I have felt that Saddam Hussein needed to be removed from power back in Gulf War I. My views have not changed since then. In fact, they have only gotten stronger. Throughout the last 12 years or so, I have seen and heard dozens upon dozens of reports about what the Iraqi government has done or are trying to do. From attempted WMD purchases around the globe, to genocide, to terrorist funding, to “No-Fly-Zone” violations I’ve been waiting and hoping. This war has been inevitable.
Before I get into the whys and wherefores let me just say this: we made this man. America was the nation that gave Iraq the evil dictator that we eventually had to remove. Saddam Hussein was put in power by the leverage of the Unites States. We were the ones that supplied this madman with chemical weapons and we were the ones that directed him at Iran.
You see, Iran was in the midst or kicking of kicking America’s westernization policy out of their country and replacing it with a non-secular, mullah based society. Well, the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini succeeded in overthrowing the western style government in the form of one more traditional and it scared the hell out of us. We also took note that Iraq was a fairly unstable nation and believed we could install a ruler and persuade that ruler to defeat the Mullahs of Iran. Since it was just another Arab country gassing another one what would the harm be right?
Well, unfortunately that gave rise to one of the most oppressive dictators in the world. Once the fight with Iran was over he turned to his own people for an outlet. He was even willing to kill his own relatives to get his point across. Gassing a few thousand Kurds or slaughtering countless others was nothing for this man. He felt that anyone beneath him, including other countries, was his to do with as he wished.
Now we enter Kuwait into the picture. The U.N., after much deliberation and internal fighting, finally grants the U.S. and whoever else wanted to help (not very much if memory serves me correctly. It was about the same as we have in THIS Gulf war.) We convince the Shiite peoples in the south to rise up against Saddam and we would support them. They rose up; we decimated the Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and headed west and north towards Baghdad. It was at this time that Stormin’ Norman and Colin Powell were reigned in by the first President Bush by directive of the U.N.
A peace accord was signed with several restrictions, similar to that which started Hitler’s rise and eventually WWII, and UNSCOM was sent upon their 12 year
I believe this is where much of the false information comes from. It was widely understood that if you fail Saddam you failed Iraq and would be subsequently executed. If you succeeded in your missions for Saddam you would be rewarded with jewels and palaces. I can’t say officially what was heard over the wires coming out of Iraq, but I could presume that all of Saddam’s plans would come up roses over the wire. Of course, what would a cryptologist know of such things?
So, along comes 9/11 and change the way we look at the world. No longer do we view the world as a “kind and gentle” place. We start looking in every corner of the world for terrorists. Sure, we knew where a few of them are but they had been fairly passive against us until now. We start a manhunt for Usama (now Osama? What gives?) Bin Awa Bin Mohamed Bin Laden (I think I got his full name right?) and end up destroying the terrorist-supporting regime of the Tallitubbies in the process…oops, sorry, Taliban.
SIDE NOTE: Usama runs for the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan where he is already revered as a folk hero. There is no internal support structure for his capture and anyone that could lead us to his capture would have no use for the money we would give them if they and their families, and their family’s families were dead. Compare him to Europe’s super-terrorist, Carlos The Jakal. It took Europe about 20 years to catch him and he was moving from hotel to hotel throughout eastern and Western Europe. Catching Usama will be no less tricky than catching Carlos.
This next step is one that I had been waiting 12 long years to see enacted. We had been studying, waiting and watching Iraq for 12 long years. We were confident of what the capabilities of Iraq, if not that day then someday soon, would be. He had a long history of being a pain in the side of the world. I know that there was at least 23 items on our reasons for war. WMD was only one of them. Unfortunately, when the president thinks that WMD is the winner that will take this baby home in the U.N. that is all that will be heard. I was literally standing on the coffee table in my living room screaming at the television when Bush wouldn’t shut up about WMD’s and highlight one of the many other reasons to invade Iraq. (Something of a side note: One of the reasons GWB invaded could likely have been to finish what his father started. I know it’s usually not like me to be Freudian, but this sort of just slaps me in the face as blatantly obvious.)
