What is the real truth about the Iraq War? Did our politicians lie us into war? What are the tragedies and lessons of the Iraq War? Do the Iraqis have a real chance at freedom?
In this article I will address these questions and share information with you that more than likely you have never heard before. Once you finish reading this article, it may completely change the way you look at things.
As a life coach, I look at body language, physiology, the tone of people’s voice, what they say and most importantly, what they actually do to determine what a person’s model of the world is. Once I know that, I can then understand them and where they are coming from so I may help them. As I stated in my article, how to win friends and influence people, I share that as a leader, a president or other person that is the decision maker, needs to try to walk in the other person’s shoes if they want to understand them. To try to look through the other guy’s eyes and see the world as they see it. Robert S. McNamara, who was the secretary of defense under Pres. John F. Kennedy and later Lyndon B. Johnson after Kennedy’s assassination, referred to this in the 2003 documentary, “The Fog Of War” as learning to empathize with your enemy. Because if you don’t empathize with your enemy, you will have no chance of understanding him.
I believe former President Bush was a very superstitious, religious and fearful man who saw what he wanted to see in the weak intelligence and evidence he and his national security team were presented with detailing Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Our troops found plenty of weapons of mass destruction throughout Iraq, however, it was only in small amounts scattered across country. There were no giant stockpiles as the intelligence had claimed. Plus, the Iraqi spy who was giving the CIA information on Saddam’s mobile biological weapons laboratories was lying his ass off. Why? He hated Saddam! He knew Iraq didn’t have the weapons anymore in the huge quantities they did in the early 1990s, but he wanted Saddam gone. He has been on TV in the past year discussing why he’d lied about the intelligence to the Americans. He is unapologetic for it and stands by what he did.
President Bush made no effort to meet Saddam face-to-face like a man and look him in the eye and size him up. If you saw the documentary, “The Fog Of War” then you know that in the 1990s, former secretary of defense Robert S. McNamara, stated after several weeks of meetings with his former North Vietnamese wartime counterparts, that he realized if we’d simply talked to the North Vietnamese in the late 1940s and early 1950s, North and South Vietnam would have been reunited as a democratic republic peacefully and without a shot ever being fired! Instead of talking to the North Vietnamese, we gave the French money and weapons after world war two was over so the French could go and reconquer the former colonies they lost in Southeast Asia when the Nazi’s conquered France. This drove the North Vietnamese into the arms of the communists and set the conditions that led to the loss of over 58,000 Americans, over 2 million Cambodians and about 3 million Vietnamese in the war during the 1960s and 1970s. Surely over 5 million lives were worth a few American presidents taking some time out of their busy golf schedules, to sit down and break bread with all of the key leaders of Southeast Asia and try to find a way to be friends before we sent so many of our young men and women to die in a totally unnecessary and destructive war!
Saddam Hussein believed that the CIA surely was smart enough and good enough to know that Iraq had destroyed almost all of their weapons of mass destruction in the 1990s, but were acting as if they may still have them to deter Iran from attacking a severely weakened Iraqi military. Saddam also wanted to deter his own countrymen from rising up against him.
The last few months before the Iraq War began, Saddam and his inner circle became convinced the Americans knew he did not have stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, but simply were coming to invade and take over Iraq for its oil. A few days before the invasion began, Saddam pardoned and released everyone who was in prison and all of the jails and prisons throughout Iraq, except those who were accused of being spies for the United States and Israel. All of the rapists, child molesters, murderers, thieves, thugs, etc. were released into Iraqi society to cause chaos for the Americans and help later sustain an insurgency, that he hoped would one day cause the Americans to give up and leave, and he could reclaim power once again.
Thousands of people who constituted the worst of Iraqi society later joined Al Qaeda. This was one of the reasons why Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for such diabolically evil acts against the Iraqi people, who after getting in bed with them in the Sunni triangle, later sided with the Americans and their allies and helped to turn the Iraq war around… together.
A few weeks after most of the fighting had stopped after the initial invasion, the bad and corrupt members of the Iraqi regime were being killed off and assassinated by an irate Iraqi society that sought justice and revenge for the decades of oppression, torture and murder of hundreds of thousands. General Tommy Franks who led the invasion for the allies, had told his troops that they would be out of there in six months. However, Paul Bremmer, who Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hired to handle the transition, abruptly fired all of the Iraqi police, army and security forces and further went on to ban anyone who was a former Baathist from serving in the new Iraq without consulting anyone. In the next two days after he fired everyone, the first of thousands of roadside bombs were set and exploded. That one decision created 400,000 insurgents overnight. The thing Bremmer did not understand about the Baathists was that you could not get a job working for the government, even as a teacher unless you joined the Baath party. All the bad actors were getting whacked by Iraqi patriots after the fall of Saddam.
Things spiraled out of control. Thousands of American, Coalition, Iraqi troops and civilians lost their lives unnecessarily by a hasty decision from a leader who did not take the time to emphasize with and understand Iraqi society. So tragic!
In 2006 and early 2007 when the insurgency in Iraq was at its height, it took a counterinsurgency approach implemented and led by Gen. David Petraeus and his team of the world’s best experts on counterinsurgency to turn things around. One of Gen. Petraeus’s closest advisers was Dr. Dave Kilcullen. Here is what Dr. Kilcullen stated about the Iraq war:
“In my view, the decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was an extremely serious strategic error. But the task of the moment is not to cry over spilt milk, rather to help clean it up: a task in which the surge, the comprehensive counterinsurgency approach, and our troops on the ground are admirably succeeding.
