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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Three Years Of Hell

Three years ago tomorrow night was when our news channels filled with images of bombs exploding in Baghdad. 9:34pm est. time will mark the anniversary of the actual start of the invasion.

So where have we gone since then? Well we did make it to Baghdad with little effort. We did find Saddam Hussein. That’s about it for the good points..

Now here we sit 3 years later and where are we. We have lost 2,318 soldiers, over 30,000 Iraqi citizens; spent over half a trillion dollars (increasing by $200 million a day) and we sit here, isolated from the rest of the world. What does our President have to say about the war now?

"More fighting and sacrifice will be required," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "For some, the temptation to retreat and abandon our commitments is strong. Yet there is no peace, there's no honor and there's no security in retreat. So America will not abandon Iraq to the terrorists who want to attack us again."

Basically the Bush plan for Iraq is the same it has been since the invasion. Think of it as football. We see upsets time and time again. A team takes to the field with an over optimistic attitude because their opponents rated a large underdog. Of course that over optimistic team comes home with their heads held down low because they were just upset. I am not saying our outcome in Iraq will be the same because we can change the rules. We can redefine what we call a win. True in war, the only winner is war.

In January of 2003, Saddam Huessein vowed to give the Americans “a war like no other they have fought before”. Many people laughed at that comment. Well there are 2, 318 families not laughing now. In fact Saddam has given us exactly what he vowed. The insurgency is that war which Saddam vowed.

Last fall Donald Rumsfeld took to the Sunday morning talk shows to try and build support for the war. One question he was asked on Meet the Press was about the insurgency. Rumsfeld said he does not believe a “robust” insurgency was something they planned for. Of course it wasn’t. What they planned for were people greeting their liberators and throwing flowers and candy at them. It is not a lack of planning, but rather a lack of perspective.

Prior to the invasion, our President did not even know the difference between Sunni, Shiite and Kurds. He thought Iraq was nothing more than “Iraqis”. It is that sort of monochrome view that has helped contribute to this disastrous nightmare.

One of the benefits I have on IntoxiNation, is having a great partner in blogging who shares my same views. The only difference we have is the fact that I am in the United States and he is in the United Kingdom.

In the U.K. public support for the war has always been very low. Tony Blair is now facing some big political challenges and one way he is trying to gain public support is by fixing Iraq. This week the U.K. announced that they were withdrawing 800 troops from Iraq. The next day the U.S. announces they are sending over 700 more troops. Kind of hard to say we are making progress when we have to offset our allies’ withdrawal like that.

This move by Blair was also done the same week a new Downing Street Memo was published in the Guardian.

Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos.

John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth".

Of course we already knew this. There was a five year project headed up in the State Department, which started under Clinton, whose mission was to deal with a strategy when it comes to dealing with a post war Iraq. This project employed some of the brightest minds in our nation when it comes to Iraq and cost the taxpayers’ millions. What did George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld do with this plan? They threw it out. Instead they went into Iraq with no plan because they were that over optimistic team I talked about earlier. In war the greatest enemy is optimism.

In the past three years we have created a breeding ground for terrorists. We have also destabilized the most dangerous region in the world. We ignored the offers of help last year from other Middle Eastern countries and now Iraq is on the verge of civil war – a war which will most likely span across its borders and further destabilize the region as a whole.

Three years later and we got the President out giving his same talking points. The year may be different but the rhetoric is the same. Today you can turn on the television and see General Casey talk about the war. He is scheduled on three Sunday Morning talk shows while Dick Cheney is slotted on Face the Nation. While the citizens of this country mourn what we have lost, we got the cheerleaders out trying to muster support for a highly unpopular war. If they want to gain support then they should be locked in a room in Washington trying to figure out a plan to get us out of this nightmare.

Cross posted at IntoxiNation

(On another note: Great job Reddhedd on Washington Journal this morning)