What a world we live in. Let's look at Iraq. We know the President said ostensibly that the reason for invading was to find weapons of mass destruction, and prevent Saddam Hussein from using them. His removal from office could create a new democratic Iraq. America invaded and found no weapons of mass destruction ? not even a hint of them. Now the media is basically reporting that we are involved in a Civil War in Iraq, and we are losing it.
Somewhere in between the two ends of the story is the truth and you need to know it, so that you don't have to be inundated with bias from all sides of the media, both liberal and conservative. Let's go through the great myths of Iraq. Myth 1 ? Invading Iraq has helped us with the War on Terrorism Nonsense, there is no war on terrorism in Iraq. Osama Bin Laden attacked the two World Trade Center buildings in NYC more than five years ago. Hello, has anybody heard recently whether anybody is looking for Bin Laden anymore. If so who, what resources are being devoted to taking down this awful, hateful man? I suggest very little is being done.
Everyone's attention is on Iraq. Saddam Hussein was not an exporter of terror. He used terror as an internal weapon inside Iraq to control the very people that we obviously can't control. These people do not want a democracy, if they did, they would fight for it. Instead, they fight each other, even in the same neighborhoods. It's a Civil War folks, pure and simple.
Myth 2 ? The military's post war planning was okay, not great, but okay? Really, Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department could not have done a worse job if they had set out to do one as an objective. There was literally ZERO post war planning, compared to the actual invasion that took place. The looting of the civil infrastructure after our invasion, including the pilfering of museums was a tip-off as to how undermanned, and under planned we really were. Myth 3 ? If only we "Stayed the Course" as the President is fond of saying, it will work out in the end. There's a line that goes, "If you always do, what you always did, you'll always get, what you always got.
" In life, if something isn't working, YOU CHANGE IT. You do something else. You do not just keep doing what you were doing. This President is stubborn without being wise. Perhaps more than anyone else in the history of the modern Presidency, he shows a reluctance to learn from his mistakes, and total lack of desire to inquire as to alternative options.
He's LOCKED into a thinking that just doesn't work. He has never allowed the decision making process to be VETTED by opposing thinkers. In this behavior, he is unique, and foolish. Myth 4 ? Iraq will become Democratic in time. Sure, and I believe in the tooth fairy.
This is not the American Revolution, a unique era with a unique group of the best read, self-educated men in history. Unrivaled in courage, our founders had the desire to stand against England, and form a Republic for which it stands. President Bush is right, when he says; I haven't seen Thomas Jefferson in Iraq yet.
Jefferson doesn't exist in Iraq, and perhaps never will. Myth 5 ? Our situation in Iraq has made our position stronger in the world? Really, do you really want to argue this one? Iraq had the 4th or 5th largest standing army in the world. We demonstrated that we could take it apart, and destroy it in 29 days. This was a valuable lesson for the world to learn. In the aftermath, we demonstrated that we could not govern. We could not influence events.
Our influence frankly just broke down, and we did it in the face of the world, while everybody was watching. Our enemies and our friends recognize that we do not have the capacity to back up our rhetoric with military action anywhere else in the world, while we are bogged down in Iraq. Placing 140,000 troops currently in Iraq has made us incapable of operating anywhere else. If North Korea were to create a provocative act TODAY, what would we do? If Iran were to send troops into the Iraqi desert, or better yet to Saudi Arabia, or Kuwait, what would we do? We no longer have a draft. The military is having major problems fulfilling their current manpower requirements.
Has anybody noticed the disproportionate number of officers at the lieutenant level and above that are dying in Iraq. Last week, 3 lieutenant colonels were killed in action. This is unheard of in previous wars. It is because they are dying from roadside bombs that can strike anyone within a specified distance.
Myth 6 ? Those roadside bombs are made locally in terrorist hideouts in Iraq. Those bombs are being manufactured in Iran, and transported across the border with Syria's help, and we are doing NOTHING ABOUT IT. These are not simple devices.
They are technologically sophisticated. They required advanced machinery, and skill to produce. This expertise is not available in Iraq. These are shaped charges, and they are adjusting to the changes that the United States is making on the battlefield. Only Iran can produce such technology in that area. The United States has never held Iran accountable for its actions, or even mentioned it on the world stage.
What is going on here? Myth 7 ? The military was in agreement with Rumsfeld's policies or they would have protested? Do you think so, do you really honestly think so? Very few generals have what it takes to blow away a career by protesting about decisions being made by superiors. What we are seeing is what many of us thought we'd never see again ? the Viet Nam syndrome coming back to haunt us. During Viet Nam hundreds of officers knew our conduct of the war wasn't working. They kept their mouths shut, and said that some day when they had the power they would never allow this to happen again.
Here we are 30 years later, and you guessed it. The young officers who made those statements are now leading the armed forces of the United States, and they are just as quiet as their superiors were during the Viet Nam war. Every one of these officers knows that we went into Iraq on the cheap, in terms of our manpower. Oh yes, we had enough to destroy the Iraqi army, but certainly not enough to secure the peace. Colin Powell who knows a thing or two about waging war felt 300,000 plus troops were needed. Powell was smart enough to get out of government before it hit the fan.
So what do we do now? We declare victory in the field, and also declare an inability to build a democracy for a people where democracy is everybody's second choice. We then must concentrate on terminating Bin Laden, and being a responsible superpower.
Richard Stoyeck’s background includes being a limited partner at Bear Stearns, Senior VP at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn Loeb, Arthur Andersen, and KPMG. Educated at Pace University, NYU, and Harvard University, today he runs Rockefeller Capital Partners and StocksAtBottom.com