Commentary - Iraq, an unwise war, sequelSeven years ago in this space I listed the following three reasons why our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was unwise (having been opposed to our attack before it was launched).
By Bruce Pohlig, Alexandria, MN
Seven years ago in this space I listed the following three reasons why our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq was unwise (having been opposed to our attack before it was launched).
1. Nothing that we do in Iraq will last. Ancient tribal and cultural divides will swallow our tinkering with the various factions who will not agree to work peacefully with each other.
2. “Nation-building” will not work in Iraq (or Afghanistan). We will learn the lesson that nation-building cannot occur where a nation has not previously existed.
3. Our invasion will coalesce and enrage the Muslim masses against us in ways that we cannot imagine or contain in future years.
I predicted that Iraq will break apart in civil war within two years after the last American soldier leaves Iraq, with the country reverting to a continuation of despots.
I recommended that, having removed Saddam, we should declare a victory and leave, predicting that failure to do so will result in decades spent by us recovering from this unwise war.
On December 22 we learned that 16 bombings occurred in Baghdad within 48 hours of the departure of our last troops. Fifteen of these bombings were in Shiite areas, clearly the work of Saddam’s Sunni minority.
It is noteworthy that only one of the seven remaining Republican candidates for the party’s presidential nomination is outspokenly opposed to such USA war-making, loudly calling for an end to it. We should heed the advice of Senator Ron Paul.
As to our lengthy recovery after several hundred thousand people killed and maimed on both sides and almost $1 trillion spent by us, we are selling Iraq $10 billion in weapons contracts with $3 billion paid by us as we continue to spend almost $1 billion annually to train Iraq’s police force, plus fund long-term aid to our deserving Iraq veterans.
If our military had fewer resources, perhaps it would be harder for commanders-in-chief to order invasions without a declaration of war from Congress. Having the military means, presidential authority and debt-incurring ability to launch global invasions invites the hubris required to do so.
Ensuring that we don’t forget our lesson of unwise war-making in Iraq, there remains our war in Afghanistan with another sad outcome waiting for all concerned. Perhaps, as we watch yet another country quickly revert after yet another USA troop departure, we may truly remember the futility of such invasions and the foolish thinking that launched them.
It is our moral strength, economic power and quality of life for all our citizens that secure the nation. We should focus on these.