Friday, May 22, 2015

A Brief History of the Road to Iraqi Ruin

by Jon Phillips
When George Herbert Walker Bush and dozens of international partners collaborated to expel Iraq from Kuwait, the first Bush administration sought wise counsel about whether it should invade Iraq and unseat Saddam Hussein. The advice given was to stop ground forces at the border and to make an end of the air war, subject to invasive WMD inspections and rendering harmless. Later, enforced no fly zones, over southern and northern Iraq, were installed to protect Iraqi minorities. This policy was accepted and followed. Although Iraq suffered under sanctions and its economy collapsed, warfare stopped and some semblance of security remained in Iraq. Saddam remained the uncontested power in Iraq and excluded terrorists and nihilists from Iraq to bolster his own regime security. He even tolerated minorities such as Christians to the extent that they didn't threaten his power position. The WMD programs were systematically deconstructed and eliminated.

I was there in the mid 90's and that was the situation on the ground. The country was not destabilized and life went on. When George W. Bush, 'Dubya,' became President he was given advice to not invade for the same reasons as were given to his Dad (don't open Pandora's Box). He ignored this advice and lied America's way (ex-CIA Director Michael Morrell recently reiterated this) into a disaster that has destabilized Iraq and arguably threatens to destabilize the whole region. Terror groups and nihilists have gained a foothold, Islamic sects and ethnic groups are at war, religious minorities have been destroyed or dispersed, and are dying or fleeing to neighboring countries and beyond.

Dubya's 'Grand Old Partyy' desperately wants everyone to forget the horror they lockstep agreed to unleash. None, except Colin Powell, have publicly admitted the travesty of this decision for disaster and apologized for their role in it. Powell was largely a critic of the idea, as he was the first time as Chair of JCS, but ended up going along with it. His compliance ended his outstanding career in public service -- blemished by association.


 Now, the U.S. evangelical Christian community says they're appalled by the genocide committed against their brethren in Iraq and the region. They should be. They should also ask themselves some soul searching questions -- did they vote to put Dubya in office? Are they voting now for people who support greater U.S. war fighting commitments around the globe? Are they willing to send their children to fight in open-ended insurgencies and willing to witness more resulting chaos, genocide and ethnic cleansing that results from power vacuums created?

I pondered these questions and found them so unsettling that I decided to change parties after more than 25 years (something I've written about before). I could not, in good conscience, vote for a party that would do such things and then deny their responsibly and continue to promote policies that would further degrade regional, international and U.S. security.

If Christians in the U.S. give a damn, they must tell their Republican representatives that they won't accept anymore war mongering from them and ask them to come clean on Iraq. Otherwise, I don't want to hear their insincere and/or ignorant whining about the catastrophe that has ensued from their horrific decisions. The devil didn't do this. Bush, backed by over 95% of all Republicans in the House and Senate, made this travesty a reality. They created the conditions to allow the devil to run amok. House Democrats voted 2 to 1 against the Iraq Resolution.

As for me, I'd rather vote for people who aren't so gung ho to go to war.
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Jon Phillips is a Senior Nuclear Technology Expert at the International Atomic Energy Agency and Director, Sustainable Nuclear Power Initiative at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The opinions expressed here are his own.

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