Today in the New York Times there is a scary op-ed piece about the current war in Iraq by actual combat soldiers. And I am listening to the Bill Moyers Journal's Buying the War. I believe strongly that our country is in the middle of an immoral occupation of another country. It is clear to me that the war is being run by immoral and incompetent leaders. It also seems to me that there is a pervasive amnesia, forgetting (or never knowing) that many leading this war befriended Sadaam Hussein because of his brutality and that our leaders knew that Iraq was weak with a demoralized military and people. And therefore, like all bullies, assumed that the war would be a cakewalk.
There is an amnesia or ignorance about the condition of the country we attacked. Iraq was a country under siege by the United States prior to the war. The Iraqi military was in poor shape after the Iran-Iraq war (despite our help), the first Gulf War (because of our attacks), and the decade long U.N. sanctions regime. Leaving aside the issues for each of them, the country that emerged was very weak militarily, surrounded by Iran and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (defended by the U.S.) On the other hand, Iraq was and is still sitting on huge oil reserves.
The Bush administration pushed for war with Iraq using various arguments. Only the "weapons of mass destruction" argument succeeded in the press and polls. And the Bush administration promised a quick and overwhelming attack on Iraq, shock and awe. I do not remember anyone mentioning that the weakness of Iraq. Fortunately, the U.S. troops did not come under the attack of any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. I wonder if the U.S. military were aware that there was not any available to be used against them. Of course, there were preparations and worries, but was there more than that or did the military keep the better evidence for their planning.
According to the op-ed piece today and recent reports of missing weapons from the U.S., it seems likely that armed Iraqis shooting and bombing U.S. soldiers are being supplied mainly by the U.S. I am not aware of any reporting confirming this, but surely with no major outside weapons supplier shipping weapons in (or a very poor border control by our military in Iraq) this is a war with both side getting their weapons by munitions makers selling to the U.S. At the end of the day there are under 200,000 foreign soldiers mainly from the United States up against a population of 20 million, a lopsided effort where the use of weapons loses to the political reality.
As to leaving Iraq and chancing a bloodbath... where were we during the war of attrition between Iraq and Iran, and during the cruel murders by the Iraqi regime against its own population then and after the first Gulf War, etc. Surely, this last lame argument to stay is a grim effort to claim some moral standing in the face of an immoral and disturbing invasion and occupation.