Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kerry And Levin Troop Redeployment Bills Voted Down In U.S. Senate

Both the John Kerry and Carl Levin sponsored amendments to $500 billion dollar plus defense bill dealing with U.S. troop redeployments have been voted down. The stronger langauge John Kerry bill garnered a mere 13 votes, while the Levin bill did much better at 39 votes in it's losing effort. While both bills no doubt encapsule the frustration at the war in Iraq that the American public is feeling, both bills really ignored the complex "catch-22" that we face in Iraq.

Certainly the war in Iraq was a huge mistake. I could all day explaining why this is so. But for strarters, you don't restart a 12 year old war because you failed to negotiate a good cease fire or terms of peace. The first George Bush was under Saudi Arabian pressure not to remove Saddam Hussein from power, and with this absurd limitation on his ability to enact unconditional cease fire terms, Hussein remained in power and was not brought to trial in 1991 like what should have been expected. Instead 12 cruel years of U.N. mandated economic sanctions only tended hurt the average person in Iraq, while Saddam's family found ways to steal "oil for food" funds for more palaces or riches for themselves. With only "no-fly" zones and UNSCOM mandated inspections and destruction of WMD materials, Iraq was contained militarily, and no real regional threat any longer. So much of Iraq's elite Republican Guard forces and equipment were destroyed in first Gulf War that they hardly constituted a serious military presense any longer. With so much pressure on Iraq, Iran was able to reconstitute it's military into an ever increasingly strong regional presense. And Iran controls the vital Strait Of Hormuz oil passageway which is a mere 12 miles wide at it's most narrow point. All MidEast oil flows from this vital oil passageway. All oil from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Iraq and Iran flows through this pathway.

Many of the most important players in the Bush Administration's foreign policy, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and others were members of a neoconservative organization known as The Project For The New American Century(PNAC) since 1997, members of this organization have been pushing for a restart to the poorly concluded 1991 Gulf War. In testimony to Congress in 1998, Paul Wolfowitz argued that a restart to this war would allow for placing the oil resources of Iraq under "international supervision". The restart of the old Gulf War could be justified by raising fears of the uncertainty of Iraqi WMDs. However, as we all know only the evidence of one old sarin shell and one old 1980's mustard gas shell were found by American forces in Iraq. Gen. Georges Sada, the second in command general of the Iraqi Air Force noted in a recent book that in passenger aircraft with the seats removed some very primitive chemical weapons agents were transferred or sold to Syria. Such primitive WMD materials could at best only kill about 40 persons in a direct hit on a very large crowd. Compared to explosives these insecticide based chemicals were a relatively ineffective weapon.

With 43 members of the Bush Administration with some ties to oil companies, there was plans from day one of this new administration according to former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill, to justify a military invasion of Iraq. Despite the claims of George Bush in a debate with Al Gore that he opposed "nation building", it was one of the primary goals of this new administation to start a new war in Iraq.

After WWI, Britain first invaded Iraq after oil assets were discovered there. Britain could not contain either the insurgent violence or the 300 year old sectarian conflict between the Sunni and Shiite Muslims. By the violent 1958 rebellion in Iraq, British forces were forced to withdrawal, because they had lost so much contol by then. Iraq has 113 billion barrels of known oil assets, but an additional suspected 220 billion barrels of more undiscovered oil assets. This is equal to a 98 year supply for the U.S. But instead of the current war in Iraq supplying more world oil assets, Iraq's production is now 900,000 barrels a day lower than during the days of Saddam Hussein. And the resulting regional uncertainty because of the U.S. entry into the new war with Iraq has only helped to fuel passions that elected the new radical government in Iran and raises nuclear tensions. A gallon of gas has also increased from $1.59 a barrel in 2003 just before the war to about $3.00 now. And a barrel of oil has increased from about $28 a barrel in 2003 before the war to about $70 now. In terms of increasing world oil supplies, lowering prices, or providing regional stability over MidEast oil supplies, the current Iraq War has failed on all levels. In terms of preventing a WMD threat, the weakess of all real reasons for entering Iraq, this has also been a gross failure.

What is left is a war of wills that George Bush invited with his stupid "cowboy" logic, "Bring it on" comment. Al Qaeda as well Muslim insurgent forces have made this war one of willpower. Both the Kerry and Levin amendments failed to recognize this fact. George Bush laid out a challenge to Muslim extremists that is difficult to take back. It is a sign of faith in Allah for Muslim extremists to stand up to a far superior force and to win. To back down to persons who behead hostages with a knife is a real sign of weakness, and a powerful sign that Allah blesses their violent actions. The U.S. and western world community hasn't seen terrorism yet like it will unleash if it backs down to this challenge that George Bush stupidly raised. New 9/11s could be very common in the U.S. and Western states around the world could face routine violence everywhere at any time.

For every possible reason the George Bush war in Iraq is a wrong one. But for every possible reason to contain more terrorism or more MidEast governments falling under control of dangerous radicals, some sort of U.S. success in Iraq to set up a democratic government that succeeds is needed to stabilize this region and act as a message to the Muslim radicals that Allah does not bless their version of theology based warfare.

The Kerry and Levin amendments just don't live in this realistic world. Although it is far more likely that the U.S. will fail in Iraq than succeed, still this war of wills that Bush invited needs to be concluded properly. The problems with terrorism and violence that the western world will see unless the Iraq and MidEast region can be restored to stability are simply too great. As much as I dislike the foreign policy of Bush, Iraq must be seen as his mistake. And Mr. Bush should be the one to conclude this mess, not the U.S. Senate. For lack of any better alternatives, the Bush policy in Iraq needs to succeed because the extremely high costs of failure are completely unacceptable.

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