Why, indeed?

Tell me again why we fought this war

A co-worker forwarded me an article she clipped from a newspaper (remember those?) with the title “Tell me again why we fought this war”. I couldn’t find it under that title, but I did find it at the Miami Herald: Drop the ‘Bush Doctrine’.

Here’s what seems to be the main thrust:

Well, no WMDs were ever found. And now, the Bush team has given up the search.

This suggests one of two possibilities: Either Hussein is a true evil genius who managed to uproot, move and hide his nuclear, chemical and biological arsenal so efficiently that the entire investigative apparatus of Earth’s most technologically advanced nation could find no trace of them — or they didn’t exist when Bush’s people told us that they did.

And if they didn’t exist, the United States invaded a sovereign nation, trashed its infrastructure, toppled its government, caused the deaths of anywhere from 15,000 to 100,000 of its citizens, propelled the region to the precipice of civil war, likely reinvigorating terrorist recruitment in the process — and sent more than 1,300 of its own sons and daughters to their deaths — for nothing.

I won’t really go into the WMD argument yet again, mentioning neither the fact that I think many in the administration spent too much time talking about that one reason when they had brought up so many others already, or noting the fact that the media at the time harped the “imminent threat” and “al-Qaeda ties” stories although Bush and company very clearly stated that there was no evidence that either existed. And I certainly won’t point out that Bush detractors have been working overtime to rewrite the reasoning behind the decision to invade Iraq. I won’t discuss the fact that WMDs didn’t need to exist, only that Iraq needed to comply with UN resolutions and cease-fire agreements.

This is what the “nothing” we fought for is accomplishing:


This is part of what our “sons and daughters” are doing over there:


Even in America (Nashville, to be exact) this great “nothing” can be seen and felt:


It’s funny that this article came to me in the form of a newspaper clipping (remember those?), because I had a letter published in my local paper (remember those?) 10 months ago that included:

By working to stabilize and install a democracy in the heart of the Middle East, the Bush administration is directly attacking the root causes of international terrorism: poverty and oppressive, medieval governments that breed fear and hatred.

Critics are right when they say we can never kill all the terrorists. What we need to do is make the terrorists believe that there’s a better way to live life. With a decent life and hope for the future, suicide-bombing or fighting U.S. Marines doesn’t seem like such a good alternative. In the meantime, of course, we need to continue to kill terrorists, but Iraq is part of the bigger picture and al Qaida is only a symptom.

Will this plan work? I don’t know. We’ll have to look again in ten or twenty years.

But this weekend Iraqis are going to vote. The media coverage will undoubtedly be all over the violence that is sure to mar the event. They won’t be able to ignore successful elections like they did in Afghanistan, so most will probably work their hardest to portray the negative aspects of what’s going on and hope no one notices that the world is changing for the better.

Pictures from Hobbs Online and the CENTCOM Newsletter


  1. Yes, they will ignore successful elections. Hell, they managed it in America, in front of Americans.

  2. Bush is a liar, ok, you already knows that. But now right-wing people says that this war is worthy cause Iraq now is a democracy.Funny, I thought that american soldiers should die for the US, not for the Iraq

  3. Re: Chad All too true. Re: Murdoc, you appear to have a troll here who repeats same thing over and over, irregardless of the actual discussion subject.

