Featured Column
Week of 1.24.2005
Is the next war coming soon?
          Even before the swearing in ceremonies for President Bush were completed the rumors, gossip and scuttlebutt started. The network talking heads were all asking retired U.S. Generals, politicians and international experts if they thought it was true – “Is America getting ready to attack Iran?” The other question popping up all over the interview programs is – “Is Israel going to attack Iran?”
           We’re hearing that American forces are already operating in Iran. It is presumed that the administration is looking for obvious and compelling proof that the Iranians are building weapons of mass destruction. It’s a fair bet that if our troops and spies find something that could cause mass destruction we’ll wake up one morning to the announcement that American war planes have leveled suspected areas in Iran. And with that we will be at war in two Middle Eastern countries.
           I think I’d feel better about the possibility of us invading another Muslim country if we were “whoopin’ ass” in Iraq, but all I hear coming out of that land are threats, suicide bombings, kidnappings, atrocious murders and unconscionable beheadings – all of these events perpetrated by our enemies. There has been little reporting lately of any American success stories.
          With the Iraqi elections coming up in a week and with an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 fanatical insurgents now operating in Iraq I fear for the outcome of our hopes and dreams for that country. I also fear for members of our military stationed in that far off perilous land. I listen to President Bush and our new Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speak of the grand progress evolving in Iraq and how we are gaining our objective of freedom for Iraqis and then I hear of our military casualties and the terrible gains and crimes of the insurgents (terrorists).
          We hear from the Bush administration that there are over 100,000 Iraqi government police and troops fully trained to protect citizen voters and then we hear from retired U.S. Generals and observers that the actual number of trained and dependable Iraqi military and police is closer to 4,000.
          There seems to be growing evidence of smugness and insularity in the administration the closer that Iraq gets to the elections. Perhaps President Bush and Secretary Rice, along with others in the administration, are holding their cards until they see how the elections turn out. Maybe they’re as unsure as I am about how things will evolve in the next few months.
          What is happening in Iraq, and perhaps very soon in Iran, and who knows where else in the Middle East, is a crusade on America’s part. We are on the march to bring freedom and democracy to an area of the planet that has not known these commodities since humans started walking upright, dragging their knuckles on the ground.
          Our enemies in the Middle East claim that the U.S. originated Iraqi war is proof of Washington’s intention to dominate Islam politically, militarily and economically. Spurred on by bin Laden many in the area strongly believe that it is America’s intention to loot Islam’s natural resources – in particular, oil. The other reason for their hatred of us is our support for Israel.
          Under Al Qaeda’s leadership, millions of the Muslim insurgency around the world fight for the debilitation of the U.S. as a superpower through apocalyptic terrorism, the overthrow of “apostate” Arab regimes and the establishment of global Islamic caliphates.
          I hope that one morning in the near future I will turn on CNN and get a truthful and clear picture of what is really happening in Iraq. Are we winning or losing? I am anxious to know if the President’s crusade to bring democracy and freedom to the world is succeeding. I am also hopeful that our spies and military personnel currently scouring the secret caves in Iran will not find any weapons of mass destruction. I don’t think I’m ready for another war in the Middle East, at least not yet. I’d like to get a good handle on the current war before we move on to another one. I’m also not too big on crusades. They often head down the road of good intentions and then detour to the dirty alleys of failure.
           So, before we march into Iran let’s clean up what we started in Iraq – and perhaps we could reflect a moment on the price we are paying to get where we are.
          And while we’re at it, let’s finish dealing with that bad guy that was supposedly the cause of all of this carnage and bloodshed – Saddam Hussein. What’s up with him lately?
Let's finish Iraq first
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger