Okay, it wasn't 20 years ago - it just seems like it. It was three years ago today that Bush launched the war in Iraq. It began as a "shock and awe" campaign, literally blowing up large portions of the Iraqi landscape, then progressed to ground troop pushing toward Bagdad, and then the symbolic toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue. It received favorable press, and prompted the Bush administration to predict a rapid cessation of hostilities. A year later, dubya announced "mission accomplished" and declared that major fighting was at an end.
A few months after that, though, the insurgents arose, and havoc ensued. Military leaders initially estimated that 700,000 troops would be needed to "liberate" Iraq. They were scoffed at, particularly when we took Bagdad with only 150,000. Now, three years after the start of this debacle, there are still 150,000 American troops in Iraq and the end is not in sight.
Sure, Cheney and Rummsfelt insist that we're winning, but the numbers tell a different story. Over 2300 American soldiers dead, thousands more injured - and that doesn't count the cost in Iraqi lives. The insurgents seem to get a second wind about every three months, and daily attacks cause untold death and destruction. In the same newscasts where we hear American generals tell us about Iraqi traffic cops wearing shirts and ties instead of body armor, another segment tells us of new attacks and more body counts.
Protests are occuring all over the world this week. Countries who supported us in the "alliance" are watching their citizens march in the streets, calling Bush a terrorist. Worldwide, we're seen as a bully, whose leader lied to get his war and is causing American and Iraqi deaths just so he can be remembered as a wartime president.
He'll be remembered as a wartime president all right, but not in a favorable way. His approval rating is again at an all time low, with more that half of the country seeing him as incompetent. In 2004, he called 51% of the votes in the election a "mandate". Now that 51% of people have disavowed him, that should constitute a "mandate" that he be removed.
Hey, I'm just using his logic. Or doesn't the logic work both ways?
Our soldiers are fighting and dying for a bogus cause. If dubya wanted to spread democracy around the world, he could have chosen to dethrone any number of despots other that Hussein. He chose Iraq because 1) they have oil, 2) they tried to kill his daddy, and 3) he wanted to deflect criticism from his dealings in the Arab world that should have been brought to light when one of the Bin Ladens, former business associates of his, planned and executed terrorist acts on American soil.
Now, almost four years later, Osama bin Laden is still at large, and we are three years into an endless battle with a country that had nothing to do with the attacks of September 11, 2001.
63% of the people who were mesmerized by Bush's rhetoric are now waking up to the fact that we were lied to - Saddam was not behind 9.11, and had no weapons of mass destruction - and now we're mired in a war that we can't win, and can't withdraw from.
Maybe when the other 37% wake up, we'll have enough collective intelligence to find a solution for this mess. Because now, it doesn't seem there is one. The administration's solution is to blow more smoke up our skirts, which isn't going to end the war anytime soon, and will most likely extend it. There has to be a better solution than trying to salvage the political career of someone who never should have been given power in the first place.