Freedom Ain’t Free & Take Our Country Back

VICTORY Is Not Defeat

Where Are We Going? MUST READ!!


Where Are We Going? MUST READ!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007 1:10 AM

spread at will

 This is another piece in a series written by Mike Walker, USMC Colonel (retired). Everyone should read this and pass it along.

Where are we going?

I freely admit to be in a minority within a minority (except amongst my fellow veterans of the war) by being optimistic about Iraq as my “All alone in the long view?” opining attests. But at least I can articulate an argument for a successful, albeit difficult, way ahead.

The same is not true for the majority opinion. Where in the heck are you guys in the majority going? What is next?

If the Congress cuts off the funding that precipitates a withdrawal the US Armed Forces from Iraq in six months because “the war is lost” as Senate Majority Leader Reid avers then his strategy raises a lot of serious questions. Yet the Senator and his supporters have been disturbingly silent on raising questions as to the consequences of that action, let alone hazarding any answers.

If Senator Reid has his way and we are militarily out of Iraq by, say, Thanksgiving, what then?

Iraq

Behind the troubling visage of today’s Iraq is a great land. It is ideally positioned to be a leading nation in the Middle East. It is the only country in the region to have oil wealth, a large yet manageable population, and water. Because of the water and its diverse climate it is the only country in the region that can actually be a net exporter of agricultural products while having an industrial base. In other words, Iraq can and should be a power independent of its oil wealth. It is a land of tremendous untapped potential.

What is to be our relationship with Iraq after the turkey and stuffing leftovers have been eaten in this hypothetical November 2007? What is our responsibility to the hundreds of thousands, millions really, of Iraqis who believed in us, served with us, sacrificed with us in Iraq and do not believe that “this war is lost” but rather that they are winning the war? What then will be our relationship with Iraq, Senator Reid?

And what do we tell the millions of Iraqis who live in the provinces where the war is over and the peace is being won? I live in San Bernardino County, California. There are a half a dozen provinces in Iraq where the per capita violent death rate is lower than in the county where I live. The violence you see endlessly on the nightly news is neither the whole story nor an accurate presentation of all that is going on in Iraq. What responsibility do we have to those people after we leave?

The Exploiters

Iraq has a crippling foreign debt. It is Saddam’s last cruelty being inflicted on the Iraqi people from beyond the grave. It totaled some $127,000,000,000 in 2003. The story is interesting. Saddam made Iraq the most indebted nation in the world. A nice portion of the debt was money owed to France, Russia, Germany, and China to mainly pay for all the military technology, munitions, weapons, and equipment purchased from, well, Russia, France, China, and Germany. I always smile when I hear the big lie about how we armed Iraq. The four nations above armed the Saddam regime and made a fortune. Unfortunately, they were still owed a further fortune in Iraqi debt when Saddam fell. The UN has successfully held the debt collectors at bay but the relevant resolution will eventually run out (UNSCR 1546).

Although the debt has been reduced by more than half today, the owners of the debt can still control the fate of Iraq. If they demand full payment along a normal timeline, it will destroy the country economically. If they extend the timeline, it may still be a crippling drag on the economy for a generation and it will serve as a “Sword of Damocles” over the heads of any Iraqi government. Russia, for example, could effectively blackmail Iraq into doing its bidding for years to come. And if you do not believe that Russia would do it ask some of the nations in Eastern Europe about Russian oil and natural gas pricing and shipments. By the way, the United States has already forgiven all the $4.1 billion in debt owed by Iraq.

What is our policy to be on this issue? Are we going to continue to aggressively defend the Iraqis from the bill collectors even if it means crossing Russia or France, Senator Reid?

Iran, Syria and Lebanon

What will be the reaction of Syria and Iran after the Thanksgiving Day feast? What are the consequences of declaring that “this war is lost” and withdrawing from Iraq? What message are we to send to Syria and Iran in the wake of our withdrawal from a “lost” cause in Iraq? What do we do to discourage their meddling in Lebanon? How will the “lost war” in Iraq play out in Lebanon? What will our policy be with Syria or Lebanon?

And what will our policy be with Iran? Governor Howard Dean promised the American people that “…under no circumstances will a Democratic Administration ever allow Iran to become a nuclear power.” Good, but how? By what means? Another war in the Persian Gulf? Please pass the mashed potatoes and gravy.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia

These countries are all on the front line in war the on terrorism. What is next in our relationship with these folks? By a show of hands, the four of the Democratic Party presidential candidates do not believe there is a global war on terrorism.

