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Get Out Of Iraq - An Issue For 2004
June 14, 2003
By Mike McArdle

We 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 you.

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 nookyular.

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 again).

And it's the right thing to do.

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