by Jack lee
The United States was involved in the Iraq war for 12 years and it cost us a lot of lives and over a 2 trillion dollars. Had we actually collected “oil for blood” maybe we could say at least we got something out of it. As it is, we gained nothing! It was a waste of everything, our time, our money, our lives and it left us somewhat weaker than we were before that war. We’re certainly more divided as a people, polarized by partisan politics and war, our enemies love that part. And we’re a heck of a lot more in debt!
Iraq is now an unstable nation on the verge of an all out civil war. The corruption and violence there today is arguably as bad or worse than it was under Saddam Hussein. It’s estimated that somewhere between 500,00 and one million people have died as a result of these two protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention over 5000 American deaths.
The next war to be concluded is Afghanistan. This is another long war without a clear mission to know when to call it a victory and come home. Instead we’re spending about $4 billion a month to prop up a country with a gross domestic product of about $1 billion per year, much of that coming from raw opium smuggling. Before it’s all over and the last disabled veteran from those wars has died of old age, we will have spent somewhere between 4 and 6 trillion dollars. Does this make any sense to anyone? This is not to say Afghanistan was an avoidable war, it proably was not given 9/11 and the harboring of the killers. Any president would have gone after them at that time by any means. So President Bush had every right to go into Afghanistan and blast the heck out of Al Qeada and the Taliban. The problems came later on when we embarked on nation building. The longer we stayed, the more we looked like occupation forces and that was our great failure. We should have been out of there years ago, then again hindsight is always 20-20, well, actually I said so at the time. I hope we’ve learned from that lesson…never over stay our welcome.
Maybe this is why the nation is headed towards a new period of isolationism?
57% of Americans currrently say we’re too involved in global affairs. They want to divert foreign aid to domestic aid. They want our military home protecting our shores and not defending people in foreign lands that have little or no gratitude for our assistance. In fact, it seems like when the U.S. gets involved militarily with another country, no matter how good our intentions, the fighting stops and we become the bad guys. The focus is on us, it was that way in Somalia, Iraq and it is that way in Afghanistan. We’ve won very few friends in Iraq and if you listen to President Karzai in Afghanistan, we won even fewer there. Most recently, Krazy Karzai has refused to sign an agreement to keep US troops on Afghan soil while their army gets up to speed. And if this isn’t done, we’re out of there by December, 2014.
If it were up to me, we would have been out of there almost as fast as we went in. This place is a rock pile and the people are steeped in centuries of ignorance and tribalism. They don’t want democracy…no matter how much money we throw at them. So, if we elect to bail out of Afghanistan early because Karzai has taken back the welcome mat, then so be it. It’s not like we have a shortage of overseas deployments. Currently the United States military forces have 600 bases located in 156 countries.
Maybe we ought to be thinking, how many of those places are really necessary?
China is thrilled to see us busying ourselves as the worlds police force and spending our fortune doing it. They love to see us spread thin, patrolling the seas with giant carriers, costing hundreds of billions of dollars. They want us to spend 20% of our budget on the military or more and just keep doing things the way we’ve done during the Cold War. Because the next war won’t be like any of the last conflicts and China gets it. Technology has changed the world. Now any two-bit dictatorship can inflict massive damage on us with a low tech biological agent like anthrax. We won’t see those enemy tanks lined up on the battlefield ready to be knocked out with air to ground missiles fired from distant helicopters or bombed into tiny bits from high flying B-52’s. No, it’s far more likely we’ll see a dirty bomb in Manhattan or an EMP explosion over the East Coast. This device could wipe out all our electrical circuits and leave millions of us stranded in darkness…then the looting of grocery stores starts and it gets real ugly – real fast.
We’re a very fragile and vulnerable economy, 9-11 proved that, and our giant military did us no good when Al Qaeda decided to attack. This was a tiny group of peope that hurt us, just think what a whole country of sabatotuers and cyber-warriors could do! China is in competition with us – but they are not necessarily on a path to war with us. There’s a lot to be gained from a commercial relationship with China, but we have to be smart about it. So far we’ve been way to eager to take advantage of their cheap labor at the cost of jobs and our own economy.
In the next war America is more likely to be like the giant that dies from a thousand cuts than head-on against a defined enemy force on some far off battle ground.
China understands this, and they have no intention of taking us on destroyer to destroyer, carrier to carrier, because they know they would lose. Instead they are prepared to leap ahead of our conventional warfare and put their faith in cyber-war, if it came down to a war. They can severely damage us without leaving their command center in Beijing.
How many suitcase nukes or H1N1 bio attacks would it take to cripple this nation and at what modest cost? And this can be done ever so stealthily while we’re patrolling the Sea of Japan, protecting the Japanese from attack by some mythical aggressor that does not exist today.
