Apolitical Deconstruction

The title of this blog refers to my journey of self-transformation from someone loathe to publicly express his personal opinions on political matters to...well, keep reading and see!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

An Important Anniversary

On Tuesday March 20th, my friend Baghdad Treasure published a post to mark the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He wrote to a group of Iraqi and American bloggers and requested that they answer a few questions about their thoughts prior to the war and now four years later. I was honored that he asked me to participate! Below are his questions and my answers. I encourage my readers to visit Baghdad Treasure's post (using the link above) to read some of the other respondents answers to the same questions. I read them all, and I found some of the answers to be very educational, perhaps you would, as well. Thanks for your interest!

1.) What was your opinion when the US decided to invade Iraq in 2003?

I had mixed feelings. I felt certain that Saddam and his sons were profoundly evil people. I knew that Saddam had killed tens of thousands of Iraqis, gassed to death thousands of Kurds, and brutally suppressed the Shia in southern Iraq after the first gulf war uprising. After the U.N. presentation on Iraqi WMD by Colin Powell, I thought that Iraq may well have chemical and biological weapons (we all know better now!). However, I did not think that Saddam would be stupid enough to use them against Americans. I listened to the U.N. inspectors who were saying that they were making progress in Iraq and needed more time. I thought why not give them more time? Iraq did not seem an eminent and dire threat to any other country. Also, I was wondering about Afghanistan. Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Omar were still on the loose. I thought, shouldn't we finish our business with the people who really attacked us?

After the bombs of "shock and awe" began to fall on Baghdad, all I could think was that I hoped there were no civilians sitting under those huge explosions, but I knew that there must be some. I hoped that the military campaign would be short and that the death toll would be small. When the war began, I really didn't have much understanding of the social dynamics within Iraq (neither did Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld!). There was no inkling in my mind of the possibility of sectarian violence or civil war. I never imagined, that Iraq could become a worse place to live with Saddam gone!

2.) It has been four years since the invasion. Has your opinion changed since then? Why?

After four years, I certainly have a much different perspective. The lies and manipulations of the Bush administration, that enabled their rush to war in Iraq, are now public knowledge. More significantly, though, in the past three years I have become friends with a number of Iraqi bloggers who have really opened my eyes to the true costs of this war for the Iraqi people.

3.) Whom do you blame for the insecurity in Iraq? Why?

Ultimately, Bush is responsible, but I have always perceived him as little more than a puppet. Cheney has been more or less the power behind the throne from the start of the Bush Presidency, so a lot of the blame must rest squarely on his shoulders. The absolute incompetence of Rumsfeld, who thought he could have a war on the cheap, under-manned and under-funded, is blatantly obvious now. The abject failure of the administration to produce any sort of plan to keep the peace after their "Mission Accomplished" celebration, led first to the looting of Baghdad, next to the rise of the insurgency, and finally to the horrific sectarian violence prevalent today. The biggest single mistake was probably the disbanding of the Iraqi police and military forces. No doubt some were hard core Saddamists, but I think that most of them were just trying to support their families. I certainly don't think that all the violence and death of the past four years could have been prevented, but I do think it could have been dramatically reduced with better planning and competent leadership.

4.) What do you think should be done to quell the violence there?

I strongly believe that any potential solution to the violence must come through dialog among the Iraqi people themselves. I also think that Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia should be involved in the discussions. These countries all have interests in Iraq and will suffer if the violence there escalates. I don't think that the current surge of American troops within Iraq will have any lasting beneficial effect. These troops will probably reduce the violence in the short term, but they are like putting a heavier lid on a boiling pot (to paraphrase some recent remarks by Colin Powell). The pot is still boiling, and when the lid is lifted, it may well boil over.

5.) Do you think the US should withdraw its forces from Iraq now or not? Why?

I think the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces would be a very bad idea. There are millions of vulnerable civilians whose lives could be placed in jeopardy, were that to happen. However, I do not have any objection to a planned and publicized timetable for the reduction of U.S. forces, or to a deadline for the withdrawal of all forces. I think that setting a schedule with hard deadlines, combined with intensive political dialog and diplomacy between all Iraqi parties and neighboring countries, would be conducive to crystallizing the thoughts of the major players and forcing them to make the hard compromises needed to reduce the violence and rebuild a civil society.

6.) Do you think the war was worth it? Why?