Really? Here are some inconvenient truths for those four hopeful presidential candidates:

On 4 November 1979, the US embassy in Teheran, Iran was taken over by radical Shi’a Islamists. Many feel the seizure was the opening act of a radical Islamic war that still rages today.
On April 18, 1983, Hezbollah, the Iranian backed Lebanonese terrorist organization, launched a suicide bombing of the United States Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Sixty-three people were killed including seventeen Americans. Over one hundred were wounded.
On 23 October 1983, the US Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by terrorists from the Islamic Amal Movement, part of Hezbollah. Two hundred and forty-one Americans lost their lives.

On 14 June 1985, TWA flight 847 was hijacked by Hezbollah Islamic terrorists in Athens and U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, a passenger, was tortured then murdered.

On 7 October 1985, the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old wheelchair-ridden American passenger, Leon Klinghoffer, was murdered and thrown overboard by the Abul Nidal terrorist organization that was actively supported and protected by the Saddam Hussein regime.

Between 1985 and 1989 seven Americans were amongst some eighty foreigners kidnapped in Lebanon by Islamic extremists. Many where tortured and some murdered, to include US Marine LtCol William Higgins.

On 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was blown apart in midair by Arab radicals under the direction of the Qaddafi regime in Libya. Two hundred and fifty-nine people were killed.

On 26 February 1993, the World Trade Center was bombed. Six Americans were killed and 1,042 injured. The attack was directed and financed by al Qaeda.

On June 25 1996, Hizballah Al-Hijaz exploded a fuel truck near the US Air Force Khobar Towers barracks in Saudi Arabia. Nineteen Americans were killed along with one Saudi. Another three hundred and seventy-two were wounded.

On 7 August 1998, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by al Qaeda at the direction of Usama bin Laden. In Kenya, two hundred and twenty-four people were killed, including twelve Americans, and some four thousand injured, mostly Kenyan civilians. In Tanzania the attack killed eleven and wounded eighty-five.

On 12 October 2000, USS Cole was attacked by al Qaeda terrorists in Aden. Seventeen Americans were killed and thirty-nine others were injured in the blast.

On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked in order to carry out suicide missions by al Qaeda terrorists under the direction of Usama bin Laden; two were used to strike the World Trade Center and a third, the Pentagon. The fourth, United 93, was prevented from completing its mission when the terrorists were attacked by the passengers. All aboard perished. Thousands of innocent civilians were killed and wounded in the attacks.

And those are just the attacks launched by radical Islamists against the U.S. The death toll of innocents would be many times greater if we were to include India, China, the Philippines, East Timor, Algeria, Egypt, Israel…well, you get the point.

Since 1970, Islamic jihadists have carried out attacks in over sixty cities, in at least forty-one countries, on five continents as well as Pacific islands. Thousands have died and many more have been wounded and maimed.
So if we are to believe these fellows that the war in Iraq is lost, then there is no other war, right? But what then is the proper conclusion to be drawn from 9/11 and all the other events above?

And why are we fighting a war in Afghanistan under NATO command? Why are we coordinating our intelligence and military activities against very real terrorists with the government of Pakistan if there is no war? Why are we allied to the government in Saudi Arabia and coordinating our intelligence and military activities against terrorists if there is no war there? If spending precious resources in fighting a self-proclaimed “lost war” in Iraq that does exist is wrong, then why are we expending American lives, time, and resources on a war that those four guys profess does not exist? What is the policy? Where are we going?

Finally, to again quote the promise of Governor Dean: “The Democrats have a better idea …we will kill or capture Osama bin Laden…” Great! When? How? But that sure sounds a lot like a goal in a war on terrorism. Pumpkin pie, anyone?

Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, UAE, Turkey etc

What happens to Turkey and our Arab allies in the region after we withdraw from the “lost war” in Iraq? Al Qaeda has been clear. The goals of al Qaeda are:

Phase I. Expel the Americans from Iraq
Phase II. Establish a Salafist Emirate in Iraq
Phase III. Extend the Jihad to Iraq’s Sunni neighbors
Phase IV. Destroy Israel

Senator Reid has already declared Phase I a done deal if he has any say about it.

Is the new American policy for the region to be summed up by stating that since there is no global war on terrorism, we need not be concerned?

That may be a pretty safe bet if you live in rural Minnesota or the spacious deserts of Nevada, but is not reality if you live in Kuwait or Jordan or in any other Arab land where the leaders have put their trust in America. For the people in the Middle East, the war being waged by al Qaeda is all too real. And al Qaeda is not interested in bringing the war to a close.

If the new policy is for America to abandon Iraq what hope is there for our Arab friends when a “victorious” al Qaeda moves on to the next phases?