If America was a sleeping giant prior to WWII, we are a comatose giant today. Our military is deployed in all the wrong places with a lot of obsolete weaponry. We’re prepared to fight an enemy that doesn’t exist. The high tech weaponry we’re developing at a huge cost will have little or no effect on a suicide bomber or that guy getting on the subway with a briefcase full of weaponized flu virus.
For once I would like to see us prepared to respond in the most effective ways to the most likely threats! Just once I would love to see us ready – but, we’re not ready. You look at our defense spending and it’s obvious. We’re once again sitting ducks, lulled into a false sense of security because nothing big has happened since 9-11. Yet, America has more determine enemies than every before from fanatical Iran to North Korea, spoiling for a fight. A whole new crop of would-be terrorists have grown up since 9-11.
The only way we’re going to be ready is to build a strong economy, with self sufficient energy resources and a secure power grid. We’ll obviously need to start with a smart government, one with the guts to take a terrorist attack and absorb it, without recklessly imposing crippling restrictions on our commerce, our air travel or creating another stupid beaurocracy, like the horrendously wasteful Homeland Security; an agency nobody wanted or needed outside the Beltway.
Our foolish president and our equally foolish representatives magnified the costs of 9-11 way beyond Osama bin Laden’s wildest hopes when they stupidly shut down airports, closed off parking lots and hundreds of other rediculous things. This is how terrorism works and we were chumps and played right into it because the dopes in Congress HAD TO DO SOMETHING and this was the best they could come up with? By the way Chico got a pile of Homeland Security money…it help fund our counter-terrorist SWAT team and buy an armored car for BCSO. I think Colusa got some money for counter-terrorist lighting at the Fair Grounds. Yeah, they actually thought we needed it, that’s scarey.
They (White House and Congress) did almost everything wrong following 9-11. They got us into two wars, proving once again that they learned nothing from history. That would be… how to deal with terrorism. We have many good examples how to handle terrorism in many places of the world too! But, we let our ego get in the way – we didn’t do anything the Israelis or the British suggested. Instead we bought scubba gear for the Sheriff’s Dept. in North Dakota and thousands of little places, all trying to cash in our NEED TO DO SOMETHING.
Let me ask you this, would you really want to go through another 9-11 with the bunch we have in Washington right now? Okay, so the first move is really up to us. We need to put the right people in place and get the bums out! Anyone who doesn’t understand how terrorism works and how the military operates shouldn’t be in a leadership role. If we can do this, just elect knowlegable people, then tThis will be our first intelligent act to protect our nation and insure our future. So, forget partisanship – this is about survival. The next part is to follow this up with a coherent, sober foreign policy. We don’t have a foreign policy now – do we? If we do it must be top secret because nobody I know has a clue what it is. So we need a good plan and we need it right away. And it ought to be plan that does include sending the Great White Fleet out to protect the world and impress our enemies. Those days are long gone and we need to think building friends and alliances, not throwing our weight around.
May God help us, because I have a feeling we’re going to need it, especially if we don’t wise up and start think proactive rather than reactive.
Just think, if either John McCain or Al Gore were elected, we probably woulden’t have had the second Iraq war.
President Clinton felt that terrorists should be dealt with like organized crime. That is, go after the leaders, cut off the funding, punish the supporters and destroy the organization.
We had a good plan, but we became scared and acted foolishly.
Yes Jim, there seems to be limit to how foolishly we responded to 9-11. The Homeland money is still paying cites/counties/states for the most rediculous things all in the name of security. Going after the leadership is not a bad idea. But, carpet bombing to kill em sucks. We only create more terrorists when we do not surgically take out the leaders.
I have mixed feelings about all of this. Sure Clinton’s plan didn’t mean war but on the other hand it also led to 3,000 deaths on 911 and had the fourth plane hit Congress or the White House rather than being diverted things might have been quite a bit worse. We overcame the devastation to Wall Street and the economy only because we had very good leadership and the people were determined and united. That’s a value that isn’t easily measured but it matters.
Once we did go to war the unified front and support for leadership quickly deteriorated. Our leadership being criticized before the entire world is the biggest reason we ultimately fail in my opinion. People who decide its okay to second guess leadership or that its their job to be openly critical send a very big message to our enemies and our leaders and warriors then have to fight two battles. Our partners begin to doubt our commitment. Our enemies see an opening of weakness. Despite that, at the end of Bush’s term the Middle East was fairly stable, terrorism had been delivered a severe blow, and America was still seen as a formidable force. That has deteriorated greatly in the last five years even without strong media criticism in the US.
Since we change leadership every 4-6 years, and since the American people can no longer be counted on to present a solid unified front, it is extremely hard to support going to war for any reason. The difference between the present leadership and the last are like night and day. America can’t be counted on to keep her word, her ideals, or even her priorities.
