Sunday, June 19, 2005

An open letter on the Iraq war

June 19, 2005
Open letter to all who opposes the Iraq war –

I have a simple question for everyone who is against the Iraq war.

Assume everything being the same with the current war except for one fact, suppose WMD was discovered in Iraq and the coalition troops diffused them.
Would you still be against the war? Be very honest with yourself, and think.
This is a trick question.

If your answer is yes; you have just been exposed. The “missing” WMD is just a convenient ruse to use against the war. You are a pacifist at heart and if it wasn’t for the WMD, you would have found some other issue to argue your case…(prison abuse…)

However, if your answer is no, then you are basically in agreement with the Bush administration’s position. That is this war was necessary and just and in the long term best interest of stabilizing the Middle East region.

A third possibility is that you disagree with the prosecution of the war. You have a better way. This is a fair argument if you can offer any specific plan that will help. So far, I haven’t heard any coming from the dissenters. We can debate whether we have enough troops on the ground, or the right equipment…

The real culprit is Sadam Hussein. He deceived the world in believing that he had WMD thinking that will protect him against an all out invasion. I believe he was also re-assured by the French that they will step in at the last moment to veto any military action by the Security Council of the UN. He miss calculated and did not heed the warning – that George W. Bush is a man of his word. He says what he means and he means what he says. How refreshing coming from a politician.

Put your self in the President’s shoes for a moment. Here we are after 911. You are given the following intelligence – though flawed as we now know – that Sadam Hussein has been deceiving the weapon’s inspectors for years. Everyone knows that he had WMD and WMD programs. There was no proof that he had destroyed them. He had used them before against the Iranians and his own people. He has been abusing the oil for food program for years, siphoning off millions to build his palaces and fund WMD research. He has been supporting terrorist groups and providing them with a sanctuary. He has openly been defiant of the no fly zone and he has openly declared the US to be the Great Satan. What do you do? If you do nothing or just maintain the status quo. If another terrorist act happens and it was traced back to Sadam, the very same blow hard like Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry will be the first to level the charge – why didn’t you do something about this pending threat? Would impeachment be far behind? Given that scenario, any reasonable executive will err on the side of caution and decide to remove this gathering threat. The tough question is when and how? If you wait, Sadam’s power and strength will be increased and any military action may cause additional casualties. So it comes down to a cost vs. benefit analysis. As far as the charge that we rushed to war, that is a miss-representation of the fact. There was no rush – it took 16 months from Nov. 2001 to March 2003. The Congress debated and voted to approve the action. The UN passed resolutions. Sadam was given every opportunity to avert this crisis. He chose to defy and fight. The blame rest primarily on Sadam and secondarily on the French and the UN which were corrupted by the oil for food program and allowed Sadam to be defiant till the very end. 20/20 hindsight is always right. Had we known for sure that Sadam did not possess WMD, then the better approach would have been to contain him through sanctions. Though I’m not sure it would have been the best solution for the Iraqi people.

Even if you disagree with the Bush administration’s handling of Iraq, we should all agree that given the current state of affairs, we need to help them create a stable government and restore peace. So, the question is why are the French, the German and the Russian governments reluctant to help at this stage? Also why are the MSM (main stream media) so pessimistic and biased in their reporting of the Iraq situation? Do they secretly wish that we fail? I wonder…

What about those WMD’s?
Let us revisit the question of WMD. If you are one of those that believe the Bush administration concocted a lie and took us to war with Iraq, let me ask you to consider this. If you believe in the conspiracy, why did the Pentagon prepare for chemical attack in the run up to the war? Why did they not plant WMD in Iraq after the invasion? If they are sinister enough to create a false claim, they must be sinister enough to cover all bases.
My personal believe is that the WMD’s, if existed, were shipped off to Syria and buried.
Remember during the first Gulf war, Sadam sent his entire fighter plane to Iran for cover.
The truth will come out. Sadam is alive and will go on trial soon. Many of my suspicions regarding the French, the Russians, the German’s and the UN will come to light. Even Sadam’s frame of mind leading up to the war will come to light. These issues must be resolved if we are to have closure about what really went down.

