It wa just a couple of years ago that we were still stinging from starting the never-ending Iraq war. We didn’t want to invade anybody. We didn’t want to bomb anybody. We wanted to get out. That attitude was so yesterday. According to a new CNN poll, we are ready to R-U-M-B-L-E with ISIS.
I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have any good answers for ISIS or Syria, or for Afghanistan for that matter. All of these places look like black holes in which we can throw both troops and money at the problem for years without resolution. Our money isn’t infinite. Our resources are limited.
If we are to believe the press, ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is a threat to the United States. They aren’t a threat some time in the future. They are a threat today. We’ve gotta do something. Now.
Glenn Greenwald points out the obvious. In 2003, six months after we invaded Iraq, a majority of Republicans, Democrats and Independents thought that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. The press and the White House have led us down this road before. Hopefully, we are older, smarter and wiser now. We can listen to Senator John McCain or we can sit back and think. How can we really neutralize or eliminate ISIS without throwing trillions of dollars into the Middle East money pit and killing thousands of innocents?
So what has been achieved 4 years after the fall of Saddam. The Iraq economy is still in the toilet. The electricity is still at pre-war levels. Sanitation is still a problem. Oil production is down. Security remains the big problem.
A large protest occurred today in the city of Najaf organized by Muqtada al-Sadr. The exact number of protesters is not clear. What is clear is that there are some in Iraq that aren’t happy that we are still there. No surprise to me but watch the Right try and spin this into something positive.
Crowds of chanting Iraqis, some clutching stones and sandals, swarmed Firdaus Square to deliver blows to the statue. Then, with the help of an American tank and a winch, it toppled, creating one of the defining images of the U.S.-led invasion. Over one photo of Jubouri, a headline reads: “The Fall of Baghdad.”
“It achieved nothing,” he said, after he had put away the magazines.
Four years after that moment, with violence besieging the country, Jubouri is concerned with neither benchmarks nor timelines, troop strengths nor withdrawal dates. What he cares most about is security and order, of which, he said, he has seen very little. He blames Iraq’s Shiite-led government and its security forces, and wishes for a return of the era led by the man whose statue he helped tear down.
“We got rid of a tyrant and tyranny. But we were surprised that after one thief had left, another 40 replaced him,” said Jubouri, who is a Shiite Muslim. “Now, we regret that Saddam Hussein is gone, no matter how much we hated him.” (more…)
This is one of these questions that doesn’t really have an answer. At least we can’t answer this question until we find out what the final cost will be. We have to get out of Iraq and Iraq will have to have some sort of stable government before we can completely answer this question. Of course, $350 Billion to get Saddam Hussein seems to be a little too much for my pocketbook but to be fair we really have to wait until we see what Iraq will be.