  4. I’ve voted Republican every time since I turned 18 in (well a LONG time ago, LOL!). I voted for Dubyuh in 2000, and again last year. The ONLY reason I voted for him in ’04 was the alternative. As far as I’m concerned The Bushites conveniently ignored any intellignece that contradicted what they wanted to do. Which was invade Iraq and kick you know who’s left elbow. We were told time & again we needed to get rid of Saddam BEFORE he got WMD, when none turned up the alternative reasons for why it was NECESSARY for us to have invaded Iraq began popping up like dandelions in my lawn. I won’t belabor any of you with what those AFTER HE FACT reasons for war are; you’ve probably heard them all too. The fact remains the Bush Admin was completely WRONG about WMD; to this date haven’t actually apologized to anyone for invading a country that hadn’t harmed us outright (OK, maybe they were cozy with some terrs but big deal, we could name umpteen other countries in the same category and we didn’t invade them). If we wanted to fight Islamic Militants ‘over there’ and NOY over here–we were already doing that in Afghanistan (which is a much smaller country). We could have gotten a much higher troop density per sq mile in the Stan than we have in Iraq, and take my word for it….if the Stan was the ONLY country we invaded the Islamofacists would have flocked into it just like they are into Iraq now. And, the Stan presents a better tactical opportunity to degrade the terrorist population..it’s not bracketed on BOTH sides by countries actively hostile to our interests. We should have finished the Stan FIRST then done something else. On top of all that, the invasion of Iraq has harmed our standing in the Muslim world to a degree that raising hell and stomping the crap out of every wannabe Jihadist in Afghanistan NEVER would have. Need I say anything about the 40teen mistakes and errors in judgment made by the Bushites in condcting post major combat ops? I think not. Bush and his crew should FALL ON THEIR SWORDS! PS: God bless our troops! We are in this, like it or not, and we need to do WHATEVER it takes doe however long it takes, to successfully see this Iraq thing through. I’m hoping for the best with the Iraqi elections, but I’m not counting on it!

  5. I won’t really go into the WMD argument yet again, >>>>You already have mentioning neither the fact that I think many in the administration spent too much time talking about that one reason >>>I wonder why, since as you say, WMDs did’nt need to exist.but you contradict yourself ‘Does Iraq really have or almost have weapons of mass destruction that threaten the United States?’ To be honest, to call this an ‘unanswered question’ seems pretty silly to me. Iraq absolutely, positively had huge stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and would have been able to produce weapons-grade plutonium long ago if their nuclear reactor hadn’t been pre-emptively and unilaterally destroyed by Israel in 1981. If Saddam wasn’t working on WMD in 1998, and everyone –everyone– believed he was, why were the UN weapons inspectors kicked out? And if he had them in ’98, why would he have destroyed them in the five years since? Even if he had destroyed them, why can’t he produce ANY evidence that he has done so? To give him any benefit of the doubt at this point is simply foolish. when they had brought up so many others already, >>>>I do not recall please enlighten me or noting the fact that the media at the time harped the ‘imminent threat’ and ‘al-Qaeda ties’ stories >>>>Like this one http://murdoconline.net/archives/000109.html or ‘Is there a connection between Iraq and the perpetrators of 9/11?’ There is definitely connection between Iraq and terrorism in general. There is a fair amount of evidence that direct connections between Iraq and al Queda exist now and have for some time. They are definitely on the same side (against the U.S.) even if they aren’t formal allies. The president said we would wage war against terrorists and those that aid and harbor them. Iraq plainly fits the criteria, and anyone who doesn’t see it just doesn’t want to. although Bush and company very clearly stated that there was no evidence that either existed. >>>Oh Yea!!! From Bushs own mouth http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50679-2004Jun17.html . And I certainly won’t point out that Bush detractors have been working overtime to rewrite the reasoning behind the decision to invade Iraq. >>>>I guess Bush supporters were working some overtime when no WMD were not found I won’t discuss the fact that WMDs didn’t need to exist >>>Of course. Bush was going to war any way , only that Iraq needed to comply with UN resolutions and cease-fire agreements. >>>I did not realize that non compliance with UN resolutions was a cause for war. Why didn’t the US attack Israel, Turkey, Morocco, Croatia, Indonesia, Armenia, Sudan. All which did not comply with UN resolutions