What about the fact that Iraq has no connection with 911?
This is another one of those arguments that people use to say we have no business in Iraq.
They cite polls that show a majority of Americans believe that Iraq was involved with the 911 attack and the Administration mislead the public about this non-existing link.
I for one was never in that camp. I follow the news very closely and I heard the speeches.
There was no direct involvement by Iraq in the 911 attack.
However, post 911, our tactic must change in dealing with rogue nations and Iraq was the primary rogue nation. We had a long history with Sadam going back to the first Gulf war.
The new tactic is called preemption. Prior to 911, we could not use this or we would have been condemned by the world and by our own citizens.
Sometimes, a good offense is the best defense.
Let me illustrate with a simple lesson from history. During the 1980’s, President Reagan was faced with numerous terrorist acts perpetrated on Americans. There was no proof that linked Omar Quaddafi of Libya to these crimes. There were suspicions that he was secretly funding the terrorist. Reagan took preemptive action and sent cruise missiles after him. He barely survived and lost some close family members. Soon after, he was quiet. He got the message loud and clear.

What is our exit strategy with Iraq?
The answer lies with the Iraqi people and their newly elected government as it should.
If they want a democratic free Iraq, they must fight for it. Just as with other emerging democracies, freedom comes with a heavy price tag. It is paid with blood, sweat and tears.
It is a long and tedious and trial by error process. We can only do so much to help.
The old saying applies – you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
The jury is still out as to the final outcome in Iraq. We can only pray that they succeed.
We have already paid a heavy price in terms of our soldier’s lives and limbs(over 1700 dead and 10,000 wounded so far). We have provided billions of tax payer dollars to give them a fresh start. The rest is up to the Iraqi people.

We need to provide them the training to be self protecting.
We can help them rebuilt their infrastructure.
We can help them establish the cornerstones of a free enterprise system.
We can help them with their oil resource to help pay for their future needs.
And then, we must leave them alone.

Scorecard so far:
26 Million Iraqi’s are free. A tyrant is deposed. Women and girls are given new freedom to work and attend schools. A new democratic government was elected by 58% of the population. A constitution being drafted. Not bad.

What else can the US do?
We need to revamp our intelligence community from top to bottom. We can never be in a similar situation again. In dealing with future threats such as North Korea and Iran, we must have solid intelligence so that the President can make a sound decision. Our credibility is on the line and the lives of our troops are at stake.

What can the MSM do?
The media can help by reporting the facts both good and bad and offering differences of opinions but presented in a fair and balanced manner. They can also be a fact checker and keep a score card on those who are in a position to influence policy. They can be the conscience of the nation and maintain civility in our discourse. They should not participate in personal attacks and spreading rumors. If a politician is caught using such antics, they should be called upon it and be held accountable. They should be our eyes and ears in the world stage. Reporting on what is happening and not creating news.

What can the UN do?
The UN must be reformed such that past scandals (sex, oil for food, peace keeping) are fully investigated and addressed. The guilty must be punished. Integrity restored.
The Security Council and the General Assembly must be revamped. We cannot allow equal representation for all. Despots and tyrants cannot have equal voting rights on the UN. The French does not belong in the Security Council as a permanent member.

What can the world community do?
The world needs to understand that we are all in the same boat. We can help each other to counter both natural and man-made disasters. Just as after the tsunami disaster in Indonesia last December, the world responded with kindness, relief and funds. The US military was a force for good and the only force capable of helping on such massive scale.

What can you do?
Be honest with yourself, think and use logic to assess the situation and leave emotions out. Support our troops.

Final wish -
On this Father’s day 2005, let’s all agree to honor our fathers especially those service men that are serving in Iraq and all over the world in defense of freedom.
God bless them all.

Request for feedback –
If you have any comments or criticism of my thesis, please send them to me. I am open to re-assess the situation as more facts come to my attention.
I would also entertain new ideas to help us win the war.
I am approaching this with logic and without emotion and bias. We can debate issues and policy but please don’t make it a personal attack on me. We are all Americans and we all
wish for the best. The discourse should always be on the approach and on policy. Unfortunately, in real life, some problems have no good solutions. We can only make the best of it. Iraq may be one of those situations.

Jack Lee email:

The End


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