I’m still confused

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Last Fall I wrote an article about some confusion I seem to have about Iraq; and now looking back, I seem to still be confused. I mean, I sure like just about everything our President has told us about this war…or occupation…or whatever, in Iraq. He’s had a lot to say over more than 5 years now (boy how time flies when you’re…well, you know). And now Gen. Petraeus has returned to tell us again how wonderful things are working out in that country, but kind of “fragile”. I must admit, sometimes I do get a little confused with this kind of talk.

Let’s see now, right at the beginning, Mr. Bush told us we had to attack Iraq because of those terrible weapons of mass destruction. Whew, that was close. I mean who would like a bomb dropping on one’s head. It was a great idea to get in there, and destroy those things before they got us. But then, when we got there, they were gone! I must admit, that did confuse me. No problem. Since there were none, we could just come home and feel safe. Right? I fact, my President even went on a big ship, and proclaimed “Mission Accomplished”! Yes!

But then, Mr. Bush told us, “No, we did not really go there to get those weapons that did not exist. We went there to remove a terrible dictator”. Well, who could object to that? I mean Saddam was a tyrant who killed lots of people – mostly his own. Thank goodness we had a President who could save that poor country. And, you know, we did get him, hiding in hole, and sent him to the gallows. Well, that was the end of that. Now we could come home. Right? But “no, some really bad guys called Al Quida were becoming an imminent threat” and we had to kill them right away. I liked that, because they bombed the World Trade Center, and I thought our President might even go after that bin Laden guy who was their leader.

However, I still remained confused, because, now there were no weapons of mass destruction, and we had gotten rid of that bad dictator, so I sort of thought we were done. But now we were told that “if they did not kill all the Al Quida right there, and right now, in the streets of Baghdad, they would follow us home”! Wow, who would want that? Again, we were lucky to have Mr. Bush at the helm, because I am sure any Al Quida living in Minnetonka Minnesota would ruin the neighborhood. But I was a also a little confused, because when we went to Iraq, there were no Al Quida there when we arrived. Where they came from? How did they get there? Why did they come? No matter, at least they would not be running around the streets of my town now. And anyway, now Mr. Bush said that bin Laden guy was irrelevant. Hmmm? Very confusing. I guess he knows best.

Well, we did kill lots of them (they seem to keep coming), but until they are all dead, Mr. Bush said we had to continue to achieve a “victory”. I liked the sound of that. I mean, who likes “defeat”? Senator McCain has said the same thing…so maybe after Mr. Bush leaves office, he can continue to kill them. But again, I was a little confused, because I was not sure what “victory” meant. I asked a lot of my smarter conservative friends, but they had trouble defining it too. And they told me since we had spilled so much blood already, we could not “waste” those lives lost, so we had to keep losing more blood to make it worthwhile. That kind of confused me as well, but I am sure they know more about that than me, although I too, am a veteran, with 3 years of active service as an Air Force officer, and several more in the Reserve.

In that regard, Mr. Bush told us “we must leave the strategy for this war (occupation, whatever) to the professional soldiers, not arm-chair generals”. I liked that too. Again, my President rose to the top. But also again, I got confused. Because shortly thereafter, he fired Mr. Rumsfeld, who apparently was interfering with the generals running of the war. He fired a lot of generals, too. Especially the ones who did not think we should be there. Oh well, I am sure my President knows what he is doing. In fact, he has Gen. Petraeus over there, whom he likes a lot, because he gives “good” reports. And, Mr. Bush said, with good progress, the troops could start coming home; but Petraeus says the progress is “fragile”. So, if things are “good” we have to stay; and if they are “bad” we cannot leave; and if the progress is “fragile”? Well, you get the idea. Boy, that is really confusing.

Well, the “victory” plan did not seem to be working too well, so my President told us we needed more troops, and more time. That seemed to make sense, and he called it a “surge”. I like the sound of that! A “surge” – has all the implications of wiping away all the bad guys, which I imagine is a good thing. I was confused however, by this time, as to who the “bad guys” are. Well, I know about Al Quida, but apparently there are the Sunnis who are fighting us and the Shite; and the Shite who are fighting us and now other Shites as well the Sunnis. And some rebel groups fighting everyone else. And then there are Kurds and….well, I am a little confused. It seems to be something called sectarian violence, which will be solved shortly by the terrific new government Iraq will be getting.
It should be soon, they have been working on it for 5 years now. Thank goodness we have a President, and a candidate like Sen. McCain who understands about all this, and knows who we will have to keep killing (maybe even for 100 years, the Senator said).

Of course, my President is must be very bright, because he told us there were some very clear benchmarks that would signify “victory”. Benchmarks – what could be more specific? Not sure what happened to those? I think Mr. Bush recently said they actually were not too important now, which again is a bit confusing – but I am sure he knows best.

However, now it seems the “surge” might not be going too well either, even though it has a good sound to it; so now my President has a new strategy. Now it is proclaimed, we can leave when there is “success”. Well, who would not want “success”. I like that! Problem is, now I am not even sure what that means. But then again, it seems I am easily confused. Or, maybe I am just plain stupid.

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