Managing terrorists as criminals, given that Iran has now been given a green light on it’s nukes, is equally undesirable. The next 911 will be much more devastating. Imagine a group of terrorists with a plan similar in size only now a nuke is part of the mix. One way or the other terrorists will cost in both lives and money. I guess that’s the times in which we live.
Tina….Iran is a classic example of foreign policy failure. We’ve totally blown it now. When we lifted some of the sanctions it was all over. Business representatives rushed in to score contracts worth billions. Do you think we are now in a position to re-impose those sanctions if Iran violates the nuclear agreement? No way…we’ve lost our leverage. What we have here is the Cuban missile crisis in slow motion. Obama was the biggest sucker on the planet when he negotiated with Iran. We were taken and worse…Israel is in grave danger. Way to go Barack…what an idiot!
Never trust your life or your kid’s life to a politician.
“People who decide its okay to second guess leadership or that its their job to be openly critical send a very big message to our enemies and our leaders and warriors then have to fight two battles.”
This is satire, right?
Surely you can’t believe this President has received broad criticism for his wars in the last five years?
The second Iraq war could have been cut short and things would have been very different had “the surge” been implemented at the start. Potentially very good policy very badly executed and then made completely worthless by Obama.
Pie, I agree. We were 100% prepared to win the war but, we were not prepared to win the peace. We made countless blunders that should have been obvious and that part caused uncessary deaths on both sides. We learned many lessons (again) from Iraq that we should have been learned after Vietnam. We do that a lot.
I don’t want to be too critical of Bush, because he was a good man who just did the best he could, but he was in over his head and mistakes were made by him and his staff, there’s no avoiding that now. Unfortunately, any good that was finally realized during Bush’s war years was all but undone by the great amature…B.O.
Bush looks like Einstein compared to him.
Hey Jim, besides McCain and Gore I wonder what Palin would have done since in 2008 she predicted how Obama would deal with foreign policy issues and that Putin would invade Ukraine.
Watch the video and see just how accurate she was.
“After the Russian Army invaded the nation of Georgia, Senator Obama’s reaction was one of indecision and moral equivalence, the kind of response that would only encourage Russia’s Putin to invade Ukraine next,” Palin said on the stump in the 2008 campaign.
Jack you’re right on the comparisons of GW and BO, how I wish we had someone with Bush’s integrity in office now.
Not to get too off topic, but I just want to point out that, while Iraq is fully debatable, Afghanistan was not simply “Bush’s war”. The statement by some of the left that Bush got us into 2 wars is completely false.
The fact is that after 9/11, our nation demanded war with Afghanistan. Nearly everyone in Congress voted for it as well, including those on the left who later said they were against it. The people of this country wanted action, right or wrong, and Bush had no choice but to give it to them. 3000 of our fellow citizens died that day! Even if the great doofus Al Gore himself had been elected to president (thank the lord he wasn’t), he would have taken the same action.
I agree Steve, thanks for making that point. -Jack
Wounded Warrior Blasts Obama for Lack of Leadership in Fiercely Worded Open Letter:
Senior Airman Ret. Brian Kolfage vented his feelings to President Obama in a strongly worded letter that doesn’t mince words:
Dear President Obama,
My name is Brian Kolfage, I’m a triple amputee and retired Air Force veteran who was severely wounded on September 11, 2004 in Iraq.
I nearly died in a war that most of your colleagues supported overwhelmingly, including the two presidents who came before you. Many citizens may not agree with waging war in Iraq to free the oppressed Iraqi citizens, but it’s something that warriors like myself have no control over. I joined to serve my country and to better my life. I’ve seen things that you could never imagine, and they have made me the person I am today.
Mr. Obama, even though we have extreme opposite views, we have one thing in common, we both attended school in Hawaii. However, that’s where the similarities end. You see, as you attended your exclusive, private school, I would ride my bike to Kaimuki High School in one of the roughest areas in Hawaii. Every morning I would ride past Punahou, the exclusive private school you attended and I would notice all of the Bentleys, Maseratis, and fancy foreign cars that all the kids were dropped off in; wow it must have been extremely rough in Hawaii living that life, right? I could only imagine what it was like to have that kind of money. Fortunately for you, not many people are aware of the school that you and the upper class citizens of Hawaii attended. The tuition to attend your exclusive, private school was more than it cost me to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Arizona. You talk a big game when it comes to financial inequality, yet I’m quite sure you have no idea what it’s truly like to have to sacrifice. You were one of the elitist children in Hawaii.
After High School, we each chose very different paths. You were able to attend America’s finest Ivy League schools, while I pursued a career in the military, in hopes of earning a degree. What we have in life as children usually helps to set the tone for how we acheive success later in life. I worked to get where I am today, while it was HANDED TO YOU….Mr. Inequality.
