As I See It |

As I See It

Greek mythology tells the tale of Pandora, who came with a sealed box that she had been warned not to open. But her curiosity and willfulness got the better of her, so she pried open the lid, and out poured all the diseases and evil emotions which have plagued mankind ever since. And once they escaped there was no way of putting them back in the box.

Now we have George W. Bush, president of the United States, whose willfulness led him to invade Iraq, prying open the lid of another Pandora’s box and releasing a torrent of consequences which are currently plaguing us.

The big difference between Pandora and Bush is that nobody told Pandora what might be in that box, whereas Bush had all kinds of warnings about what might be in the Iraq box. But in his messianic zeal to depose Saddam Hussein, he chose to ignore them. Sadly most of the consequences which were predicted have turned out to be true, and we, the American people will inherit the terrible cost in lives and money of Bush’s folly.

The unexpected sudden collapse of the Iraqi military and resultant quick “victory” for the American invasion forces may have been the well-thought-out plan of a wily adversary who, realizing he could not defeat the United States’ overwhelming military superiority in the field, elected instead to sucker us into an occupation so he could wear us down in a never-ending guerrilla war.

And make no mistake about it, that is exactly what we are now caught in. It begins to smell like another Vietnam.

Saddam clearly understands the Muslim Iraqi mind, and knows how to use it to his advantage. It is equally obvious that our leaders were totally ignorant of the workings of that mind. None of the results they had counted on to make their ill-advised venture work have materialized.

The Iraqis were supposed to welcome us with open arms and take up the cause of democracy like a new religion.

It is true that most Iraqis were happy to see Saddam overthrown, but that doesn’t mean they are willing to accept our military occupation of their country. Our presence has turned out to be a disaster for most of the Iraqi people, because we cannot control the sabotage which makes it impossible to maintain electric power or a dependable water supply.

And Iraq’s oil production, which we counted on to pay the enormous cost of reconstructing war-ravaged Iraq, has failed to materialize because of continuing sabotage. This sabotage, and the constant picking off of our troops with sniper fire, recently escalated by major terrorist bombings, are clearly intended to make our continued occupation as unacceptable to the American people as it is to the Iraqis.

The Muslim mind sets no time limits on achieving its objectives. They will continue the fight as long as it takes. Years, decades, centuries – it makes no difference. We should have been aware that this would happen.

Our leaders also failed to take into account the historical animosities of the many conflicting factions in Iraq: Sunni Muslims, competing Shiite Muslim sects and Kurds. These were kept in check by the iron fist of Saddam. With that removed, the result is likely to be a Balkanization of Iraq.

Furthermore, instead of helping in our war on terrorism, our invasion of Iraq has greatly expanded it. Muslim terrorists of all persuasions are being united in their objective of wreaking vengeance on their perceived common enemy, very likely here in the United States as well as in Iraq.

How long can we afford to cough up hundreds of billions of dollars a year – at the cost to our economy and standard of living – to support Bush’s folly? The decision is ours. There are many examples in history of countries whose economies have failed or been weakened by the high cost of ill-conceived wars.

But will it be possible to put the mess in Iraq back in the box?

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