The war effort ramps up. Massive truckloads of “stuff” gets moved to Syria and elsewhere and a ranking official in the State Department gets reprimanded for stating that Russia was supplying the moving company. Remember that Rumsfeld did not explicitly deny that. He skirted around it deftly by saying that the individual was out of line for what he said. In the midst of this Saddam releases all of the prisoners throughout the country and we march through Baghdad. It was even before we marched through the word quagmire was being thrown around like it had shown up on everyone’s “word of the day” calendar. Truth be told, no one expected us to roll into Baghdad so quickly.
So now we’re in Iraq and trying to build back the country when lo’ and behold the jackass we put in charge dismisses the entire army. Bremer should be drug out into the street and shot, brought back to life, get a glow stick shoved up his backside and shot again. In my honest opinion, if Bremer hadn’t have made this move, much of our forces would be out of Iraq today. All he did was supply the insurgency with an army of unpaid and idle hands. I truly feel that most of this terrorism rests on his shoulders. I believe that was the biggest mistake in the whole evolution.
Some people are concerned with a timeline of this entire evolution. I simply go back to the timeline given in early 2003. “We will start pulling troops out of Iraq in about two years time.” Well, it’s about two years time now and we’re training the hell out of Iraqis. They’re showing up in droves to the training stations. The amount of citizen reports of terrorists has increased ten fold (from 10 to 100 a day roughly) and they have a new sense of ownership of their future. The election was the best thing that could have happened to Iraq. I believe we will start to pull some of our troops out of Iraq sometime this year. I would guess 10 to 30% by Christmas.
Other people claim that Abu Ghraib is an example of the new U.S. foreign policy towards anyone that doesn’t fight in a uniform, therefore technically not covered under Geneva Conventions. I disagree. I’ve seen the report from the new Attorney General. It was a legal opinion and not a directive. It was not even his legal opinion but a colleague’s that he was forwarding up with his rubber stamp of approval. I highly doubt that violent torture was part of the “redneck agenda”. I don’t think Bush, Rumsfeld or any other politician was trying to outright torture people.
This being said torture has taken place. It hasn’t happened in just Abu Ghraib. It has happened in other places in Iraq as well. I believe that two factors have played a part in this:
1. The first factor is fairly straightforward. When you leave untrained guards alone in the middle of the night with a senior guard that has a history of violence and maltreatment of American prisoners you are creating a recipe for disaster. The juniors will gladly follow the role that their wise leader of the night crew has set out for them. This only covers Abu Ghraib though.
2. Special Forces teams are trained in all manners of combat and special tactics. One of those is the use of torture. GASP! Really? Torture? Yes, of course. They are trained in the use of several forms of torture so they are more aware of what to expect when they are captured. Very few nations in the world treat their prisoners as well as we do. They expect the worst so they train for the worst. The side effect of this training happens to be a vast knowledge of how to torture people.
Now here’s a real shocker for you folks, not all of the guys on these teams are really that psychologically stable. What do you think happens when you train an unstable killing machine how to torture people and put him in a unit that occasionally has access to prisoners? I believe it was the Special Forces teams that trained the guards in the arts of torturing people. I believe it was of the cognizance of the Special Forces personnel and did not come from orders on high. It’s part of what is capable of happening in a small, highly trained, weakly supervised style of military force.
I hope this covers everything that John was asking for. I’m typing this in Word and will complete this opinion in just around 10,200 words and 20 paragraphs. Or at least that’s what Word tells me. I’m sure that your beliefs and understandings differ from mine in at least some degree. That’s completely okay. We’ve all got different ideas about things. I respect yours as your opinion so please respect mine. John, If you really want me to stuff this into your comments I’ll do so, but it would add at least 12 posts. Unless you really want it there, I’ll track it back.