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Ron Cruger
The Spectator
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The image of America
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Admit it!
The do-nothing candidates
        “Do you still think we should buy two days of total peace in Iraq, have a parade with all of our soldiers and then have them march off into the sunset and leave the country?”
          “Absolutely. I’ll stick with my original idea of finding the right moment, seize it and march triumphantly out of Iraq. Let the president declare victory. Let him announce that the Iraqi army can protect the country without us. Then he should proclaim to the world that we accomplished what we set out to do and get the hell out with our heads held high.”
          “But what about Iraq falling into the hands of the Iranians?”
          “What about it! Do you really think things could get any worse in Iraq if we left or if we stayed? The country is in a state of civil war. Can we stop a civil war? Are things really getting better with us there? Are less people dying today than were dying 5 years ago? Have we enriched the lives of the average person in Iraq? Do the majority of Iraqis want us to stay in Iraq? I doubt it.” 
          “But what do you think would happen in Iraq if we pulled out?”
          “Now, remember. I don’t think we should set a date for pulling out. I think we should wait for the proper political moment, announce success and leave. Nobody knows what would happen, but my guess is that our departure would force the Iraqis to get off their butts and start talking to each other for their own good. Maybe without us there they would realize that they had better stop the civil war before they all die. Maybe then the Iraqi army would gather at the Iran-Iraq border and prevent any Iranians from crossing over.”
          “So, you don’t think we should keep our army in Iraq until we attain victory?”
          “What the hell are you talking about! There isn’t going to be any victory. We’ve been fighting for 4 long years and we still haven’t heard what victory is. Will it be victory when every Shiite is dead, or every Sunni, or every Kurd? Iraq has turned into a giant, dry and dusty killing field. The buzzards of Syria, Iran and Jordan are circling, waiting to pick the flesh off the bones of Iraq. Unless we are willing to send our troops into battle against the entire middle east region then we are fighting a war we cannot win. We have lost enough of our young men and women and Iraq has lost thousands of their own people. We are fighting a war we cannot win. Have we not learned a giant lesson from Vietnam!”
          “Do you think this war in Iraq is similar to our experience in Vietnam?”
          “There are some similarities, but the biggest one is that we got into a war that we shouldn’t have. Look, hindsight is one thing, but learning from our own mistakes is another. We went into Vietnam thinking that our enemy will fight a war ‘our way.’ The Viet Cong fought a guerilla war and forced us to leave. The Islamic terrorists are not fighting our kind of war and they are forcing us to leave. Get the picture.”
          “So, do you think we did the right thing by invading Iraq 4 years ago, saving the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein?”
          “Puhleeze. Do you really think that even President Bush, knowing what he knows now would make the same choice and invade Iraq? At least I hope he wouldn’t do it again. Remember, 4 years ago we were told that we were invading Iraq because they had nuclear weapons, and bacteria bombs and other weapons of mass destruction. We were told 4 years ago that we were invading Iraq to protect our homeland from attack. We were told that by overthrowing Hussein we would prevent him from attacking us with these terrible weapons of mass destruction. Now, after 4 years we know that Hussein was incapable of doing us any harm. He was a miserable, psychotic, murderer who deserved to die, but there are plenty more miserable, psychotic murderers out there. Okay, let’s say that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, really believed that Hussein was a threat to America. Let’s say they just believed what they wanted to believe. What’s done is done. No need to rub their noses in it. But does that mean the slaughter must continue? We are now heading for 4,000 American lives lost. Thousands of Iraqis have died. Billions, if not trillions of dollars lost. And all of this without any clarification of what our goal is. We still do not know what victory would be.”
          “What do you think our goal in this war should be”
          “I think it is too late for us to have a realistic goal such as we had in the first or second World Wars. The best we can hope for is some kind of a cease fire between the Shiites, the Sunnis and the Kurds. Having the Iraqi army strong enough to keep out any Iranian encroachments would be great. Realistically I have doubts if even these goals can become reality in the foreseeable future."
          “What do you think the world will think of the United States if we leave Iraq the way you suggest?”
          “I think most of the world will think, as most Americans will, that it’s about time we got out. The war and the way we conducted ourselves has caused America’s stock to sink to its lowest point in memory.” 
          "Do you think future presidents will learn from the mistakes in Iraq?”
          “I think our mistakes were obvious and we can learn from them, but perhaps the biggest thing our leaders can do is to listen to those who disagree with them. I don’t think a lot of listening to opposing views has been done in Washington during the past few years – and look where it has got us!”