Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Letter...

Dear Mr. President,

I believed there were WMD's because our intelligence, as well as the intelligence of many other developed countries, said there were. (I really just believed because Colin Powell said so.) There were none, but that was ok because I also believed, and still do, that Saddam's refusal to abide by the UN resolutions was justification enough to remove him from office. I guess what I'm telling you is that I supported your decision to go to war. I still do. I believe in all the Churchill--Reagan--Thatcher of good vs. evil, freedom vs. tyranny rhetoric. But we need to have a heart to heart, and this is where it gets difficult.

We lost.

The 9/11 commission said that the terrorist attacks on America occurred because of a failure of imagination, and I believe our defeat in Iraq occurred for the same reason. There was an extreme lack of foresight when we invaded the country.

But mostly, we lost because we were wrong. I was wrong. My naivete led me to believe that everyone, when given the opportunity to live in freedom, where even the rights of the minority were protected, would see it as a no brainer. But apparently this is not so. I was wrong.

I admire you more than I admire most presidents, because you gambled big. But you gambled big and you lost. It's hard to put too fine of a point on it. You lost. We lost. Lost, lost, lost. It hurts to say words like "wrong," and "lost," but sometimes the best thing to do is to swallow the pill whole and admit failure. Not enough troops and poor strategic planning led to a fiasco of epic proportions.

But all is not lost. Your presidency is not lost. I know you believe that leaving Iraq is not an option, but you should rethink this. You will be known as the first president to wage a losing war. But what about also spending your last two years being known as the president who set us on a course to cure our country of it's addiction to oil. ("Addicted to oil," after all, is straight from your mouth.) In doing this you will make middle east violence irrelevant to our peace and security.

When we leave, Iraq will fall apart more than it already has. But this will happen if we leave or if we stay. The factions in Iraq will war with each other until they are fed up with war. It's madness, but sometimes you have to let people play out their madness until they are sick of it. This is not new, it's as old as time. Let it be a civil war. We had one and came out stronger because of it. But let them have their civil war without us being in the crossfire.

I say this as a supporter, not an adversary. The window of opportunity has closed. We lost. But there are probably worse things than losing. Let's not stick around to see what they are.



Anonymous said...

Morning, Craig. I agree (especially about oil addiction) more than disagree with this post, but my one concern if we just leave Iraq is that the rest of the Muslim world will view us as weak, which most of them do anyway. Who is to say that if we take our toys and go home, they will not come after us again HERE, on American soil? I am scared for the future of my children. It's a dilemma for sure.

Anonymous said...

This post is awful. (And I support Ralph Nader for president..notice I used the present tense of support). What really irks me about this post is the cavalier approach to a situation that we have an interest and a responsibility to find a solution. I would rather people watch entertainment tonight then our policitical discussion. ET has both substance and everyone knows that it is just about feeding some prurient interest.

Have you read the Baker Hamilton report? Do you realize how many college students are influenced by such off handed nonsense?

no blessing

jenA said...

Wow, you piss someone off and they withhold a blessing as a result? That's weird, and kind of mean.
And don't take this the wrong way, but I don't consider you enough of an authority on this topic to wholly influence the opinions of people with minds of their own. It certainly doesn't influence my own.

Lose is a weighty word. What did we lose?
Did we lose our fight to secure a peaceful democratic birth? Well, no democracy is made without tribulation - even if it's bloodless, it's still a trying process.

Did we lose our fight to make people get along despite ethnic and religious differences? That's a war we haven't won yet here.

Was it our fight to begin with? Depends on what level of responsibility you think Americans (Christians?) hold when it comes to making peace between people with whom they've engaged in global affairs.

Should we even be looking at this as a war? Should it have ever been called a war? I do think we got stuck in the middle of something, but I don't see a war here, and I don't believe closing the gate after the horse is out is the answer to what's been done in Iraq.

We made a pretty big mess trying to be the big brother of the world. Are we done cleaning it up?
Is it a loss if we leave before we've cleaned up our mess, or a loss if we've fulfilled our cleaning duty and still people die for supporting us or supporting democracy?

