New War Epiphany
by Ted L Glines
It is stunning how you can look at something day after day, for years, without truly seeing what is there. My view of the war in Iraq has been rather ambivalent. I was pleased when we made our first invasion and took Saddam down. With that one act, I thought we had achieved a necessary goal, even though Saddam had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack. Then, because of our presence in Iraq, insurgents arrived from “where ever” and we stayed to fight them. Prior to our arrival in Iraq, insurgents were not a factor. I always had the feeling that our forces should have moved on to northern Pakistan to root out and destroy Osama bin Laden's terrorist operation, and I have never understood why we failed to make this move, especially since this would have been the perfect Iraq-exit strategy. Now, years later, our forces remain in Iraq, killing and being killed in a land which was not responsible for the 9/11 attack on our country. The northern Pakistan safe-zone for Osama has been a State Department concern. Secretary Condoleeza Rice is currently saying that Pakistan is not yet capable of controlling those northern tribal lands.
In the following paragraph, I summarize the content of an interview which aired on C-SPAN during the wee hours of 13 March 2008. There is nothing new in this information. It has been right there, in front of me, for all this time. But I never really saw it.
The insurgent enemy we face in Iraq has no air force and no mechanized land force. They have no military equipment other than a few rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. They have no standing army. They create home-made bombs. A single operation may cost the insurgents $3,500 or less. But fighting these insurgents is draining billions and trillions of American dollars from our economy. One estimate puts our cost at $275 million per day. This cost continues and escalates with each passing month, and we cannot afford this expenditure. To finance this, we are borrowing huge amounts of cash from China and other sources, and our national debt is rocketing us right into bankruptcy, even as our internal economy plummets.
Osama bin Laden has said that he wants American planes removed from the sky. He has said that he wants America reduced to a third-world country. The above draining of the American economy is helping him to achieve his ultimate goal, and he has an unlimited supply of new blood to replace the insurgents we kill - in his ongoing program to continue our economic drainage.
Deep in some (northern Pakistan?) hiding place, Osama smiles.
If we pulled our troops out of Iraq, the insurgents would leave, too. I am sure that the corrupt Iraqi politicians would figure out some way to continue “business as usual.” One Iraqi official, now retired to his real estate holdings in England, somehow “lost” $3 billion of our dollars. Another Iraqi official received $11 million in cash. He banked it to be used for a funded program. The money was confiscated by some Baghdad “central commission.” I have read and heard accounts of C-130s flying into Baghdad Airport, filled with pallets stacked high with packets of $100 bills. Ali Baba and his 40 thieves ... are fond of the Yankee dollar. It might be more worthwhile to our American economy if our government would drop off some pallets of cash to you and me.
If we suddenly moved our troops to blanket (like locusts) those northern Pakistan tribal areas -- we would swiftly get Osama bin Laden's situation under control. I would not ask Pakistan for permission, nor warn Pakistan in advance. No, I would keep our negotiations going, making mild requests for Pakistan to take action, and Pakistan would be responding with weak excuses, right through the last day of October 2008. Then, WHAM! Pre-dawn blanket-bombing of the northern Pakistan tribal area, with full media coverage (quite colorful), then air-dropping our mechanized and infantry divisions and support. This should happen on the first day of November 2008, so that our coming election may be graced by American flags flying from all of our car antennas again. Yes! Mop-up in this killed zone would be swift, and we should have our troops home by Inauguration Day.
So mote it be.