Anyone who knows me has been well aware of my position on Iraq for years. When I went to Iraq in 2007 (and on both previous occasions) it was to end the war, by suppressing the violence and defeating the insurgency. (Note: I said END the war, not abandon it half-way through, leaving the Iraqis to be slaughtered. When we invaded Iraq, we took on a moral and legal responsibility for its people’s well-being. Regardless of anyone’s position on the decision to invade, those obligations still stand and cannot be wished away merely because they have proven inconvenient).”
Dr. Kilcullen was spot on. If you break it, you buy it. In both Iraq and Afghanistan our troops and coalition partners broke bread with tribal elders looking them in the eye and promising not to leave, but to stay and protect them and their families so they can become strong enough and stable enough on their own to take over. If we were to just up and leave, tens of thousands of them would have been left to be slaughtered by Al Qaeda, the Taliban (Afghanistan) and other insurgents who promised to murder them if they dared talk to or side with the Americans.
I remember an American commander stating to a bunch of tribal elders, “I stand here with a heavy heart today and with tears in my eyes. I want to be your brother, but if you will not make peace with me and be my brother, I will kill you.” Col. Allen West said our strategy towards insurgents was to “find him, fix him, engage him or destroy him.” Once the people felt our troops and coalition partners would stay and protect them no matter what, they felt safe enough to come forward and tell them where the bad guys were. Our troops and their Iraqi counterparts would capture or destroy the bad guys.
Pres. Obama was correct when he stated while running for office that not talking to our enemies was ridiculous. However, he was too much of a weak bitch and unprincipled man to stand up for what he believed in. Think of it this way, if I’m the president of the United States and I’m considering asking my men and women to spill their blood and give up pieces of themselves on the battlefield, you bet your ass it will only be after I have looked our enemies in the eye like a man, sized them up and done everything in my power to make a friend and try to prevent another war. It is a total moral failure of leadership to ask people to fight and die for you when you won’t even go talk to and try to understand your enemy first.
At the end of the day, we can always go in and wreck shop! I don’t think the rest of the world when they look at our history, has any doubt that the American people, and more importantly the US military, has the ability to be the most savage and destructive force the world has ever seen! Of those whom much is given, much is asked.
During World War II, our bombing campaign totally destroyed 40% to 80% of every major Japanese city. We firebombed Tokyo with incendiary bombs because Tokyo was mostly built out of wood. On one night of firebombing Tokyo alone, we burned to death 100,000 men, women and children. That was just one night! When we dropped the first atomic bomb, over 80,000 people were vaporized. Robert S. McNamara said it himself, and Gen. Curtis LeMay also said it to McNamara. He said, that if we had lost the war, he, McNamara and the rest of the American commanders would be executed because they were behaving as war criminals.
My Dad was in Vietnam. My uncle was a Marine in Vietnam and he was one of only two men from his unit who came back. Everyone else was either dead, or sent home too badly wounded to return. I have a friend who got blown up in Iraq. He lost an eye and has a traumatic brain injury. He spent a year and a half recovering at Walter Reed Medical Center. I have another friend of mine who lost his life in a training accident 20 years ago as a Navy SEAL. Another friend of mine was a Green Beret who fought with the Contras in the 1980s, even though publicly they were only trainers. In the military, you lead from the front, not the rear. One of my grandfathers was in the Navy during World War II. My other grandfather fought to help liberate Europe from the Nazi’s. He saw with his own eyes what the Nazi’s did to the Jewish people.
War is destructive. It is death. It is awful. It changes people for life. It should be avoided as an absolute last resort. The Cold War ended because Ronald Reagan and Mikael Gorbachev found a way to become friends. As a matter of fact, Pres. Gorbachev shared the exact moment that peace became possible between the two Cold War adversaries. He and Reagan were negotiating and it was getting them nowhere. Frustrated, Reagan got up walked about 10 feet away with his back to Gorbachev, and contemplated for a few moments. Then, he turned around, walked back over to Gorbachev, and said with a smile on his face, “I think we got off to a bad start. Can we start over?” He then reached out his hand to Gorbachev and said, “Hi, my name is Ronald Reagan.” Gorbachev let out a big laugh when he was telling that story. Two men trying to understand one another.
What’s the solution to Iran? I think that eventually, the Iranian theocracy will be swept aside from within. The majority of Iranians do not support the regime. However, it is obvious that our threats and intimidation by politicians who like to beat their chests, but who personally risk nothing by not talking to the Iranian leaders, instead risk the lives of millions of Americans, Iranians and other innocent people whose lives would be lost in a war.
Now it’s true that the president of Iran may be totally crazy as hell and unreasonable, and therefore talks and a face to face relationship would be futile, but there is only one way to find out. If you were sending your child off to war to potentially make the ultimate sacrifice, don’t you think the president of the United States owes it to your son or daughter and you to say, “I went and talked to the guy. I tried everything. He is totally unreasonable and war is therefore inevitable.” before he asks your child to risk their life and the well-being of your family? When you look at the history of wars and warfare, they are usually the result of politicians who are totally inept at interpersonal relationships. Quite frankly, they tend to act like they are still in high school. They will only talk to certain people they perceive as being cool. It’s time they grow up and start acting like mature adults, or they need to get the fuck out-of-the-way and let someone with experience set a good healthy example.
I highly recommend you check out Michael-Yon’s blog, his book “Moment Of Truth In Iraq” as well as his autobiography “Danger Close, The Michael Yon Story.” Another excellent book is “House To House” by David Bellavia. Here’s all four of Michael’s book listings on Amazon.com:
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Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“What is permissible is not always honorable.” ~ Cicero