In an ancient area originally was known as Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylonia, and Sumer; lays the nation of Iraq. (Encarta, 2007) In March, 2003, the present administration declared a war on terror. Iraq was chosen as the nation that not only harbored the terrorist group known as Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, but in addition had a dictator, Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein had tested poisonous gases on large groups of the opposing religious faction of Iraqi people. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) supplied erroneous information from this area of the possession of more intense weapons of mass destruction. The Iraq War lasted from March 20, 2003, to May 1, 2003, ending with the capture of Baghdad and the overthrow of the Hussein government. (Encarta, 2007) The cost of 138 American lives and untold numbers of Iraqi citizens paid the price for that end. The morning of May 2, 2003 began the Occupation of Iraq. (Hartmann, 2006)
There is a major difference in the terms of war and occupation. A war can be honorably won or ignobly lost. An occupation ends with what the military calls “redeployment”. World War II, in the Pacific arena, was won with the utilization of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The occupation of Japan was short lived with redeployment of troops back to the United States. The peacekeeping efforts of South Korea ended with a stalemate causing President Harry S. Truman poitical wounds that cost him the re-election. The United States maintains a base in South Korea, where the primary mission is to provide an obvious United States’ presence in the country. (Hartmann, 2006)
The overthrow of Hussein’s government was the signal for an intense civil war. Armed urban guerrillas began killing as many of the members of the occupying forces as possible as well as members of different religious factions. Each faction believes it has the religious right to rule the others. Shiites against Sunnis against Baaths has been a constant conflict in the entire region for more than a thousand years.
A brief history of the area known as the modern nation of Iraq reveals that from the beginning of the fourth millennium B.C. war has been a way of life. The location of the modern country of Iraq is in that area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, endowing the country with large amounts of water. (Encarta, 2007) The area has had rulers from Alexander the Great, through to Mongols, the Turkic Tamerlane, and the Chinese Ottoman to Great Britain. Iraq is a country accustomed to invasion and occupation by other countries. The area known as Iraq has been its own nation since 1958, when the British left the country to rule itself. All of the different invading and conquering nationalities left their mark on the people and land. (Encarta, 2007)
Now, more than four years after President George W. Bush stood under a “Mission Accomplished” sign on board the USS Abraham Lincoln declaring the war won and Saddam Hussein’s murderous reign overthrown, we are still occupying Iraq. (Hartmann, 2006) While our country has made a concerted attempt to make our occupations of war torn countries as short as possible, we are still in Iraq losing troops to both civil and foreign insurgents. As of September, 2007, the total loss of life for American troops has been 3,621 troops. The loss of Iraqi citizenry has not be totaled, those that have been counted is between 71,302 and 77,852. (Griffis, 2007)
The above numbers of dead do not reflect the numbers of wounded casualties of both American and Iraqi people. The official number of American casualties in Iraq is 27,767. This number is not just physically injured but also those who suffer from psychiatric or mental health issues. The Iraqis have not released the numbers of those who have been hurt and not killed. The reason for this has been the reluctance of those injured to acknowledge the injury as they may be a part of those attempting to remove the American troops now occupying their country. (Griffis, 2007)
America made many oversights and blunders during the war with Iraq. One of the biggest oversights may have been the total disregard of the Mahdi Army led by Moqtada al Sadr. The prior cavalier attitude of the American leaders can no longer be tolerated. During the four years of American Occupation, Sadr’s Mahdi Army has grown and become a fully trained force to be reckoned with. (Porter, 2006)
President Bush’s administration has been complaining of Iranian meddling in Iraq has been a real threat to the stability of Iraq. Iran may be the reason the loss of American lives has not been as massive as it has been as Sadr’s Mahdi Army is aligned with Iran. (Porter, 2006) The Mahdi Army controls Sadr City, a large slum of Baghdad. Sadr and the Mahdi Army are ready to force the American contingent from Iraq. “If we leave the decision to the Americans,” says Sadr’s top deputy, Mustafa Yaqoubi,”They will not leave. They’ll stay. To get the occupiers to leave, they need to make some sacrifice.” (Porter, 2006)
