As of this writing, more than 1,800 young Americans have died in Iraq. The combined cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $340 billion. This is what happens when we elect people who refuse to accept the limits set by the United States Constitution.
The Constitution gave us a government to govern America, not the world. It is none of our business what forms of government other countries have, just as it is none of our business whether the women in a foreign country wear burkhas or bikinis.
Surely you realize by now that either the Bush administration knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction or, even scarier, was dumb enough to believe it did have them. On Sept. 11, 2001, we had one enemy — a terrorist organization that calls itself al-Qaida. Instead of limiting our response to taking out that organization, President George Bush declared war on the world.
He bought the childishly unrealistic theory, concocted by mostly pro-Israeli neoconservatives, that we could take out Saddam Hussein and install a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq, and that this fine example would spread liberal democracy to the entire Middle East. This was going to be cheap and easy, they said. It was not only a childish and simplistic theory, it was stupid. It’s what you would expect from a bunch of mostly academics who have never heard the sound of gunfire and who don’t read or speak Arabic, much less have ever spent any time in the area.
In the Iraq War we were everybody’s sucker. That crook Ahmad Chalabi played us for a sucker, and the Israelis played us for a sucker. They both got what they wanted — the destruction of Saddam Hussein’s government without spending a dollar of their money or a drop of their blood. Instead of Iraqi oil paying for the war, as the neocons had promised, we are paying $61 a barrel for oil. After two years of American occupation, the Iraqi people still don’t have (1) security, (2) dependable power, (3) cheap and plentiful gasoline, (4) clean water, (5) a decent sewer system or (6) a viable economy.
The deluded imperialists in Washington can blame that on the insurgency, but I assure you, the Iraqi people blame us.
There is now more terror, not less; the Middle East is less stable, not more stable; and we are not going to end up with a democracy in Iraq. We’re going to end up instead with a theocracy aligned with Iran, a civil war or another authoritarian government — or the entire series of bad outcomes, one after another. And in the meantime, our own liberty is being diminished.
What we routinely misname a democracy (our form of government is a republic, not a democracy) evolved through the centuries from our mother country, the United Kingdom. It has taken hold nowhere else on the globe except in the English-speaking countries, not even on Continental Europe. It is uniquely English, based on English common law.
One would have to be a moron or entirely ignorant of the Muslim world to expect that you could impose that system on Iraq at the point of a gun. There is such a striking absence of common sense in Washington that I sometimes think we ought to outsource the State Department to the Teamsters Union, and intelligence work to the Mafia. It would help if we moved the national capital to Fargo, N.D., where subzero temperatures might encourage Congress to do its work on time.
Last week, a bunch of insurgents — probably none of whom had any formal training — killed 14 of the "best-trained, best-equipped soldiers in the world" with one homemade bomb. The insurgents know one thing the hotshots in Washington overlooked: The way to fight a high-tech army is with low-tech tactics and weapons.
As long as we keep troops in Iraq, some of them will die, because in that part of the world, when you kill a man, you automatically incur the mortal enmity of his family. In other words, we are manufacturing new insurgents every time we kill one. Like the Viet Cong, the insurgents know they can’t beat us on the battlefield, but they know that in the long run, they will be there and we won’t.
Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.