We can all breathe a sigh of relief; our troops are coming home from Iraq. Of course, no one ever wants a single one of our men and women in uniform to be in harms way. It is interesting to speculate on the real reasons that we went to war with Saddam Hussein. After all, there’s a plethora of despots and dictatorships around the world that should be extricated on the basis of human rights abuses, yet, we don’t send in troops. Some would argue it was because of WMD’s, in retribution for 9/11, to quash the terrorists, or to kill a brutal dictator. All of these are valid reasons and all were part of the mix when the U.S. made that decision in 2003. But, in selecting Iraq, our country made an interesting choice. This decision will prove vitally pivotal in the history of mankind.
The connection between money and Iraq is clear. If we go back to 9/11, the intricate details necessary to carry out such a plot required patience and money. The “insurgents” or “terrorists” in Iraq require money. The attack in 1996 on the US military barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole; the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and the 1998 attacks on U.S. Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Saalam, Tanzania all required money. Lots of money! There are millions of poor Muslims throughout the world who have no prospect for a life filled with family joys, pursuit of education, or contribution to the greater good of society. The terrorists don’t need people, they need money. That money flows from the organizations and governments of Syria, Iran and others. While all of these nations have despicable human rights policies and provide funding to terrorists cells in a myriad of forms throughout the world, Iran has a special place in hell-dom. Why? Iran is bent on developing weapons of mass destruction, giving them to terrorists, and destroying any people or country that has relations with the U.S. or Israel. And, oh, by the way, Iran has money and is a much bigger problem than North Korea, which is dirt poor and near implosion.
While pundits can argue that we are there for the Iraqi oil, to find the abhorrent oppressor Saddam Hussein, or because we thought that WMD’s may be harbored within Iraq, the truth is that we went to war with another unspoken strategic goal of getting close to our real nemesis–Iran. The “terrorists” who claim to hold true the Islamic ideals of brotherhood and faith are not really Islamists. These men are prepping the battlefield for the war between the U.S. and Iran. They are paid soldiers who don’t have fancy tanks or high technology radar systems, but they are the first elements of the Iranian Army. With the recent upheavals in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, America watches carefully to see if the fundamentalists take hold. Terrorist leaders hijack Islam to convince young men to give up their life and their future. Insurgents don’t produce any goods, they don’t provide any services, and they don’t develop technologies, so how do they get the money to build an army? Easy. They get it from those people that are hell bent on destroying the United States and the West.
The Iraq Study Group Report suggested that we attempt political relations with Iran and surrounding neighbors. Do this while they send funds to the terrorists in Iraq and while they plan the next attack on the United States? Political action is a viable alternative but only in conjunction with strong military action. We must be careful. The U.S. can fill a hole with more U.S. service members, when simultaneously the hole gets deeper as more of these paid terrorists stream into and are recruited within Iraq. The military in Iraq must continue to be strengthened, and at the same time, the borders of Iraq must be secured. Americans are notoriously bad at this–look at our own border issues. The ability of these terrorists to bring in guns, money, and other explosive devices must be stopped before any political or diplomatic solution can prevail. Iran is banking on the lack of steadfastness by the U.S.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad wants the U.S to retract, take a defensive stance, and ultimately roll up the tarps and leave. With the recent international announcement by President Obama that our combat troops will be leaving Iraq, he got his wish. Ahmadinejad has taken extensive measures to ensure that members of the fledgling Iraqi government are sympathetic to Iran and that this internal strife in Iraq serves to adequately distract and deter Western ‘infidels’ into retreat, or, as some would say, ‘phased withdrawal.’ This is yet another strategy to beat the U.S. Remember, it took from 1993 to 2001 before the terrorists tried again to attack the World Trade Center. Iran is not going anywhere, Iranian leaders are not stopping their development of weapons of mass destruction. They sneered at the UN sanctions and they view their victory in Iraq as a long term proposition–one they will wait out the U.S. to achieve.
The question remains, how do we win or are we destined to remain ensnarled in the violence that plagues Iraq and Afghanistan? How can we commit American blood with no clear endstate? This is where nuanced diplomatic strategy is sorely lacking in our current President. Bold threats, grand statements that our troops are leaving, unanswered questions about Iraqi and Afghan national security leave wide open the road to Baghdad for our nemesis in the region, Iran. Americans notoriously thrive on precise and clear outcomes. We are a society that rests on notions of right and wrong, win and lose, black and white. But this war is all gray and Americans have little patience left after ten years. Why do we maintain combat troops in Korea? Germany? Japan? Over decades of persistence, these bases have become integral components of our national security. Our troops in Korea gaze at the North Koreans making nuclear weapons, but really they are watching the Chinese. We have bases in Europe to maintain our military presence in a part of the world that two times over tried to destroy humankind. Now, we finally have a foothold beyond our relationship with Israel within one of the most violent and tumultuous regions, and Barack Obama declares to all the world, he is sending all our combat troops home.
Yes, this is a tragic mistake. Even if he had removed the troops without the pronouncement to the world we would have been better off. Instead, to appease the Democrats, who claim to be the party of righting social wrongs, we not only up and leave our new found, developing relationships in the region, but we put at immediate risk the lives of civilian Iraqis and Afghanis, as well as Americans right here on our soil. Given the past penchant for kidnappings and beheadings, we are also leaving tens of thousands of unprotected U.S. citizen contractors in harms way.
It happened once on 9/11 and we have been lulled into believing it will never happen again. That’s what they thought during World War II. Be careful, Ahmadinejad is doing a victory dance. Now he has two countries with dynamics in which his control is fully in play. With Saddam Hussein, he had little chance of progress. With money hungry local tribal leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan, he will surely make inroads. He knows about the billions in oil, he knows about manipulating people and he now knows that America has quit.