  6. torcik: (I’ll simply reply to your words–see torcik’s posts for what he’s referring to) >>>>You already have Yes, I was being a little tongue-in-cheek. I do that from time to time. Thanks for noticing. >>>I wonder why, since as you say, WMDs didn’t need to exist… That is the EXACT reason I wish that less had been said about WMD, since most if not all latched onto it as the most immediate menace and one that could more quickly be defeated >>>…but you contradict yourself Yes, I do. Sort of. I had planned to revisit that entire post on New Years Day as a sort of ‘where I think we are today vs. what I thought back then’, but like a lot of things I’ve wanted to do on the site over the past month or so (book reviews, North Africa) for one reason or another I haven’t got around to it. Too much like work. Anyway, the last line basically sums it all up. No benefit of the doubt could be afforded. And did you read the rest of the post? >>>>I do not recall please enlighten me You’re kidding yourself. Remember that ‘brought up’ isn’t the same as ‘were covered extensively in the media’ >>>>Like this one Torcik, the paragraph you quote is from my mouth, not Bush’s. And it totally supports my statement and my position, BTW. >>>Oh Yea!!! From Bushs own mouth Well, first of all that’s from June 2004, so I don’t think we went to war based on what’s in that article. Second of all, did you read it? Here’s a snippet: ”This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda,’ Bush said. ‘We did say there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.’ Officials with the Sept. 11 commission yesterday tried to soften the impact of the staff’s finding, noting that the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, agrees with the administration on key points. ‘Were there contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq? Yes,’ Thomas H. Kean (R), the panel’s chairman, said at a news conference. ‘What our staff statement found is there is no credible evidence that we can discover, after a long investigation, that Iraq and Saddam Hussein in any way were part of the attack on the United States.’ The panel’s executive director, Philip D. Zelikow, said the finding referred to a lack of evidence of ‘operational’ ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.’ Um, isn’t that what I said? And what I said Bush said? >>>>I guess Bush supporters were working some overtime when no WMD were not found By this I think you mean that Bush supporters have been working overtime to draw attention away from WMD and put it onto the other reasons. With this I will agree. I wish it had been done far earlier (even without hindsight) and I’m certainly one of them doing so. >>>Of course. Bush was going to war any way After 9/11, probably. Before 9/11 he probably wanted to but didn’t have enough reason to as the status quo that most people saw was good enough. Times change, and things that should have been cleaned up but have been neglected have to be faced at some point. Iraq is just one campaign in a long-overdue house cleaning of sorts. >>>I did not realize that non compliance with UN resolutions was a cause for war. Why didn’t the US attack Israel, Turkey, Morocco, Croatia, Indonesia, Armenia, Sudan. All which did not comply with UN resolutions Again it’s the empty ‘you can’t do good anywhere ever unless you do good everywhere immediately’ argument. Nothing further to add. torcik, I still intend to revisit that post (#109) in the near future as it was my first legthy writing on this site and I feel it really applies (in many ways) to what we see and hear and read today. If you’d like to critique it and email me your commentary, I’ll include at least some of your thoughts (of course, maybe just to refute them) in my post.

  7. Flanker: While I’ll readily agree that you’ve got some good points, I don’t really agree with a lot of what you wrote. Post-war operations in Iraq obviously suck beyond belief. I think that the Turkey mess with the 4ID not being allowed to pass through and enter Iraq from the north really threw things for a loop and destroyed what was probably already a shaky post-war plan. However, an Afghanistan-only war wouldn’t work, as it would simply be hitting back at a limited group in a remote area. (WW2 Analogy Alert!!!) We didn’t just go to war with Japan after Pearl Harbor. We went to war with our enemies. Afghanistan-only thinking would be just another example of the tunnel-vision, short-sighted thinking that got us to 9/11/01 in the first place. What we’re doing now is striking out in a different direction. I think it’s a world war, albeit a lower-intensity one given our enemies tactics and military capabilities. But the stakes are just as high. As I’ve written before, the non-WMD reasons for going into Iraq are not AFTER THE FACT reasons, though the attention both in the media and by the administration’s PR campaign is mostly after the fact. I think this was a major error on the administration’s part, as we’re seeing today. But it doesn’t change the fact that the reasons were given and they remain valid reasons (as does WMD, though not to the level many thought it was (including me)). And I know you support the troops. It’s very clear from your previous postings on this site. I can much more readily appreciate at critic of the invasion who genuinely does support the troops than I can a critic who just pays lip-service to our servicemen and -women.