I volunteered to go to Iraq on both of my deployments, and the second time I begged to go even after I wasn’t selected. During that second deployment, I was ultimately placed on the team where I would lose both legs and my dominant arm. Even though many Americans were against the war in Iraq, I’ve never asked myself if it was worth it after losing 3 of my limbs.
I am frequently reminded of the many young Iraqi children who would beg me for water, food, and toys while I was stationed in Iraq. Children, who in all aspects made the poorest of poor American children look rich. You have no idea what it really means to be poor. It’s laughable that you, who would have no idea what it means to be poor would so frequently play the inequality card.
While I was in Iraq, our mission was to liberate the Iraqi citizens from a tyrant and that’s what we did. Never forget, it was your people who sent us there, like the Clintons, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi & Carl Levin. However, since the day you busted onto the scene you’ve been talking about ending the war and pulling the troops out, not understanding the blood sweat and tears that so many Americans and Iraqi’s invested. And with complete disregard for every life sacrificed, every limb lost, and every broken family, you bailed on our mission to pursue an agenda that was completely centered on your re-election in 2012. If you didn’t bail on Iraq you were worried that you may not get re-elected and that’s a fact. Just before elections on Oct 11, 2012 you said “Al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead.” Look at Iraq now, they are in shambles and the Al Qaeda flag is flying freely. Clearly, you’re unfit for duty as a Commander in Chief. You put your own agenda ahead of America’s agenda, and now you have single handedly ruined and destroyed nearly everything we gained in Iraq. It clearly means nothing to you, because the only thing that you’ve personally invested in that country was a promise to bail on them. However, people like me gave limbs, friends have died, and we’ve watched families destroyed by war’s aftermath.
I’m not placing blame on you for the war, I’m placing blame on you for destroying what we’ve worked so hard to build. You’re not a leader, you’re a community organizer. A leader would have stood up regardless of the situation and put America’s agenda first and that is ensuring a secure Iraq even after 10 years of war. But, you placed Barack first, just as Robert Gates confirmed in his new book. I can’t help but think of those poor kids who I gave water and toys to 11 years ago. They’re probably 15 or 16 years old now, and I can only imagine what it’s like for them to have their nation being torn apart yet again; all because of your poor leadership qualities. Regardless of why we went to Iraq, its water under the bridge. We went there, we waged war, and we not only owed it to our KIA’s but we owed it to the citizens of Iraq. We invaded their country and turned it upside down, and you bailed on them. You bailed on our soldiers and you’ve wasted every death and every limb, it’s all for nothing. And to make matters worse you blame others for your failures
You’re just another elitist rich thug who’s pretended to live the rough life growing up in the inner-city. You’re only worried about your own agenda and furthering your party instead of taking care of Americans. Your inability to be a leader at some of the most critical points has caused both of our wars to fail. You’ve been a joke to most of our veteran community and we have no faith in your ability to lead.
Senior Airman Ret Brian Kolfage USAF
“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.”
— Lou Holtz
Senior Airman Ret. Brian Kolfage truly sacrificed for this country because it has championed the ideals of freedom and equality; and like many other citizens, he now perceives Obama to be a threat to the American way of life.
Certainly, we wish the best for wounded vets like Senior Airman Ret. Kolfage, and godspeed.
Picture of Senior Airman Ret. Brian Kolfage and his letter here:
Steve you are absolutely right…the left politicians were falling all over themselves to get in front of the camera’s to show what war hawks they were. It’s what makes their later criticism, not to mention attempts to undermine our troops all the more despicable.
Peggy I sure hope Brian Kolfage knows that there are Americans of all ages who supported him and his fellows and the mission and feel as strongly as he does about what has happened since 2008.There is so much to grieve about and so much of it an unnecessary result of poor leadership. I still can’t believe we the people have so stupidly chosen the current leader of our nation.
Is anybody reading this?……Cancer…….
Tina, it is very sad that Kolfage felt compelled to write his letter to the Commander in Chief. This administration is now being proved to have been absolutely clueless in dealing with our foreign policies and military action/support.
Sadder still is to read Chris constantly defend this administration’s ineptness. Someone this weekend said Putin is play chess while Obama is playing marbles. Obama and his advisors have no idea what to do. Nor apparently does he even care demonstrated by his choice to not attend the security council meeting prior to talking to Putin. Meetings he’s reported to have missed 50% of the time.
Videos are coming out proving Palin and Romney knew more about Putin and foreign affairs than Obama did, yet because of voters like Chris we are in this mess today.
Romney vs. Obama debate: (note the poll at the bottom)
Hopefully, this November election will be a tsunami and not just a wave to clean out Congress of Democrats and Republicans who have supported this administration and its policies.
Bush’s Integrity? Never mind the actual documents on his phony war!
Never mind the Tea Party funders Koch boyz made millions in Iran against the sanctions…hypocrisy