The Iraqi Parliament has asked President Bush and the American leaders for a definite date for the withdrawal of the American troops. Great Britain has already begun total withdrawal of their occupying troops as well as the other nations involved in the Iraq War. As of yet, the question of a definite date for United States withdrawal has not been answered. In fact, President Bush has spoken of increasing the numbers of American troops in Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament has made a definite challenge to President Bush and his administration by passing a law, making the United States continued occupation of Iraq against Iraqi law. (Zeese, 2007)
The United States has not endeared itself to the Iraqi people. After the 1991 Gulf War, the United States called for an “uprising against Saddam Hussein”. Nevertheless, can present day Americans say “Cuban Bay of Pigs”? Yes, the Iraqis picked up arms against Saddam and were betrayed by the United States who had promised assistance in that endeavor. A poll of the Iraqi people, conducted by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, showed that a clear majority of Shiites were opposed to the United States occupation. Needless to say, the result of this poll was not made public to the people of the United States. (Porter, 2006)
The impression, that intense research into the situation of the entire United States’ continued occupation makes, is of a country ready to take back control of all areas of its infrastructure. Iraqis are more than tired of the United States and its interference in its cultural and self-government. The current United States administration is not ready to admit the blunders it has made and that continuing to occupy the Iraqi nation is not rectifying those blunders.
A coalition of Iraqis, consisting of Baathists, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Christians, Turkmen, and other people of Iraq, are more than ready to become a nation that is in and of itself. This coalition no longer wants to put up with the invaders in the form of United States troops and contractors. As most of the current reconstruction efforts have been made by the Iraqi people themselves. Given the several billion dollars left in the original United States and United Nations Reconstruction Fund, the Iraqi people feel they are more than capable of putting their nation back together again. (Dreyfuss, 2007)
How many more Americans than the 3,621 deaths and 27,767 casualties must there be before the current Administration admits to its needless continued occupation? Political support for the current Administration’s radical doctrine at play in Iraq is dwindling at an incredible rate. In June, 2007, CNN conducted a poll regarding American support of the Iraqi Occupation. The poll revealed that only 30 percent of respondents continue to support the United States Occupation of Iraq. Seventy percent of respondents oppose the continued occupation for different reasons, but all were adamant that withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. (Beasley, 2007)
And yet, the current administration has not announced plans to withdraw any American troops. In fact, American Army Command is in favor of a continuance of the build-up of insurgent troops. We are adding more American lives into a situation that is at best horrendously dangerous. These leaders are ignoring the Mahdi Army’s well trained troops numbering in the hundreds of thousands instead of the original estimate of ten thousand ill equipped and badly trained personnel. (Porter, 2006)
Should the American Army supply routes be attacked, the truck drivers, Asians, will be anxious to quit and go home, leaving United States military personnel without supplies. Sadr’s Mahdi Army controls the areas these supply routes cross. Attacking someone on their home turf makes an immediate disadvantage. (Porter, 2006)
A football game, where the away team is playing the home team, will usually end up with the home team winning the game. A look at baseball games played on the road as opposed to games played at home also show a trend in more wins at home. The managers and administrative officers of major league teams have admitted that games played on the road result in an increase in losses.
If major league football, baseball, and basketball teams have acknowledged that road games are more difficult to constantly win, why is it so difficult for our military to admit that it is in a situation that is not going to end well. More American lives are going to be lost or catastrophic, life changing injuries or mental problems will increase dramatically. What will it take for someone to listen to the Iraqi people and to the polls of rapidly declining popularity of the present situation? Will the deciding factor be a nuclear or a chemical missile dropped on Victory Base in Baghdad? Or will it perhaps be something even more sinister?
An increase in occupying American troops is not the answer. Perhaps, this administration and its military leaders should listen carefully to what they are being told, not only by the American people, but also by the Iraqi people. When the principle lawmaking body of a country passes a law making continued occupation by another country illegal, someone in the other country should stop and listen. Then the question should be shouted loud and long, “What are we still doing here when the people of this country do not want us here?”