  8. And another thing! Besides re-hashing the WMD debate the n000th time, how about addressing the topic of the post? Iraq is going to have free elections tomorrow. Does it even matter?

  9. Both the Afghan and Palestinian (the West Bank is my current stomping grounds) went better than most expected. It would be wonderful if the Iraq election went likewise. However, the elections in and of themselves are just the ‘next step’ in a decades long series of steps that will hopefully lead to Islamic flavored democracies. ‘If’ democratic governments become well established in those countries, they probably will be inherently more paternalistic, religious, and autocratic than ‘our’ democracy. All those traits are endemic to most of the Muslims I’ve come into contact with. When it’s all said and done….the govs in those countries may turn out more like ours than I think though. Assuming none of them fragment into smaller Balken like enclaves, organized along tribal, ethnic, or religious/political lines. FYI: Recently met a ‘souce’ who’s very highly placed in the Iraqi Interior Ministry. According to the source, the Allawi Goernment is much more worried about a civil war breaking out in the next 12 months than they’re letting on in public. Best Allawi Gov estimates of a CW scenario during that time frame is 50%. They’ve created a euphemistic term for it, as no one wants to say ‘civil war’ at the ministerial meetings as it might be ‘bad luck’. Interesting info and a very interesting ‘mind set’ (assuming the info is accurate, and I have no reason to suspect my source’s integrity or honesty at this point). The source also said it’s openly kicked around there ARE NOT enough coalition troops to cover the country’s disaffected areas and borders effectively, and no one sees any real possibility of getting more foreign troops in to help. Iraqi forces aren’t being trained fast enough or effectively enough (speed and effectiveness are diametrically opposed for that type of training anyway)to replace coalition skill, firepower, or ability. Sounds like a tight fight to me! Murdoc, I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment; we needed to hit the terrs in more than just the Stan. As I said, they would have flocked in there the same as they’re doing in Iraq now…….we’d have had far less turf to cover though with the troops we have available. But, I hear where your coming from, and have to admit, this may be another in a long series of positions I’ve been wrong in! LOL!

  10. Thanks for your reply. I came by this site for the XM8. Unlike most military blogs you have a open mind which is rare on both sides, but please do not not make WWII analogies. We didn’t just go to war with Japan after Pearl Harbor. We went to war with our enemies. >>>Who were our other enemies? You do not mean Germany which never threatned the US until we supported the UK.

  11. torcik: Ah. Germany wasn’t a threat until we supported the UK. And then we mucked it all up by declaring war on someone who hadn’t attacked us and wouldn’t have been a problem if we hadn’t been friends with the wrong people? >>but please do not not make WWII analogies What if were to make some Vietnam analogies? Would that be okay?

  12. We declared war on Japan, who attacked us. Germany declared war on us for violating our neutrality, by supporting the UK. We sent the Uk war material and used US naval ships to provide convoy. On several occaisons US ships fired on german U boats. See text MR. CHARGE D’AFFAIRES: The Government of the United States having violated in the most flagrant manner and in ever increasing measure all rules of neutrality in favor of the adversaries of Germany and having continually been guilty of the most severe provocations toward Germany ever since the outbreak of the European war, provoked by the British declaration of war against Germany on September 3, 1939, has finally resorted to open military acts of aggression. On September 11, 1941, the President of the United States publicly declared that he had ordered the American Navy and Air Force to shoot on sight at any German war vessel. In his speech of October 27, 1941, he once more expressly affirmed that this order was in force. Acting under this order, vessels of the American Navy, since early September 1941, have systematically attacked German naval forces. Thus, American destroyers, as for instance the Greer, the Kearney and the Reuben James, have opened fire on German sub-marines according to plan. The Secretary of the American Navy, Mr. Knox, himself confirmed that-American destroyers attacked German submarines. Furthermore, the naval forces of the United States, under order of their Government and contrary to international law have treated and seized German merchant vessels on the high seas as enemy ships. The German Government therefore establishes the following facts: Although Germany on her part has strictly adhered to the rules of international law in her relations with the United States during every period of the present war, the Government of the United States from initial violations of neutrality has finally proceeded to open acts of war against Germany. The Government of the United States has thereby virtually created a state of war. The German Government, consequently, discontinues diplomatic relations with the United States of America and declares that under these circumstances brought about by President Roosevelt Germany too, as from today, considers herself as being in a state of war with the United States of America. Accept, Mr. Charge d’Affaires, the expression of my high consideration. December 11, 1941. RIBBENTROP.

