Eight years ago our military forces were committed to freeing the Iraqi people from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein & Company. Suddenly I find myself wondering, "Did the people of Iraq even desire our help, or did we - once again - just assume the mantle of the Global Police Force?".
The Allied Coalition Forces in Iraq have sacrificed a total of approximately 4,700 ±1% young lives to "free" the Iraqi people. Eight years later we are still there trying to accomplish the task and.or maintain some level of "freedom". And, from the look of things, we may still be there in 2017! Could it be that the majority of Iraqis just don't give a rats ass about our brand of freedom, and just wanted to be out from under Hussein's thumb? Perhaps their idea of freedom is the freedom to be ruled by the Taliban - or some other Islamic fundamentalist concept. The South Vietnamese people had essentially the same situation - and demonstrated the same attitude. The South Vietnamese goverment wanted help holding on, but the people in general didn't seem to care who was running the show, so long as they had their own little farm or rice paddy to work in. And they demonstrated this lack of interest in the way they "fought" against the North Vietnamese. The Iraqi's seem to have a corrupt government (but then, who doesn't?), and military and police forces that are largely in confused disarray! The Iraqi people either don't care, or are content to let the outsiders do all the fighting for them. The battles seem to be primarily composed of western outsiders fighting Arabic outsiders - the "western invaders" vs. the "Islamic incursionists". Where are the Iraqi forces?
Of those roughly 4,700 Coalition Forces lives lost, 4,375 (94%) are the lives of young Americans!
Then we got sucked into Afghanistan chasing Taliban and al Qaeda phantoms. Judging only from the pictures I have seen, Afghanistan has an unearthly appearance about it. There is virtually nothing green in the entire country! It's probably 90% dirt and dirt derivatives -sand, dirt, mud and rocks, occasionally interspersed with rocks, mud, dirt and sand. This desolate landscape looks like it belongs more on the Moon than it does on planet Earth. No wonder their main export is opium... anything else refuses to grow under those conditions! In Afghanistan the figures are 1,533 total Coalition fatalities, with 930 being American deaths (rounds off to 61%).
Why do I have an extremely difficult time believing that the CIA, Britain's MI-5 and MI-6, and Israel's Mossad - supposedly the top intelligence agencies in the free world - have no idea where Osama bin Laden is hiding? How easy can it be to hide a really ugly 6'4" Arab who needs daily dialysis, and is surrounded by a couple of dozen men carrying sub-machine guns? Somebody knows exactly where he is - it's just not profitable enough to divulge that information at this point in time. Since $25,000,000 isn't enough of a reward, money must not be the required currency. What else is there? Political currency is most probably the preferred method of payment... power! Our own intelligence agencies (FBI, CIA, NSA, etc,) are so territorial that they don't even share information between them at the inter-agency level. That being said... how can we be so naive as to expect the exchange of intelligence information at the international level?
So we now have a substantial investment in human lives, as well as an astronomical financial investment in the world's largest sandbox. Investments that the permanent occupants of the region don't seem willing to make themselves! Is that not UNBELIEVABLE? Are we the dumbest people on the planet, or what?
What we seem to have there is the philosophy of our Welfare System on STEROIDS! "Give to those who are incompetent, illiterate, or just too lazy to provide for themselves." We can train their military and police forces - we can teach them the mechanics of democracy. What we cannot do is supersede 1,500 years of culture and religious tradition, nor can we instill in them the desire and the motivation to cast off the shroud of religious and social tyranny in favor of freedom. America's type of freedom is a concept with which the bulk of Arabs have little or no familiarity, and for which they have virtually no respect. The mindset seems to be one of: "To endure the constraints which others force upon you as freedom is strength. To be free to choose those things which make up one's life is surely a sign of weakness."
I support our troops and their efforts wherever they may be deployed. But those deployments can only be successful when there is the full commitment of our government behind them, not some half-assed, namby-pamby political CJ telling the battlefield commanders how they may fight the battle. THEY SHOULD ALWAYS BE ALLOWED TO FIGHT TO WIN! We should have learned that from the Korean "police action"... but we didn't. We should have learned that lesson from Vietnam War... but, apparently we didn't. Politicians (the scum of the Earth) dictated the conditions under which our military commanders would fight. Both encounters were non-victories - and at tremendous cost! Let the warriors do that which they have trained for - fight and win wars, and let the politicians do what they do best - plunder the treasury and nothing! Let the Generals command, and the politicians observe.
The Obama "Rules of Engagement" are basically ridiculous! Rules like these could not possibly be set forth by anybody who wished to win a military confrontation:
There will be no night or surprise searches.
Villages have to be warned prior to searchers.
U.S. soldiers may not fire on the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
U.S. forces could not engage the enemy if civilians are present, and troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch them placing an IED but not if they're leaving the site of where they just placed one.
These Rules of Engagement (ROE) are not that far from those given during Vietnam. The idiocy of such "rules" becomes especially clear since the enemy has only one rule - Kill as many of the infidel dogs as you can! I'm surprised there's not a ROE stating:
"You cannot attack if you suspect the enemy has inferior weaponry." or
"You cannot attack if you think the enemy has poor dental hygiene."
A government that does not give it's military complete support will find itself without the support of that military in time of need.