No, absolutely not! The war has cost the lives of at least half a million Iraqi people. How many more have been severely injured or maimed for life? How many people have been psychologically scarred by the loss of loved ones, by the loss of their homes, by the loss of their sense of security, or by the loss of their livelihoods? What about the women of Iraq? They are now losing many of the freedoms they have known for decades. More than 3000 American soldiers are dead, and at least 20,000 more have been seriously injured or disabled. America has lost much of the worldwide respect that it enjoyed prior to the war. The so called "war on terrorism" has created many times more new terrorists than have been killed. America has wasted more than 300 billion dollars on this misadventure which it did not have to spend. Bush cut the taxes of all Americans, but especially those of the super rich. The money to fund his war was borrowed mostly from China and Saudi Arabia, who are the biggest buyers of U.S. Treasury Bills. Now, that just doesn't seem like a very sound fiscal or strategic policy to me!


Blogger Enfant Terrible said...

Hello there, old friend! Hopefully by now, I don't have to excuse myself for any of my remissness, as it's an old habit, and I'm an old girl ;)

Just wanted to say quickly how much I agree with you on "The biggest single mistake was probably the disbanding of the Iraqi police and military forces." Absolutely.

I also wanted to say that this kind ubelievble short-sightedness (i.e., letting loose thousands of angry armed men) was never a surprise to those of us who, with just a little common sense, took a look at the larger picture way back when, and wondered about the consequences of the whole idea of establishing democracy in a nation that has a majority of Shiites -- next door to a regime that is ruled by fundamentalist Shiites (i.e., Iran).

I'm not saying democracy is a bad things. I'm just sayin'....

4/08/2007 5:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hello Terrible Enfant! :) At first, I couldn't think of anyone by that name in my friend's list, so I checked your profile. AhHa! Nice to hear from you friend (there is no age discrimination at my blog!). ;)

Indeed the short-sightedness was unbelievable! BushCo may have had a fantasy about establishing democracy (or did they just care about controlling the oil?), but the missfruiting of their labors is quite evident for all to see!

I think that the theory and ideal of democracy is a good thing, but it is very difficult to achieve. I'm not a big fan of American style democracy. This country is not ruled by and for the people. It is ruled by and for the top 2% who control half of all the wealth. Sure, we get to vote, but sometimes having a choice really doesn't make much of a difference. Most of the politicians are on the gravy train of special interest funding (read rich people getting what they want, i.e., richer!). I agree with a lot that Ralph Nader has to say about the poisonous ties between corporations and government in America. However, he should never have run for President. He refuses to admit that he cost Gore the election in 2000, or that things would have been a lot better if Gore had won. Thus, I have lost quite a bit of respect for Nader as a person. I don't know if Gore would have been a really good President, but I am certain that he would have been much much better than Bush, and he would not have made the unbelieveably stupid mistake of invading Iraq!

I suppose that my favorite governmental systems are some of the current European models, especially those in Scandinavian countries. Their sort of democratic socialism seems to allow a great deal of freedom, while offering many important social services to all the people.

Well, you really got me to thinking and straying off on tangents! :)

4/10/2007 2:22 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

Hi David! :) Well, tangents are good, for the most part... otherwise, how would we ever navigate in space?

Ah, the Nader dilemma. I guess I'm glad you bring him up; I'd forgotten about that old festering wound ;P
But you know, David, it's a sad day when you have to come down on perfectly good candidates for running, because you have this ridiculous electoral system that doesn't really respect the true voice of the people. I think that's what the real problem is, and I couldn't believe that after the 2000 fiasco, people didn't take to the streets, demanding that THEIR choice be respected.

I also like the Scandinavian democracies. The only problem is, Scandinavians don't live in North America. wah, wah, wah. Would you rather have what we've got here, or a lot more sanity and no humour. Humour is very important. Gotta laugh -- especially when you happen to live in southern swamps of North America.

4/14/2007 1:03 PM  
Blogger David said...

Hi Tamara, I just read your comment. I don't check here that often, I should really enable email notification!

Your point about the electoral college is an excellent one. I had nearly forgotten that Gore actually got at least 500,000 more votes than Bush! Its a really stupid system that should be scrapped in favor of a direct nationwide election.

So, what southern swamp do you live in? ;) Actually, I spent years living about 20 miles from the biggest cypress swamp in Alabama! Sadly, most of the ancient cypress trees got logged years ago. The cypress growing there now are very attractive trees, but tiny compared to what once was there! I like big trees. :)

4/21/2007 3:16 AM  
Anonymous Ali Sanaei said...

nice blog.
well done, keep it on ...

5/21/2007 5:01 PM  
Blogger La Nouvelle Vague said...

Hi there.
Nice worthy of respect comments and fluent writing style, but you should have disccussed more about the verities of opinions...
keep going on please.

8/06/2007 10:09 AM  
Blogger David said...

Hello La Nouvelle Vague, thanks for visiting. If you would like to read more opinions on this subject, please visit my friend Baghdad Treasure's post. Just click on the link to his post in the first sentence of this post.

8/06/2007 2:00 PM  

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