Out Of Iraq - An Issue For 2004
By Mike McArdle
had to get Saddam or he was coming to gas your granny. And
it had to be now if not sooner because Saddam had tons of
the stuff, huge stockpiles of gas and bugs and drones that
he was going to drop them on the United States before poor
Granny even got a chance to duct tape her windows shut.
Donald Rumsfeld, whose job it is to keep Granny safe from
insane dictators with warehouses full of gas and bugs told
us that he even knew where all the stuff was. "We know where
they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and
east, west, south and north somewhat." said Rummy, invoking
all points of the compass to tell us that Iraq was awash in
all this deadly stuff and if we didn't get after Saddam it
would be heading for a schoolyard or an office building near
In fact Saddam was so intent on attacking the US that we
couldn't wait for inspectors to go about the business of finding
and destroying this stuff because even in the unlikely event
that Saddam didn't kill us with the bugs and the germs he
was just itching to hand the stuff over to his good buddies
in Al Qaeda so they could cook up a gassy buggy 9/11.
So in the face of overwhelming world opposition Bush and
Rummy and Condi and Colin sent their huge military force off
to the cradle of civilization to protect us from Saddam. The
evil, threatening dictator's flimsy excuse for an army crumbled
in about three weeks and he departed for parts unknown.
And then they searched for the weapons that he was going
to use on Granny. They searched Tikrit and Baghdad. They searched
east, west, south and north somewhat.
And they didn't find diddlysquat. No gas. No bugs. Nothing
Poor Granny. It turns out she was safe from Saddam after
all but she's probably in a lot more danger (physical and
economic) now than she ever was when he was running Baghdad.
The unspeakable stupidity and ideological arrogance of our
leadership has seen to that.
But it just may be that the gang of fools has finally made
its fatal political mistake.
Iraq today is a mess with little to no essential public
services. Weeks after the end of the war electricity in Baghdad
works only part of the day. Clean water is virtually nonexistent.
Garbage piles up in the streets as the temperature climbs
above 100. Hospitals are understaffed and most of the medicine
was looted during the war. The ethnic and religious divisions
that Hussein had suppressed by force are threatening to tear
what's left of the country apart. If there's anything at all
uniting the country it's a desire to see the Americans leave
and some are expressing that desire through guerilla activity.
There is no more political upside to the Iraq war- there
are no more bows to take. There won't be any more statues
coming down or staged photo-ops on flight decks, no more playing
cards with pictures of the bad guys. There will just be a
steady trickle of American bodies coming home and a rather
unsightly stream of American money flowing into a country
that most Americans couldn't find on a map. Our soldiers could
be soon be dealing with the kind of intifada that the Israelis
have been beating back for the past decade - only this one
is far from home and bears little relevance to the security
of people in America. At the same time the presence of an
American force in an Islamic country has proven to be an excellent
recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and that does relate to
the security of Americans.
If the Democrats have any political sense at all they will
make getting out of the Iraq quagmire one of their major issues
next year. They should propose a timetable (in weeks) for
UN forces to assume the duties of US soldiers and supervise
a free and fair election in conjunction with a US offer to
abide by the results and withdraw its troops.
With a weak economy American voters figure to be in no mood
to continue to spend any more money to occupy a country that
blood and treasure have already been expended on. Let the
Bush administration try to justify spending more money to
defend America from a threat that never existed to start with.
Get out of Iraq. If the Democrats can actually find the
courage to challenge the Bush administration on a foreign
policy matter this could be one of their best issues in 2004.
It's for the good of the soldiers who are stranded in that
tortured country; it's for the good of those who need basic
human services that are threatened by the huge deficits that
the continued presence in Iraq is exacerbating (there's Granny
And it's the right thing to do.