Play It Again Sam! (A Look Back on The War in Iraq, and how support was being lost: June 27, 2005)
An increasing percentage of the American people and U.S. congressional and military leaders are coming to the conclusion that the United States is losing the counterinsurgency war in Iraq. Car bombings and attacks by insurgents killed 80 U.S. troops in May. An additional 47 U.S. soldiers were killed during the first half of June. A total of 1,730 of our troops have died in Iraq thus far and at least 13,000 have been wounded, many very seriously, according to Pentagon figures with no end to the war or the carnage in sight. These casualty numbers resemble the U.S. military casualty count during the first four to five years of the Vietnam war between 1961 and early 1966. Thus far, the $300 billion that has been shelled out for the Iraq war alone is roughly equal to the amount of money expended on World War I or the Korean War. This despite the fact that we may be only a couple years into a decade long commitment which may well exceed what the U.S. spent on Vietnam during ten years of fighting within the next couple of years.
An increasing number of our retired generals and political leaders come to the conclusion that the U.S. is losing the war in Iraq due to a failure of both strategy and leadership and that merely “staying the course” will not only lead to a continuation of the war with no end in sight, but to ultimate defeat. Unfortunately, they are correct. Reacting to the deteriorating military situation in Iraq and increasing public discontent with this no-win war at home and Some of the top conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives have joined in bipartisan efforts to compel the President to proclaim a “strategy of success” and exit strategy to extricate U.S. military forces from the quagmire in Iraq. As congressional support for the war continues to deteriorate, some interventionist GOP congressman have privately stated that if the Iraq war vote came up today, knowing what they now know, they would vote against it.
One such conservative Congressman, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), has grown increasingly incensed at the administration officials who deceived him into voting to support the war on false pretenses and was moved to tears over having been partially responsible for a failed policy which has produced the deaths of over 1,730 brave United States servicemen. Jones is the congressman who two years ago was so angry at the French for their failure to support UN Security Council authorization for the U.S. to approve Iraq that he led a successful drive to rename French fries in the Congressional food court “freedom fries.” He has now joined conservative Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) in introducing legislation calling for President Bush to set up a plan to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq by October 2006. This legislation is also supported by Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN) and Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) and at least one other conservative GOP House member.
Explaining his decision to call for a US military withdrawal from Iraq, Jones said, “I just believe that we have done as much as we can do in Iraq. We’ve toppled Saddam Hussein, he says. We’ve put Iraq on the road to democracy. And we’ve trained its military. “What else should our goals be? After 1,700 deaths, over 12,000 wounded and $200 billion spent, we believe it is time to have this debate and discussion.” Jones said U.S. forces had removed Saddam Hussein, given Iraqis a chance to have democracy and were training their military. “After they’re trained, what else should the goals be? Do we want to be there for 20 years or 30 years?” he said. Jones worries that the U.S. military is overextended, that the country is in danger from terrorist infiltration across our insecure borders and believes that there are so many other countries to worry about including North Korea and Communist China.
Earlier this month, Florida Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican and former Bush cabinet member who strongly supported the Iraq war effort early on, said he was “discouraged” by the lack of progress and the inability of the Pentagon to draw down U.S. forces. Both Sen. Martinez and Sen. Lindsay Graham also were critical of Guantanamo Bay with Graham saying “if we don’t come up with a more effective policy “we’re going to lose this war.” A recent international poll indicated a massive loss in international support for the U.S. in Europe and the Middle East stemming from the unprovoked U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. According to the poll, the people in most Western European countries view the genocidal rogue state Communist China, which has murdered more people than any other regime in world history as significantly more popular than the United States.
Sen. Charles Hagel (R-NE) has criticized the administration for failing to foresee the problems in Iraq. Hagel, a staunch social and fiscal conservative who has expressed interest in running for President has emerged as the most outspoken member of the growing conservative opposition to the war in the United States Senate said, “Things aren’t getting better. They’re getting worse Responding to Vice President Dick Cheney’s remarks earlier this month that the Iraqi insurgency was “in its last throes,” Hagel remarked that “the White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we’re losing in Iraq.” echoing remarks made by retired General Anthony Zinni earlier in the war. Hagel added: “If things don’t start to turn around in six months, then it may be too late.”
In an hour long interview last week on NBC’s “Meet the Press, erstwhile GOP presidential frontrunner, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined Hagel in disagreeing with Cheney’s overly optimistic comments that the Iraq insurgency is in its “last throes” proclaiming, “too often we’ve been told, and the American people have been told, that we’re at a turning point. What the American people should have been told and should be told [is that] it’s long, it’s hard, it’s tough.” Richard Kohn, a University of North Carolina professor who studies presidential-leadership issues in wartime, says that while Mr. Bush won re-election in large part because of his image as commander in chief, “war was always a potential trap for him.” He adds: “You’ve got Republican grandees in the Senate who probably aren’t willing to put up with this much longer.” “We have reached a tipping point,” says Ronald Spector, a military historian at George Washington University. “Even some of those who thought it was a great idea to get rid of Saddam (Hussein) are saying, ‘I want our troops home.’ ” Spector says the pattern of public opinion on Iraq – strong support for the first two years that then erodes – is reminiscent of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, which is rather ominous since the U.S. lost both of those no-win wars. The now famous Downing Street memo, written by Sir Michael Dearlove, then head of MI6, the British foreign intelligence service, has convinced many former supporters of the war that the US invasion of Iraq was a mistake since it was conducted on false pretenses.
“Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”
David T Pyne currently serves as DUV-PAC Chairman, President of the Utah Republican Assembly, and as Vice President for the Association of the United States Army’s Utah Chapter. A former national security expert, he has served as President of the Center for the National Security Interest, worked as a defense contractor and International Programs Manager, as an International Analyst for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Department of the Navy, and as a Research Assistant for the Center for Security Policy.