  13. P.S Vietnam is OK. Remember the US is not fighting nation-states but a stateless guerilla oranization, that is borderless. It will require different tactics

  14. torcik: I think you’re going to have to explain your position on the war against Nazi Germany. In an earlier post, you protested that you ‘never said the Nazis weren’t all that bad’ or some such, but all your comments about the war against Germany paints the US as the villain. Please clarify. Also, I wrote a little about FDR’s 9/11/41 radio address in November of 03: http://murdoconline.net/archives/000004.html And that’s quite gracious of you to allow Vietnam analogies. How about Vietnam in the context of the Cold War (WW3, IMHO), though? Or am I supposed to focus primarily upon things like the Pentagon Papers, the Tet Offensive, and APOCALYPSE NOW? Speaking of APOCALYPSE NOW, how about John Kerry’s mission into Cambodia in December of 1968, the one that demonstrated the error of our ways? You know, the one that he just denied ever happened: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6886726/ . Can I use that? And do you have anything to say about elections and democracy in Iraq, which is what this post is about?

  15. Vitor: Don’t continue to troll. And American soldiers aren’t supposed to die for America or Iraq or anyone. They’re supposed to KILL for America.

  16. Your duty is not to die for God and country, it’s to make the other *^%&$ die for his’. You gotta love Patton. Why is it that all the good military lines are already taken. Just going to stan wouldn’t have done it. It’s a long way from Saudi, Jordan, Syria, Egypt, etc. to the stan, and you have to go through all those idealogocally different regions to get there. They weren’t going to that party folks. Long Live a free Iraq. God help them to get it right.

  17. Oh, and Torcik, Japan was allied to Germany, and when America came hunting, Germany would’ve been obligated to declare war on us anyway.

  18. Germany was under no obligation to help Japan. Check out article three of Tripartite Pact, ‘to assist one another with all political, economic and military means when one of the three contracting powers is attacked’ by a country not already involved in the war, Japan was not attacked it was the agressor therefore Germany had no obligation to assist.

  19. Murdoc, I never said that Germany was not too bad or that the US was a villian. I merely pointed out that the US did not declare war on Germany, Germany did. and also Germany was under no obgligation to declare war on the US. It is ironic that a bleeding heart liberal, the anti-christ of conservatives, FDR, who saw the threat Germany posed. While conservatives fought to keep the US out of europe. Ever hear of America First

  20. The very first time one of our planes, soldiers, ships, or subs fired at anything Japanese that was not ‘on the offensive’ the Japanese could’ve claimed to have been attacked. Japan wanted all of the resources of the Pacific rim, which would’ve meant the phillipines as well. They were attacking American troops there right after Pearl Harbor. I can’t imagine that the entire military staff of Japan (many of whom were U.S. educated) didn’t think we’d fight. They also attacked Wake Island, immediately after Pearl Harbor. They knew they were getting into it with us. Oh, and Torcik, if you look at where he stood on the issues, FDR would read a lot more like one of todays moderates, not really a bleeding heart liberal, or a neocon. Hell, compared to Teddy and Babs, John F. Kennedy looks extremely moderate, maybe even a little conservative. You can’t blame the republicans of 60-65 years ago for the things that you see in today’s world. Most of our society was beyond the science fiction of that age. I don’t blame the democrats of the 20’s for things I see as problems today, that’s hindsight, not todays issues. The question is: when democracy is advanced, why is it ignored, only to be marginalized by people that say ‘well, you haven’t helped every soul that ever lived, you don’t have the right to help anybody then’.