I'm all for pulling out now that a government is in place, and I feel the same way about Israelis and Palestinians as you feel about Iraqis.

Let them duke it out until they're tired, but what if somebody remembers whose side we were once on and gets ticked and comes over here to lash out? What then?

I think if we leave before we've given our best effort to show the world that we leave good things behind - things you can build a new society with - then yes, we've lost.

I wish the world knew the good we've done in Iraq. I wish Bush would stop calling it a war.

you can have my blessing for your words and wit and honesty
(though I'm not sure I'm qualified to give any)

Craig said...

Thanks for the comments.

Jen, I can't be totally certain, but I'm pretty sure Luke's post was tongue in cheek.

Robyn, I wouldn't be totally upset if the Muslim world, or any other world for that matter, saw us as week. I believe the reason we were attacked on 9/11 wasn't because of weakness but because of a perceived absolute strength. Canada didn't get attacked, we did. But I do agree with your premise, and I think it's an unfortunate truth about the the "Iraq front of the war on terror," which is that extremist Islam has declared war on us, and if it's either going to be fought here or there, then might as well be there.

Oy vey, I don't know.

Luke Smith said...

Dear Craid,
Tongue and blessing for you and no soup for you either.


Carn-Dog said...


I'm a big enough fan of you as a person, I'll buy most whatever you say, especially when it's about politics which I know little to nothing about.

greenISgood said...

Are you still arguing that we went to war to spread freedom and democracy? OhMyGosh!

I love the values and principles that have defined our country and distinguished our country from other countries. I believe in the supremacy of our system of government.

That’s not to say that we’ve been perfect, but I believe our system of government really is a unique achievement in modern political history. That’s because of the values created by the Constitution that the Founders, after a lot of debate, came to embrace. The Founders talk about this in the Federalist Papers - and part of their debates were in the Constitutional Convention.

The government our founders created was designed, first and foremost, to prevent any one individual or political group from consolidating unchecked power, and from insisting that the country’s prosperity and its freedom lay in putting the trust in a single individual, rather than distrusting our political leaders and insisting on their compliance under the law in a transparent way. That is really the centerpiece of what our government is – insistence that political leaders always remain limited in their power and subject to the law – precisely because we don’t trust government officials to exercise power properly. That really is how the Founders wanted our liberties to be protected.

What we have now is the very opposite of that. We've had a President who is claiming the right to exercise power without any limitations. To me, what a patriot does is take a stand in defense of the principles that have made our country great.

Those principles are all under assault by this Administration. The powers they’re insisting on are exactly the powers that the Founders waged the Revolutionary War to get away from. They’re the powers of a king.

Anyone who loves the United States and believes in the principles and values that it embodies will be opposed to the kinds of theories of power and abuses of power that this Administration is embracing, regardless of political ideology or partisan allegiance. Those are the values that have always defined what America is.

BUT, I do agree with you on something here. Let's bring our troops home now - Enough is Enough!

Anonymous said...

Enough is enough? What exactly is that supposed to mean? One of the things so ironic about much of the opinion with regards to the conflict in Iraq, there seems to be little real analysis. The Middle East is of great strategic importance to the United States. Simply asserting that we should be energy independent for example does not make it so. Any kind of energy independence would take decades. Not to mention the fact that even if we were independent it would not make us free from the problems created by failed states around the world. It is not in the US strategic interest to see the Middle East have another Lebanon.

For those who talk about the current administration as somehow seeking to destroy all that America stands for...I just have no idea where to begin a response. If you want to look at a presidency asserted the power of the executive to unheard of power...look at FDR. Where are the ideas? Nancy Pelosi? Barack Obama? What are they talking about to further the needs of the country? Let's talk with Iran. What if they don't want to talk? What do you do then? Would you really write such a letter to the president? If he read your letter what would he have to say? Okay we lost and then.... game over. It is not a game. There is not an off button. Something has to be done.


Craig said...


You asked me a few weeks ago on a response, now it's time for me to ask you...

Why the angst?

Luke Smith said...

Bah Humbug