In response to last week’s question asking if terrorism will continue or get worse
in the next few years a reader wrote, “By 2012 terrorism will be worse (than it is today). We’ll have seen more catastrophic events
taking lives, and suicide bombers will be in America.”
Another response to
how long the Iraq war will continue was, “The war will continue in Iraq, whether the United States is there or not.”
These responses prodded my thinking. As the Republicans defend and the Democrats attack and criticize the current course of action
in Iraq a question hovers above all the politics and posturing – Is President Bush doing the right thing by continuing the war or
are Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats correct in wanting our troops to leave Iraq and return home by a specific date in 2008?
I have tried to find a comparable situation during World War II, but there isn’t any. We fought a two-front war against uniformed
and clearly discernable enemies in Germany and Japan. We wanted to save the lives of American soldiers, so rather than send a half
million Americans dashing to the shores of Japan we dropped two atomic bombs on major Japanese cities and boom, the war in the Pacific
was over. In Germany we sent hundreds of Flying Fortresses over German cities, leveling everything in sight. Hitler killed himself
and Germany gave up. Our industrial might proved so superior that once America geared up for battle it was only a matter of time before
the war was over and the celebrating started in Times Square.
are fighting shadows and ghosts and people who look and dress as our friends. These enemies of ours hate America and Americans with
a passion which is difficult for us to understand. Our enemies want us eradicated from the planet. The millions of our enemies would
slit our throats and have our blood running in our streets and theirs. They believe that their God hates us and wants us dead. They
carry a hatred of which we cannot comprehend.
And so, I find my thinking
taking a turn towards America’s possibilities. I ask myself, “Is there a ‘right thing to do’?” I ask myself, “Are there cities to
bomb?” I ask myself, “Do we bargain or just bomb?” I ask myself, “Do we negotiate with men who will, at the end of negotiating, still
want our blood to run in their streets?” I ask myself, “Do we continue the killing because it will look bad if we stop the killing?”
are a number of possible scenarios:
-We pick a date and our troops march out
of Iraq and come home. Leaving that country to become a morass of infighting religious fanatics. Civil war rages. We say we fought
the good fight and now we’re leaving. At this point nobody would know what would become of the country known as Iraq. The taste of
Vietnam would be in our throats.
-We stay in Iraq, steadily increasing our
troop count. We remain there as the killing continues on a steady pace. By 2012 there could be 8,000 American dead. We would have
killed hundreds of thousands of terrorists and innocents. We note victories and losses, but no end is in sight.
-A rudimentary government in Iraq is formed and the leaders ask the United States to leave. We abide by their wishes and withdraw
our troops. The civil war continues as it is today. Forces from Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries continue to
cross Iraq’s borders, fomenting jihad, civil war and maniacal, murderous unrest that continues with no resolution or relief in sight.
-American forces remain in Iraq. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds form a coalition government. Iraqi forces fight terrorists sent in from
Syria, Iran and other Islamic nations. The United Nations plays an active role and creates a peace, respected by all nations. Armed
forces from Syria, Iran and other Islamic nations withdraw, leaving Iraq in a peaceful state.
-We stay in Iraq. By 2009 we have 198,000 soldiers on the ground. Death counts rise on both sides. The Iraqi government remains weak
and ineffectual. On March 14, 2009 Iran explodes a rudimentary hydrogen bomb over Baghdad, killing 235,000 Iraqis and Americans. Iran
threatens that unless all Americans withdraw from Iraq and unless there is an unconditional surrender to Iran the following day they
will explode hydrogen bombs over 6 of Iraq’s major cities.
-The United States
withdraws its troops from Iraq. After two years of civil war, fierce fighting and thousands of deaths Syria, Iran and a coalition
of Islamic nations invade Iraq and place a Saddam Hussein-like dictator as president.
-United States pulls most of its troops from Iraq, leaving only a few units of Marines to guard Iraq’s oil fields. Two days after
the United States marches out of Iraq, a contingent of 250,000 Iranian troops burst across Iraq’s borders setting up a puppet government,
killing all who oppose them. Iraq’s borders are nullified and the United States’ Marines are forced to evacuate. Iraq becomes a satellite
state to Iran. The newly formed Iraqi state becomes the center for world wide terrorism under the control of Iran.
-The war continues as it is today. The President, the Democrats and Republicans continue their endless partisan bickering. A new president
of the United States is elected in 2008, promising all Americans a resolution to the Iraqi problem. All Americans and the world await