth year of hostilities in Iraq, while President Bush made his case for staying on course.

The way I look at it is that we’re there and we’re in it, we may as well win it. And progress seems to have been made, slowly but surely. We may find 2008 is the year we reduce our presence in Iraq because the foe we’re fighting there is, to be quite honest, getting tired of doing so. It may become a battle of attrition because there’s a lot of people here who are tired of the fight too and much will hinge on who wins the November election.

While “what if” is a parlor game, let’s imagine for a few moments that the invasion of five years ago didn’t happen. What might the world be like?

Obviously the chances are good that Saddam Hussein would still be ruling Iraq with an iron fist, perhaps with weapons of mass destruction. And even if he didn’t have them, surely the speculation would still be rampant and that would provide Iran a little more cover to ramp up their nuclear program since those two nations had a horrific war that ended just two decades ago.

Meanwhile, the protestors who are marching in the streets now against the war in Iraq would still be out in force each October 7th protesting our invasion of Afghanistan, which has quietly gone on while events in Iraq unfolded over the last five years. It may not have taken as many troops as the Iraqi theater has but there would still be bloodshed and we would still be an occupying force in an “innocent” nation. The country name on the signs would change but Code Pink would still be out there. They’d have to drop the “war for oil” claim but that’s about the only change.

Here’s one part I’m not sure about though. Given the fact that people are still shooting at us over there, would our not being in Iraq have saved the men and women of the opposition? I’m sure to most jihad was jihad and they were going to fight the infidels wherever they were – they may have died on the outskirts of Kabul rather than on some dusty Iraqi plain. But I think that fewer would have died, which meant more of them would be around to wreak havoc in other places around the globe.

There’s also many who argue regarding Iraq that the Sunnis and Shias have been fighting regularly for over 1300 years, so what makes us think that we can bring that to an end? What they tend to forget is that Christianity and Islam have been fighting for almost that long themselves, overtly during the Crusades and covertly on many other occasions before and since. We’re in an era where Islamists have adopted the successful guerrila tactics used by forces such as the Viet Cong in the Vietnam War, and similarly are winning the propaganda battle by dividing America along the lines of those who are anti-war, regardless of the costs of withdrawal, fighting a struggle for hearts and minds against those who have some idea of what the enemy may do to our nation and our freedoms if they eventually wore us down and won.

Obviously it wasn’t our foray into Iraq or Afghanistan that brought us the attacks of 9/11 because that predated our missions there. They chose their time and method of attack against us (which was just a continuation of a number of incidents dating back over 20 years beforehand), and five years ago we did the same to them.

All in all, whether we’d invaded Iraq in 2003 or not the hatred some in the Middle East feel for us would be the same because the radicals of the Islamic world dislike our support of Israel. And while diplomacy sounds nice, the trick is to find those leaders who are trustworthy enough not to stab us in the back the moment we turn around. They are in short supply to be sure, so the interim solution is to beat down the enemy militarily. And let’s face it, we’ve been relatively subdued over there as an occupier because on 9/12 there wouldn’t have been a whole lot of outcry from Americans had we just launched a few nukes and turned the entire Middle East into a sea of uninhabitable glass. What worries me is that our foes may not show such restraint if left unchecked.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

4 thoughts on “Year 6 begins today”

  1. Year Six begins, only 94 to go!

    Come, Come, Mike.

    Are you able to even define victory in Iraq? If you attempt to, please spare me the Cheney-esque “when we have won the hearts and minds of..blah blah”.

    Why can you not admit that the overlying reason we are in Iraq is for our corporate interests and the defense of those who “might” call Israel their ancestral home?


    Your intellect is too keen to be disengenius.

  2. Yes, I have already defined victory in Iraq. This is from a post last August:

    As you may know, my philosophy is one of achieving victory, which I define as when the threat from al-Qaeda and other radical Islamic fundamentalist entities is subdued militarily to a point where they are no longer a significant threat to our security and safety here in America. At that point, I expect the restrictions placed temporarily on our civil liberties (such as the PATRIOT Act) to be lifted. And if we withdraw from Iraq now, we cannot achieve that objective unless the fight is brought over here because at this point the military fronts are Iraq and Afghanistan.

    My friend, America has been fighting for corporate interests since the days of the Barbary pirates. I happen to prefer thinking of this as fighting for the interests of Americans who have jobs thanks to these corporate interests, not to mention would really rather not be snuffed out by a homicide bomber because we were afraid to fight at the source.

    And what’s wrong with defending Israel anyway? Certainly they do a pretty good job of defending themselves but we like to stand by friends and attack foes.

  3. I think what you fail to understand, Michael, is that our presence in Iraq has created many more jihadis than we have killed. It has also contributed to a hatred of the US among more moderate Muslims around the world. We are much more likely to be fighting terrorists over here precisely because we are “fighting them over there.”

    You may pin your hopes on subduing al-Qaeda and other extremist organizations on military force, but that will never work. Military force will only continue creating hatred for us and leading to more recruits for jihadist organizations.

  4. Marc, I would need some sort of proof for your theory about creating more jihadists. From accounts I’ve read, al-Qaeda is down to a few hundred true believers who get whipped up when al-Jazeera airs an Osama bin Laden tape as they did today. (I still wonder who’s doing his voice because I’m not convinced he wasn’t killed in Tora Bora several years ago. If he’s alive you would think he’d come out into the open if he’s so confident.)

    Obviously there are those who fervently believe enough to wish to sacrifice themselves for the 72 virgins, and it’s true we’re not going to stop someone who is bound and determined to do so. But perhaps seeing what happens to those who do may plant a message of deterrence in those who might think about it.

    Our largest accomplishment to date in Iraq is turning many of the tribal and community leaders against al-Qaeda, which is why the surge worked well. It wasn’t necessarily our presence but the confidence that we’ll stick around for awhile that turned the tide. It’s why the jihadists are probably pulling for a Hillary or Obama presidency.

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