Senator Reid and his supporters have used the term “redeployment” to define a follow-on military strategy. Let us not delude ourselves about Iraq and Islamic extremism once again; a “redeployment” plan is plain and simply a failed extension of the “declare defeat” plan.

Tactically, it will firmly entrench and legitimize al Qaeda in Iraq’s doctrine of directly targeting civilian populations for merciless torture and murder as the road to victory in war, a disastrous outcome. When we “redeploy” our enemies will rightly argue that targeting and killing civilians is the key in forcing the Americans out.

Operationally, it will also be a disaster. Wherever we “redeploy” to in the region we will immediately destabilize that country as the al Qaeda forces move on to Kuwait, or Qatar, etc. The enemy will be drawn to the “redeployed/defeated” US Forces like a magnet in order to score their next “victory.” Innocent civilians will die at their hands until we “redeploy” again. Al Qaeda means what it says. Eventually the “redeployment strategy” will leave the United States without an Islamic ally in the Middle East. It will leave our former allies to either fight a brutal war alone against al Qaeda and/or Iranian backed terrorists in their own land or make the best deal they can with these enemies.

But we will be handing these vicious and savage enemies not just a tactical and operational victory but also a strategic victory of immense proportions. What is the plan to prevent this from happening? What is the policy to protect and keep our remaining allies in the region after we declare “this war is lost” in Iraq and pull out?

And one more question, this one about the Kurdish situation. With the US Military gone, what if Turkey, our close NATO ally, decides they want to invade Iraq to crush the Kurds after we declare “this war is lost” and pullout? What do we tell the Kurds, our most trusting allies in Iraq? What do we tell the Turks? What do we tell Baghdad? What is our policy regarding that possibility? What should we do?

Abandon Iraq but Save Darfur?

Let me see if I got this right? The Senate Majority Leader is arguing that the only solution to what he and his supporters insist on calling the “unwinnable” war in Iraq is by cutting and running because:

1. We are putting US soldiers into the middle of a civil war in Iraq.

2. Our intervention into an Islamic country ruled by a ruthless authoritarian regime rich in petroleum, once suspected of having WMD, and ties to al Qaeda has weakened the US abroad.

3. We have grown very uneasy over all the deaths associated with the war.

4. The country of Iraq is a mess. There is wide-spread lawlessness, corruption, and an ineffective police. The infrastructure is in disarray. There are thousands of invaluable archeological artifacts that are being looted. There are radical Islamists preaching a “Hate America” message from their mosques across the country. It is a breeding ground for al Qaeda.

5. Even though the United Nations had failed in all its previous attempts to bring about a peaceful resolution it was a mistake for the US to take the lead in pushing through a resolution in that body that allowed us to act.

So when I saw the whole of Congress, both those in the Senate and the House, give a standing ovation when President Bush spoke to “…save the people of Darfur” during the State of Union Address, it was enough to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

So what do you know about Darfur in 2007? Gee, your response to that question alone should be enough to give us all a long pause before we contemplate intervening there.

I bet you don’t know about the Darfur Liberation Front, the Sudan Liberation Army, the Sudan Liberation Movement, or the Sudan People’s Liberation Army? How about anamism, the Umma party, janjaweed, Baggara, Masalit?

Here is a short answer: Use the same five reasons for leaving Iraq above, scratch out “Iraq” and write in “Darfur, Sudan” and you have five reasons for not getting involved there. That is going to be our policy, right Senator Reid? And please pass the cranberries.

Forget the Elephant in the Room

I will not even begin to go into the ramifications that “this war is lost” policy will have on Israel and its relationship with the United States. The one outcome I do keep seeing is composed of fleeting glimpses of a frighteningly possible future where an apocalyptic regime in Iran gets the bomb and they march us all down a dark gruesome road, the words of Governor Dean notwithstanding.

Does anyone have a bi-carbonate of soda? I suddenly have a sick stomach.

Conclusions

I just do not see a “new course,” all I see is a pretty flimsy slogan that sounds really great but goes nowhere. Declaring failure and quitting is easy. Leading the way forward is hard and thankless work.

We have a US military that knows it is winning the war but needs time. We have our Iraqi friends and allies that know they are winning but still need our help. Yet inside the beltway we have a different reality. General Abizaid summed up the problem in Washington DC very neatly:

“…despair is not a method.”

If we want to avoid the worst American foreign policy mistake in my lifetime then maybe we should rethink the declaration that “this war is lost.” Maybe winning in Iraq really is important after all. Who saved the wishbone?

Semper Fi,

Mike

June 7, 2007 - Posted by | USMC

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