Iraq, Afghanistan Worth It? No.
(America currently is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the short Desert Storm war to eject Iraq from Kuwait, which commenced January 17, 1991. The editorial below was written in December.)
With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, the question is: “Were they worth more than 5,000 American lives, 13,000+ injured – some severely – and more than $1.5 trillion in taxpayer money?”
And the answer is a resounding… “No”
Our lost soldiers alone were never, ever worth the price. Never. In a million years.
President Bush started with good intentions and bad intel. Saddam Hussein in Iraq ultimately did not have weapons of mass destruction.
There also was a strongly personal motive for Bush because Hussein was suspected of having plotted to kill Papa Bush (US president 1989-1993) when Bush was visiting Kuwait in 1993. Don’t think this was not a major motivation for that war. The Bushes are a very tight and loyal clan.
Also Bush acted out of compassion because Hussein was a brutal dictator and Bush has had an idealistic notion about spreading liberty as detailed in his second inaugural address in January 2005, which the media dismissed.
But so what if Hussein was a dictator. Many of these Middle Eastern nations, amidst a cauldron of war, terrorism, brutality and instability, need dictators. Hussein kept the nation orderly. And why should we have risked our American lives and treasure to liberate Muslims? As they are increasingly becoming a massive, global anti-American political force?
Now under “democracy” Iraq could remain a stable republic, which would be the best outcome. But also it could become another Islamic caliphate with the decline of Hussein’s Sunni Muslim power and the rise of the more fundamentalist Shi’ite Muslims linked to Iran and terrorism. And at its worst Iraq could become just another terror state if the Shi’ites push it toward Iran. Then all of our efforts will have been in vain.
And while it certainly was gratifying to see Saddam Hussein go to the gallows, many people in Iraq today feel more unsafe than ever, including Iraq’s Christian population which today is only about half – about 850,000 – of what it was under Hussein. We should grant all Iraqi Christians asylum here in the US.
Iraq appears to be won for now, but it is hard to say what the future holds. Indeed there is a model for some decency and freedom in the Middle East, nations like Israel (of course), Jordan and Turkey. But even Turkey today is under assault from within by Islamic radicals working slowly and surely to upend the nation’s secular government. Its days as a Western-leaning nation may be numbered.
Iran was thrown away by the Carter administration which dumped our ally, the Iranian leader Shah Reza Pahlevi, who was pro-American and pro-capitalist, anti-Islamic-fundamentalist and anti-communist. The Shah was modernizing Iran and granting increasing freedoms to all. But the inept Carter abandoned him and we have a belligerent Iran today causing chaos worldwide. This is one of the reasons we have had so much trouble in Iraq – because of Iranian intervention against us.
Afghanistan is said to have famously defeated everyone from Alexander the Great to the Soviet army. And it may well defeat America. Once known as The Good War, Afghanistan has swapped roles with Iraq. It now is known as the unwinnable war and for good reason and we should pull out NOW. We should not expend one more life or one more dime on that war.
Afghanistan is hardly even a nation. To be sure, we had to go there and rout the terrorists who attacked us on September 11, 2001. But today Afghanistan is ruled not by a government but by corruption and warlords who have territories, like drug cartels do. And we have been losing far too many American lives to make that war worth it.
Once we leave, Afghanistan may fall again. And we should wash our hands of it and consider it a faraway nation that we can handle with technology. If we see the rise of new terrorist camps, we can hit them without risk to American lives with missile strikes, drone strikes or ‘smart bombs’.
Because the terrorists are simply moving around to lawless places like Pakistan and Somalia, and America no longer can afford to police every nation in the world.
We should police the world through the skies only. Because our time, American lives and increasingly scarce resources would be much better spent on intelligence operations to trap terrorists here and abroad before they strike. A land war against them is like using a proverbial sledgehammer to kill a hornet. A laser beam would do the job better.
Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan – they are trouble. But we have another problem and that is in the American Democrats’ seemingly insatiable desire to give our nation over to Islam. The Ground Zero mosque, the legitimization of sharia law, protection of Muslims from any profiling – these are the goals of the left.
Military action may have seemed to be a good answer in the war on terror. But it is very costly and not always effective. Our strategy going forth should be: Constant vigilance; no more troops on the ground; no negotiations ever; treat terrorists like the vicious international criminals they are; use selected air strikes without risk to American soldiers (drone attacks, cruise missiles, ‘smart’ bombs etc.); circle the wagons around the US/Europe and create a ‘net’ of anti-terrorism; use wiretapping, eavesdropping, questioning, detention and racial-profiling of suspected terrorists; no more Muslim immigration into the US; deport all radical Muslims; and employ any and all other effective hardball tactics short of war.
How do we know those tactics will be effective?
Answer: Suggest them, and then see if the liberals protest. If they do, then we know we are on the right track.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.