Four Years of War in Iraq

Four years ago yesterday, Bush gave this speech:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/03/20030319-17.html

The invasion officially kicked off the next day.

Just thought we should reflect on that.

FOUR MORE YEARS!!! FOUR MORE YEARS!!!

In all seriousness though, the town I live in has been having peace protests now that we’ve hit the four year anniversary (actually, they may have them every anniversary) and the bulk of their message is to bring the troops home now.

While I agree completely with the sentiment, are we even remotely close to handing off Iraq? I hear people mention timetables and the Democrats speak of 2008, but is that feasible? The Republicans mention 2009… I don’t know.

I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the start (pro-Afghanistan though), but is there a point coming where we just will leave regardless of Iraq’s preparedness?

There was a commentator on the News Hour the other night - I forgot his name - who stated: if you decide to set a deadline for withdrawal, you might as well make it tomorrow, not months or years in the future. His point was that, so long as the duration of our commitment in Iraq is indefinite, that becomes a bargaining chip on the table; but as soon as you make a firm date for total withdrawal, then the insurgents et al know they simply have to wait until we leave - in which case, why bother risking the lives of U.S. troops any longer?

I think he ignored or downplayed the issue of future Iraqi readiness, as well as the fact that a deadline can also be a bargaining chip or concession. [“Guys, we’re leaving, OK? You can stop shooting us and start planning what to do with your country.”] Plus, one presumes the people in Iraq watch CNN, like the rest of us: they know U.S. public support for the Iraq war has waned; and they know that even if Bush chooses to “stay the course” for the next two years, his successor - Democrat or Republican - is unlikely to continue his policies. So again, it becomes a waiting game: to see if their will outlasts ours. I’m sure there are people hoping this is another Vietnam for us: that eventually we’ll get fed up and go home.

Politics aside, if you saw a recent ABC report by Bob Woodruff (the former ABC anchor almost killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq who’s back and reporting, but still recuperating from brain trauma) on some great vehicles a company is churning out that are specially designed and armored to withstand IEDs, land mines, RPGs and just about anything, you’ll wonder why these vehicles didn’t get into all our troops’ hands (right now they are only in limited use by a few select US Marine units but more are on the way).

Here’s a link to the ABC news video report:

Their engineers created a specially V-shaped hull that forces out the explosive impact away from the vehicle. Beyond that the armor and thick glass are specifically designed to survive the kinds of attacks common in Iraq. The few marines who’ve gotten to use the vehicle swear by it and have gotten through IEDs and other incidents without injury. Many of the factory workers working on it used to work on nuclear submarines and other Cold War weaponry.

I’m just sick that so many of our men and women have been roaming around in vehicles not designed to withstand these kinds of explosives for years now – they’re sitting ducks, and it’s never been fair to them to put them in these situations when we had the technology to do better. Slapping armor attachments onto Humvees just ain’t going to cut it there.

The hopeful note in the video report is they are getting other contractors to manufacture more of these vehicles and to rush into production similar designs for transports and other noncombat, but needed vehicles used in convoys. It’s obviously years too late for the thousands killed or wounded by these types of attacks already. And introducing them now also means re-training maintenance crews on how to repair and maintain them, drivers how to use them, etc.

It reminds me too much of the Sherman tanks that were basically under-armored death traps in the European theater of WWII, winning through sheer numbers despite horrific losses in tanks and tank crews. They had better (Pershing tanks) but from what you can read about it, bureaucracy and the emphasis on producing “more” tanks instead of “safer, stronger” ones won out.

Unless we can define what winning in Iraq means, then based on that list out the steps necessary to win, then execute those steps, there’s really no point in being there.

To me it just seems like soldiers are just out there waiting around to get shot. Sure, there’s things they can do… but at what cost? Isn’t it just prolonging the inevitable collapse, not fixing it?

Look… if Bush is wrong, then that means Jesus is wrong, and therefore God is wrong. If God is fallible, then the christain reality is going to come crashing down.

Therefor, Jesus / God was not wrong in choosing Buch to be our president, and because they were not wrong, Bush can’t be wrong. Of course, they could always use the old cop out, “God works in mysterious ways.”

I agree Mordrak. It is the same with “Global War on Terror”. The concept is as stupid as “War on Drugs”.

We need clear cut goals. Fuck patience at this point.

This seemed to be the best place to post this link:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/bush_refuses_to_set_timetable_for

Bush is waiting for his term to end. He wants to hand off this problem to the next President. If we pull out our troops during his Presidency, his legacy is going to be one of failure.