Can We Get Real Now?

by James Glaser
June 5, 2003

I don't care about the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq. President Bush and his cohorts are going to claim they were there no matter what. They will keep claiming every abandoned trailer or any building with a glass beaker had something to do with them.

Those on the other side of the question will claim that George and Colin lied to us, just so they could have their war.

The fact is, we had that war. We killed thousands of innocent people. Plus we destroyed much of the infrastructure of Iraq. These are facts and these facts don't change, if we find the weapons or we prove George lied.

Now, can we as a nation admit that we have some work to do in Iraq? Sure President Bush and Colin Powell thought that the Iraqi people would fall all over themselves thanking us for getting rid of Saddam Hussein. Well those people didn't like the way we killed their kids nor the destruction we brought to their country. Our government must be filled with fools, if they really expected that they would.

We did know going into this war that we would be responsible for what we did to Iraq. The rules covering war are written in the Geneva Convention, which we signed. It is a rule of civilized warfare that the victor takes care of the vanquished.

President Bush had a plan and told us all about it. After the war, we would bring freedom and democracy to Iraq. Too bad he didn't say we would bring electricity and health care.

Things don't always turn out the way we want. The war ended and then all hell broke loose. The Iraqi people, who had been under Saddam's thumb for thirty years took freedom to mean that you can steal anything you want and that you can kill anyone that hurt you or a loved one in the past.

We had people in our government that knew this looting and chaos was going to happen. General Eric Shinseki told Congress that we would need "several hundred thousand troops" to control Iraq after the fighting stopped. The then Secretary of the Army, Thomas White agreed.

The Bush administration went nuts and said these two didn't know what they were talking about. We now have about 150,000 troops in Iraq and are finding that is not enough. Soldiers and Marines are getting shot at every day and some are killed.

The Iraqi people thank us for getting rid of Saddam, but want us to leave now that we have. If we decide to stick around and shove our puppets and democracy down the throats of the Iraqi people we better start thinking of a guerrilla war.

So now that we know that everything didn't work out the way Washington thought it would, lets get real and talk about our options.

If we are going to stick with President Bush's plan to make Iraq a democracy, well then we better start pouring money and troops into the country. Get the cities working with electricity, clean drinking water, and sewage systems. Medical facilities are a must.

We have to get these people some sort of police force and a court system. The lack of American troops allowed every form of government and just about all of the governments paper work to go up in smoke during the looting. Yes, we did save everything to do with the oil industry.

Until we get all of these things done and have jobs for the people, we will need lots and lots of troops. The ones we have there now are starting to get bummed out, as they thought they were there to fight a war. These troops are trained to kill. What we need are troops trained to occupy a country. This could take years, so we need some sort of troop rotation so our men and women in uniform know what is going on. It demoralizes troops, when you tell them they are there for the duration.

The Bush plan of nation building will take billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of troops over many years, and it just may become a war of attrition that we lose anyway. If this plan is to work, I see American troops stationed in Iraq until the oil runs out.

On the other hand we could do as the Iraqi people ask and leave. We would always be in the Iraqi history book as liberators. We could loan them some money and expertise now and hope that a friendship will develop between our countries. Other nations would look at us and say, they weren't there for the oil. America would be a hero to the world and we would be able to take our place of leadership again.

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