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January 13, 2007

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Frederick Hamilton

Eras,
Money numbers I have no solid clue. As to length of commitment to support Iraq. Certainly as long as we have supported South Korea. What is that now? 50 years. Is that support wrong for South Korea? Don't think so.

Is that specific enough on length of time to support a burgeoning democracy? How long have we supported and protected the Japanese? Germany? How long was the Monroe doctrine carried out? I think it stll is.

Like I said, it won't be easy. It will take I suspect much longer than you would support. Just a guess. Easy to leave. We could be out of Iraq completely in 2 - 3 weeks. Simple.

How about this for a prediction. Democrat wins 08 presidential election. At re-election time in 2012 we sill still be in Iraq. Appropriately so.

Erasmussimo

OK, so you're suggesting that we commit military forces for 50 years. There is one big difference between Iraq and South Korea: the forces in South Korea have not been in active combat for 50 years; it appears that our forces in Iraq will face armed opposition for the foreseeable future. Combat operations are a lot more expensive. It appears that your recommendation embraces most of what I have proposed, with two differences: 1) not as large an expenditure initially; and 2) a longer period. All in all, it seems that the two plans are about equal in overall cost. Do you really think that the American people will support an effort that will cost thousands more American lives, require the commitment of at least several hundred thousand American personnel for 50 years, at a total cost easily exceeding a trillion dollars? Do YOU even believe that such an expenditure is worth the benefits?

Frederick Hamilton

Well, lets see. We have 40,000 in South Korea. No, I suspect we will be less than 50,000 troops in a year or two. Then a stabilizing force a la South Korea with little or no casualities.

Of course the money thing is an expense. How much? Not sure. Compared to what? Unstable Iraq. Unstable Middle East? Another 9/11?

We are in a protracted fight with a group of insane, fundamentalists who like the ideas of terrorist attacks and destruction of the west. A subgroup of Muslims terrorist jihadists who want all of the Muslin world under their control and Sharia law. Who call for the destruction of Isreal. Who call for the death of infidel westerners. Whoever occupies 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the next 20 years will be spending hundreds of billions of dollars on this real threat. Paid for by you and I.

And that is only what the U.S. will spend. Add in the French, Spanish, Germans, Italians, Australians, British. How many billions more is that? Quite a problem would you say not?

If you are looking to defeat these insane Muslim terrorist jihadists on the cheap, good luck.

nay

mistake become a correction
everyone makes mistake but mistake became depression even the result of doing correction

Joan A. Conway

This is a capitalistic society and the way China and India are catching up to us is in itself a big worry.

The oil ogligarchy is a murky world. If China keeps its 500,000 automobiles increasing, where does all this oil come from? Someone has to control the Mid-Eastern oil supply in our favor with this global competition.

Previously I have not been particularly in favor of Bush's War, but the big picture exposes the demand for oil globally will change with competition from China and India. Doesn't it make sense to have economic barriers of entry in this matter to eliminate such competition?

Political Umpire

Frederick Hamilton claims that the Iraq adventure is all part of a war against 'insane' fundamentalists that the West was presumably inevitably going to have to fight.

Even accepting that (for the sake of argument), Iraq was totally the wrong target. Saddam Hussein was many things, but fundamentalist Islamic he was not. Quite the reverse: he ruthlessly crushed hard line religious leaders in Iraq as they posed a threat to his hold on power. By 2003, Saddam was spent as an international force. His army and economy were in tatters after a decade or so of sanctions.

Still, it wasn't known in 2003 whether he had WMD or not. But I maintain he was not a threat even if he did. This is for two reasons: first that Saddam would have known that to be found colluding with terrorists would be signing his own death warrant. He knew America wanted rid of him, and would look for any excuse. As his sole aim was to stay in power, why would he have given them the excuse to remove him on a silver platter?

Second, in 1991 Saddam most definitely DID have WMD. America (via James Baker to Tariq Aziz) said that if any were used against coalition troops, America would ‘retaliate’, and moreover had ‘the means to retaliate’. Saddam took the hint. Iraq did not use WMD even as its forces were crushed in short order.

The lesson is that Saddam was indeed deterred by the threat of Western nuclear power, just as the Soviets had been during the Cold War. He knew that use of WMD against the West would write his own death warrant. He was deterred from using WMD even though he could not have been sure that America would not renege on its promise to the Arab coalition forces not to depose him, nor could he have been sure that enough of his forces would remain to protect him from internal opposition (America’s miscalculation on that one was a very serious error, the significance of which has not received enough subsequent attention.)

In other words, if Saddam was ever going to use WMD, 1991 was the time to do it. He did not so, which reinforced what I have said already, namely (i) that he was not akin to the Al-Qaeda religious fanatics, or any other suicide attackers; and (ii) his primary concern was to stay in power himself, ahead of any imperialistic dreams of enlarging Iraq.

All a great shame that Bush and Blair didn’t remember any of the above. Or perhaps they did, but invaded (i) because they wanted a show of strength, (ii) because they wanted the oil, and (iii) because Bush 1 remnants such as Cheney had an obsession with Saddam as the bugbear.

Ironically, to me all logic suggested then as now that Saddam was not a threat but an _ally_, in that he ensured that religious fundamentalists wouldn’t get a toe-hold in Iraq.

Having decided to invade anyway, we know what happened next. Part of the conditions that gave rise post-invasion to the insurgency seems to have been the looting and lawlessness which the Americans largely stood by and watched, as they did in Panama.

Incidentally the post-invasion disaster was neatly predicted in the mid 1990s by GUlf War I generals, who wanted to explain why Saddam was still in power. Why did no one listen?

Man

"Colin Powell believed that the world thought Sadamm had WMD."

I used to have enormous respect for Colin Powell but his "case" against Saddam Hussein was embarissngly transparent so cited him as an authority doesn't cut it.

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