politics, history and the war on terror
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Fisking Fritz 

United States Senator Ernest F. Hollings recently published an Op-Ed that attempts to explain how President Bush's "failed" policy in the Middle East has bred more terrorism. Before I deconstruct this article, I must make a few observations. This is perhaps the most poorly written opinion piece I have read. I would expect a United States Senator to be somewhat articulate and at the least employ an editor or speech writer to review the work prior to submission. I realize I am bordering on making an ad hominem attack on Senator Hollings, but reading this article will not give you the impression you are reading the work of a literary master.

With 760 dead in Iraq and over 3,000 maimed for life, home folks continue to argue why we are in Iraq -- and how to get out.

What do the 'away folk' think about the reasons we are in Iraq?

Now everyone knows what was not the cause.

Now everyone knows what was not that meant.

Even President Bush acknowledges that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. Listing the 45 countries where al-Qaida was operating on September 11 (70 cells in the U.S.), the State Department did not list Iraq. Richard Clarke, in "Against All Enemies," tells how the United States had not received any threat of terrorism for 10 years from Saddam at the time of our invasion.

President Bush never claimed Saddam was complicit in the 9/11 attacks on America. The claim was Iraq was a threat and obstacle to peace in the region, as well as a supporter of terror organizations such as Ansar al Islam and Hamas. Mr. Hollings is of the mind the war we are fighting should narrowly be confined to al Qaeda, and not expanded to the corrupt regimes and nations that support terror. He is in good company with many in the Democrat party well as some on the far right.

On Page 231, John McLaughlin of the CIA verifies this to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. In 1993, President Clinton responded to Saddam's attempt on the life of President George H.W. Bush by putting a missile down on Saddam's intelligence headquarters in Baghdad. Not a big kill, but Saddam got the message -- monkey around with the United States and a missile lands on his head. Of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. Israel's intelligence, Mossad, knows what's going on in Iraq. They are the best. They have to know.

Let's put aside the obvious grammar errors and sentence fragments. Mr. Hollings has the audacity to claim a cruise missile attack on Saddam's intelligence headquarters taught Saddam not to "monkey around with the United States." Saddam was so frightened, he proceeded to violate his UN obligations to disarm, attacked US warplanes, ejected UN weapons inspectors….. And what is the status of the WMD Saddam never had?

Israel's survival depends on knowing. Israel long since would have taken us to the weapons of mass destruction if there were any or if they had been removed. With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country? The answer: President Bush's policy to secure Israel. Led by Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, for years there has been a domino school of thought that the way to guarantee Israel's security is to spread democracy in the area. Wolfowitz wrote: "The United States may not be able to lead countries through the door of democracy, but where that door is locked shut by a totalitarian deadbolt, American power may be the only way to open it up." And on another occasion: Iraq as "the first Arab democracy ... would cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran but across the whole Arab world." Three weeks before the invasion, President Bush stated: "A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example for freedom for other nations in the region."

Why would Israel want America to invade Iraq if Iraq was no threat? I smell a logical contradiction. Mr. Hollings decides it is now time to play "blame the Jews" and states the real motivation for war was the promotion of Israeli security. Is it so difficult to understand that 9/11 was a watershed moment for our nation, when we decided we would no longer tolerate the breeding grounds of hatred and tyranny in the Middle East?

Every president since 1947 has made a futile attempt to help Israel negotiate peace. But no leadership has surfaced amongst the Palestinians that can make a binding agreement. President Bush realized his chances at negotiation were no better. He came to office imbued with one thought -- re-election. Bush felt tax cuts would hold his crowd together and spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats. You don't come to town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq. But George W. Bush, as stated by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and others, started laying the groundwork to invade Iraq days after inauguration. And, without any Iraq connection to 9/11, within weeks he had the Pentagon outlining a plan to invade Iraq. He was determined.

