Islamic terrorists seize Saddam Hussein’s hometown after 500,000 flee unrest in Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul
Al-Qaeda-inspired militants seized effective control Wednesday of Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, expanding their offensive closer to the Iraqi capital as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts following clashes with the insurgents.
Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) took control a day earlier of much of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in a major blow to the authority of the country’s Shiite government.
An estimated half a million residents fled the economically important city.
Whoever is holding the pink slip on American Honor, you’re busted.
I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. Get rid of a bloodstained dictator, knock down the Ba’ath Party and rid the police and army of the loyalists to each. In short, level the political, security and bureaucracy and wait for democracy to grow.
Saddam held the power in that
nation kingdom for twenty-four years and it wasn’t entirely because he was brutal and kept such a tight grip, in part it was because he was what the majority of the people expected, and were used to. If the people of that region were evolving and wanted something different then they would have moved against him. Because to have an Democracy you need a tradition of free elections, free press, strong trust in the fundamental honesty of other fellow citizens living in areas of your country that you have never seen. These things take time, in South Korea development beyond rule by De Facto dictators or military rule required forty years. Iraq was to have less than five.
In the meantime, Saddam held what could be called a key position in the stability of the entire Middle East. He maintained pressure against Iran, doubly so towards Revolutionary Iran. The American Guns for Hostages deal in the eighties came about because the Iranians were hard pressed by Saddam’s Iraq. Likewise, contrary to some reports, Saddam knew better than to allow Al-Qaeda to operate in his country. He never gave them more than token support.
But, Venimus, Vidimus, Deus vicit at the cost of thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars of American Treasure. Somewhere in-between there were elections in America. The Democrats regained power, first in Congress then in the Executive Office. And the day that George W. Bush left office all our laurels turned to dust. Unlike S. Korea there was to be no steadying American political or military presence. No backstop of American naval and air bases to deter potent local enemies. The dream of a democratic Iraq turned out to be paper, and the paper is burning today while we watch. Syria would never have happened as it did if Iraq had a strong American presence. Iran stroked the fires of war and sectarian violence by airlifting supplies through Iraq’s airspace, not with Falcons in the air they wouldn’t. Boko Harum running wild, not with serious American ground forces and attack planes a single hop away. (OK, that’s a stretch). All the dreams and potential wasted after the price was paid and the prize was won. All because of one fool.
There’s an old saying we used a lot in my former career, “If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid”. I’m afraid the Iraq and especially Afghanistan wars can be described with, “If it was a dream but it wasn’t real, then it was a stupid idea in the first place”. Don’t start something you aren’t going to finish, don’t finish anything then leave the prize on the ground. Because that’s just stupid.