Just for the record, I don’t agree with the Iraq war, I never have, and I doubt I ever will. I just can’t shake the memory of a young Sgt in the Marine Corps (me) standing on my desk arguing the point in November 2002 that we will go to war in Iraq for reasons that make no sense, that we would not actually wait on inspections, and we were going to go one way or another. Nor can I shake the memory of that same Sgt looking on in disgust watching TV in March of 2003 while on duty seeing the first round of “shock and awe”. I will tell you what, in retrospect, that night had nothing to do with the “shock and awe” that the United States Treasury is feeling and will feel for a long time to come, nor the very real feeling of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi’s, US troops, and the world is feeling and will feel over the next decade or so.
I’m reminded of two letters written to President Bush by the often controversial to some, Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. His words seem prophetic when I reflect on them:
“….I am writing this to show a consistent pattern of behavior of America’s Presidents, administrations, and the press with respect to those Muslim leaders and other leaders that America has chosen to denounce as rogues, and to use as a justification for military action to cover their real purposes.
President Richard Nixon wrote that the enemy of democracy was not communism, but, fundamentalist Islam. Every President since the Nixon/Ford administration has taken some military action against a Muslim nation. President Jimmy Carter felt that the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and his replacement with the Islamist regime of Ayatollah Khomeini was a threat to America’s vital interests. So, Saddam Hussein was given 80 billion dollars with America’s approval by the Saudi government and the rulers of the United Arab Emirates to make Saddam Hussein a strong military power to use him against the rise of the so-called fundamentalist regime in Iran. During President Carter’s administration, the American Embassy in Iran was taken and the hostage crisis began.
The effort of Jimmy Carter to free the hostages through military action after the fall of the Shah of Iran was a failure. In the negotiations between our government and the government of Imam Khomeini, it was agreed that the hostages would be released, but not during the administration of President Carter. The hostages were released in the early days of President Reagan’s administration. President Reagan also saw Imam Khomeini and his desire that the Iranian people return to the purity of the faith of Islam as a threat to America’s vital interests in that area of the world.
Your father fulfilled President Reagan’s desire concerning the Panama Canal. Your father also had a problem that involved Saddam Hussein and Iraq. At the same time that he was prosecuting the war against Saddam Hussein, a part of that conflict also involved young Black men, gangs and drugs in America. Although the Gulf War was won by the allied forces, Saddam Hussein remains in power and has become a fixation with every succeeding President.
Mr. President, you have now inherited that which Presidents Reagan, Carter, your father, and President Clinton were not able to complete. What I have been shown is that you have decided to fulfill their unrealized expectations.
Afghanistan is only a preliminary to a much wider war which is already planned, and this war also has a home front aspect as well. Should you persist in this, you will do what no Islamic Leader is able to do. No leader of any Muslim nation can call for Jihad or Holy War and cause the Muslim world to obey that call. The only one who can call for such is one who sits in the position of Khalifah or successor of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
Since the destruction of the Caliphate of Islam by corruption within the ranks of Islam, and European machinations; the rise of nationalism among Muslim nations has made it difficult and nearly impossible to unify the Arab and Muslim world on the question of Jihad. However, Mr. President, if you follow what you have in your mind, which many of those around you are encouraging you to do, then, you will do what Osama Bin Ladin and no Muslim extremist could ever do.
You will unite the Muslim world in hostility against America and Great Britain, and, you will use your great position of power inadvertently to call for a Holy War against the West.
You will force the more moderate Islamic regimes either not to side with you, or to side with you at the risk of being overthrown by growing Islamist forces within their countries.
The coalition that you are gathering will fall away from you and you will have to pursue this war alone. I am afraid that this extended war may take a turn that you and your advisors least expect, and involve America in the greatest of all wars, the War of Armageddon, in which no nation will be left out, including Russia and China….”
That statement is just an excerpt, but boy oh boy how true those words from December of 2001 are today…
My point is what will it take for us as Americans to realize that this has gone on long enough? I truly believe that we are in a much worse condition since before we even started this “war” with Iraq. When you look at the total cost from death, destruction, radicalization, and mayhem let alone the financial expense, we can easily see we will be dealing with Iraq for decades to come.
What’s even more troubling is this idea that we can spend and forecast to spend trillions of dollars on this “war” but America will not take care of her own whether it’s Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, or Airmen, or everyday citizens. Think about what we could have spent just a fraction of this money on:
Instead of a half trillion dollars we could have:
we could have paid for
children to attend a year of Head Start.
we could have insured
children for one year.we could have hired
additional public school teachers for one year
we could have built
additional housing units
we could have provided
students four-year scholarships at public universities
*data courtesy of http://costofwar.com/*
My point in all this? Well, it’s quite evident that American’s don’t have our priorities straight on many issues, especially Iraq.
I wonder for all of you Iraq “war” supporters, what have you done to actually support the “war” outside of lip service? Have you enlisted in the Army or Marine Corps in order to decrease their urgent need for recruits? Have you encouraged your children, family, and friends to enlist to help support the “war”? I often wonder how many supporters would still in fact be that if it were their loved ones returning home with mental, physical, or permanent injuries? Or worse yet, what if it were your loved ones returning home in the flag draped caskets that we aren’t allowed to see in the media?
I couldn’t even imagine how much support one would give if their neighborhood was strife with violence, roadside bombs and other IED’s, your children couldn’t play outside or go to school, you could barely go to the market for food, let alone work, medical attention, and other needs. What if you had little or no electricity or sanitary water? Would you still be a supporter?
The facts remain, that study after study from our own intelligence agencies show time and time again that nothing is working. Not a half trillion dollars, not a “troop surge”, not staying the course, looking at the way forward, etc. etc. etc.
So how much are we willing to sacrifice? How many generations of Americans and Iraqis are we willing to ruin? When are we going to wake up?
Oh yeah, since some of you actually believe that the Democrats with withdraw the troops and think that we won’t be there much longer, how about this update on our Embassy in Iraq:
PHOTOS: The $592 Million U.S. Embassy In Iraq
Construction of the U.S. embassy in Iraq, set to open in September, is projected to cost $592 million, with a staff of 1,000 people and operating costs totaling $1.2 billion a year. It will be a 104-acre complex, which is the size of approximately 80 football fields. On May 10, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) criticized the ballooning size and cost of the embassy in a hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:
Now, having said over and over again that we don’t want to be seen as an occupying force in Iraq, we’re building the largest embassy that we have — probably the largest in the world — in Baghdad. And it just seems to grow and grow and grow. … We agree that we should focus our aid locally not in Baghdad, but we have 1,000 Americans at the embassy in Baghdad. You add the contractors and the local staff it comes to 4,000.
The complex “will include two office buildings, one of them designed for future use as a school, six apartment buildings, a gym, a pool, a food court and its own power generation and water-treatment plants.”
The U.S. embassy is likely to create even greater Iraqi resentment toward the U.S. occupation. While Americans will be living in posh quarters, the citizens of Baghdad are forced to survive with just 5.6 hours of electricity a day. Baghdad was also recently rated the world’s worst city in which to live.
UPDATE: The residence of the U.S. ambassador to Iraq will be 16,000 square feet. The deputy chief of mission in Iraq will have a “cozy cottage” measuring 9,500 square feet.