Perhaps he should read Bob Woodward's 'Plan of Attack', which clearly documents to Bush Administrations thought process. Iraqi regime change has been the policy of the US government since 1998, as stated by the Iraq Liberation Act, a law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton. The Pentagon is required to update war plans, and in light of the 9/11 attacks, it is prudent for the Pentagon to review the war plans for the Middle East.

President Bush thought taking Iraq would be easy.

Wasn't it?

Wolfowitz said it would take only seven days.

It took three weeks. Not a bad prediction for an operation as risky and chaotic as war.

Vice President Cheney believed we would be greeted as liberators.

Does anyone remember the fall of Saddam's statue? I'd say that was a decent greeting.

But Cheney's man, Chalabi, made a mess of the de-Baathification of Iraq by dismissing Republican Guard leadership and Sunni leaders who soon joined with the insurgents.

Note to Senator Hollings: the vast majority of the Republican Guard leadership and Sunni leaders are Ba'athist. How do you de-Baathify Iraq without removing Ba'athist. Is the answer to keep them in place?

Worst of all, we tried to secure Iraq with too few troops. In 1966 in South Vietnam, with a population of 16,543,000, Gen. William C. Westmoreland, with 535,000 U.S. troops was still asking for more. In Iraq with a population of 24,683,000, Gen. John Abizaid with only 135,000 troops can barely secure the troops much less the country. If the troops are there to fight, they are too few. If there to die, they are too many. To secure Iraq we need more troops -- at least 100,000 more.

This is the only portion of this article that has any merit. I may not agree (I tend to leave the details up to the experts), but you can reasonably make a good case for additional troop deployments. Now, back to our regular programming:

The only way to get the United Nations back in Iraq is to make the country secure. Once back, the French, Germans and others will join with the U.N. to take over.

Mr. Hollings states the obvious: the UN will not get involved in endeavors that require action, commitment and sacrifice. Talk about idealism: it is touching he believes the "French, Germans and others" are concerned about the well being of Iraqis and the establishment of democracy. The UN was so concerned about the plight of Iraqis they propped up the corrupt Oil for Food program and blocked UN resolutions that would have forced Saddam to cooperate with the inspections as well as resolutions that supported the liberation of Iraq.

With President Bush's domino policy in the Mideast gone awry, he keeps shouting, "Terrorism War." Terrorism is a method, not a war. We don't call the Crimean War with the Charge of the Light Brigade the Cavalry War. Or World War II the Blitzkrieg War. There is terrorism in Northern Ireland against the Brits. There is terrorism in India and in Pakistan.

I will concede terrorism is a method used by our enemy, but the 'War on Terror' is a somewhat accurate representation of our fight; we are fighting terrorists after all. And the terminology has stuck, there is no going back I highly suspect Senator Hollings and his politically correct cohorts would be up in arms if we accurately called this the 'War on Islamists'.

In the Mideast, terrorism is a separate problem to be defeated by diplomacy and negotiation, not militarily. Here, might does not make right -- right makes might. Acting militarily, we have created more terrorism than we have eliminated.

What planet has Mr. Hollings been on this past decade? And isn't he contradicting himself as he approved of the 'cruse missile diplomacy' used against Saddam? We were attacked on 9/11 because of our over reliance on diplomacy and negotiation, and too afraid to fight for our citizens and interests in the Middle East. Whom does he propose we negotiate with?

In the end, we should thank Senator Hollings. He has managed to place many of the pet conspiracy theories (Iraq was planned prior to 9/11; the Jews are behind the Iraq war), exaggerations (the administration said the war would be a cake walk; terrorists can be negotiated with) and lies (the UN, France and Germany would only help Iraq if is was not for President Bush; Saddam did not have WMD) of the left neatly into one article, on display for all to see. Senator Hollings is retiring from the Senate after this year; it is sad the voters of South Carolina will not get the opportunity to remove him from office. But the end result is the same; he will no longer have a voice in the Senate.

Posted by bill roggio @ 11:56 PM