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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
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 by Ron Cruger
Shifting thoughts
2007 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
        When President Bush announced that weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq and we were going to war against Saddam Hussein and his army to protect the United States from the threat of nuclear bombs and poison gas I stood behind the president. I agreed with the thought that if another country hates us and threatens us and if that country has a supply of nuclear bombs and missiles containing killer bacteria that we had no other choice but to go to war. With the information we received from President Bush, Vice President Cheney and a misguided and ill-informed Colin Powell it appeared to be imperative that we go to war to protect our oil supplies, our shores and our interests around the world. We heard that there was a powerful coalition of troops from around the world that would help us win a victory. 
           Then teasingly slow we found out that there were no weapons of mass destruction, no nuclear bombs, no missiles with killer bacteria war heads. We had been deceived. The question remains about who did the deceiving and who was actually deceived. 
           After we were all enlightened about the deception my thoughts were that while we were in Iraq let’s defeat Saddam and his army and then promptly leave. After all, it was Saddam that we wanted to defeat. We even captured him and supposedly made Iraq safe for Iraqis. 
           Then our President decided that we would stay and help set up a new government. We quickly screwed that plan up. 
           Muslim radicals and terrorists saw that Iraq was ripe for a civil war. The Sunnis saw it and the Shiites saw it as did the Kurds.
           And so the civil war in Iraq began. At the same time Bin Laden and al Qaida saw that the United States had great difficulty in fighting a guerilla war, especially a guerilla war amidst a civil war. 
           At this time I changed my mind and thought it would be best for us to get out of Iraq. We couldn’t win. 
           For two years we fought the civil war and the terrorists in Iraq. We also fought in Afghanistan. The body count rose. 
           The wars in the Middle East raged. Muslim radicals and terrorists from around the Middle East joined in the battle for Iraq. More accurately, these terrorists and radicals fought to defeat the United States. 
           Then my thoughts changed. We can’t leave Iraq. We started something and Americans always finish what they start (ignore Vietnam, please). What would the rest of the world think of us? 
           Another year went by with little or no resolution concerning victory, defeat, goals or an ending date for our involvement. 
           Gory months passed. The fighting got uglier, grotesque. More deaths. Bodies were found in piles in Baghdad and other cities in Iraq. It was more than warfare. Murder on a grand scale was sweeping the land. 
           Then I thought - we can’t win this battle. The more troops we send there the more the civil war rages and the more terrorists join the fray. 
           I suggested that we announce that we had accomplished our goal of defeating Saddam Hussein. We had removed the dictator from power and now it was up to the Iraqis to establish a government and live their lives in the way they choose. I thought our soldiers could have marched out of Iraq and come home. Americans could have held their heads high. 
           Instead, we “stayed the course.” We were (are) in Iraq under different circumstances than those we had initially planned. We went there to rid the Iraqis of the brutal leadership of Saddam Hussein and we had accomplished that. Now we are there interceding in a civil war and battling the murderous hordes of fanatical Muslims from across the Middle East. It was (is) doubtful that we could ever win a war as it being staged today. 
           So, my thoughts became - let’s march out of that distant, dusty land. Bring our troops home. Let the Iraqis govern and defend Iraq.
           More savage months passed and the death tolls shockingly increased. The resident population of Iraq, Baghdad in particular, was reduced by scores each day as murder had become a religious act. 
           Young Americans were dying by the hundreds every month. 
           Now I wasn’t sure of what to do. Do we stay and fight a seemingly endless parade of radical Muslim terrorists. Do we stand in the middle of a burgeoning civil war like a camouflaged referee and become a target for both sides or do we slowly withdraw and leave Iraq to the Iraqis? 
           Before I could come to another decision, before I could change my mind again, our President announced a new tactic – “The Surge.” We would send thousands more soldiers to Iraq. We would give it the “good old American try.” 
           A couple of months into our new tactic it appears that little has changed. Sunnis are dying as are Shiites. Americans are dying as are Muslims. There is no progress to announce. 
           The more Americans we ship to Iraq the more Muslim radicals and terrorists are shipped there too. 
           And, so, here I am, changing my mind again. Lord knows I’d like to agree and support our President. I wish I had more faith in his decision making ability. Same with our Vice President. 
           The war we went to fight 4 years ago is the not the war in which we are now fighting. Now we are engaged in combat against Iraqis as well as against soldiers of the sword from a number of other Muslim countries. 
           We fought a war in Iraq and won it. It’s been over for 3 years. 
           I don’t even know what our goal in Iraq is. If we left Iraq today would more or less people die? Would the civil war continue or end? What would Iran do? Are we so afraid of Iran? I would tell Iran that if they try and set one foot into Iraq after we leave we will bomb their country into the stone age. 
          The world is aware of what is happening in Iraq. Everyone knows we are not winning the war. Most doubt we could ever win if victory means setting up a democratic government with no violence and freedom for all Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, not to mention Christians and Jews. 
          During our own Revolutionary War even the Germans and the French had the good sense not to try and force their forms of government on the people of the new United States. We formed the government we wanted to live under. We still live that way. No foreign government could tell us how we should live. 
          There, I’ve changed my mind again. Let our men and women in uniform in Iraq form lines and march out of that faraway land. We have done what we went there to do. 
          All we can do now is help train an Iraqi police force and an Iraqi army. If the Iraqi people want freedom they will fight for it – just like we did!