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Happy “Mission Accomplished” Day!
Happy Mission Accomplished Day!

Five years ago March 19th, George Bush invaded Iraq with an estimated 250,000 troops. By May, that number was down to 150,000. Today, that number is approximately 158,000… 8,000 more troops today than after “Mission Accomplished” on May 1, 2003.

And with that, the White House had announced expectations of withdrawing troops from Iraq:

Would someone PLEASE remind these people that 40% of the troops they have fighting this “war” in Iraq AREN’T FULL TIME MILITARY? They are National Guard and Reservists, “weekend warriors” with jobs and families, that joined The Guard to fill sandbags in a hurricane. If they wanted to fight in a warzone, trapped by “stop loss” to play full-time soldier for five years, they would of joined the Army. It frustrates me to no one that the fact so many National Guard and Reservists are STILL there today, taken away from their families and regular jobs, being forced to serve as if they were “Regular Army”.

One weekend

A 100 year old law appropriately entitled “The Dick Act” required that the “Ready Reserve” (decommissioned soldiers, the Guard and the Reserves) be available to serve in the U.S. Military should the Army command it. In 1920, that law was amended to give the “Commander-in-Chief” the power to call up National Guard and Reservists to active duty, but only “in a national emergency declared by Congress.

Remember that Congress NEVER declared war against Iraq. President Bush assumed that right carried over in the authority given to him after 9/11 to pursue al Qaeda and “threats against the United States”. I think one would be hard-pressed to make the case that what is going on in Iraq today presents any “imminent threat” to the United States that justifies calling up the Ready Reserve and forcing them to serve as full-time soldiers.

The “Dick Act” also limits the time that Reservists can be forced to serve to just “24 months”, after which they must be released from service and sent home. But since no one is challenging President Bush’s assertion that Iraq is a “national emergency” and “imminent threat”, he has been allowed to “stop loss” these weekend warriors indefitely, LONG beyond that 24 month statute of limitations.

Republicans (and the Media) like to “remind” us at every opportunity that “the Surge worked! Violence is down dramatically in Iraq.” Of course violence is down in Iraq, we’ve essentially put 23,000 more cops on the beat… U.S. troops roaming the streets of Iraq are playing cop. And entire regions have been “ethnically segregated”, so there is less Sunni/Shi’ite infighting to control.

If you remember, “The Surge” was deemed necessary following an explosion of violence in late 2006 with record troop fatalities month after month. The White House blamed the uncontrolled spike in violence on “too few troops”. So, with that said, will there EVER be a situation where someone in this Administration WON’T argue that “fewer troops” might be “too few”, sticking us right back where we were at the end of 2006? We can’t bring the troops home when things are bad because “we can’t abandon the Iraqis” and “it will look like a retreat”. And we can’t bring troops home when things are good for fear of loosing all of our advances. So then what? This is the best example I’ve seen yet that Bush’s Iraq policy is doomed to failure: “an inability to bring the troops home regardless of conditions on the ground” multiplied by “a total lack of political progress”, equals “failure”.

As I’ve bemoaned here on M.R.S. several times before, I frequently find myself confronting “Bush Apologists” when approving Comments to my video archive on YouTube. Last week, I encountered two young “never retreat” Republican kids responding to one video, both arguing that withdrawing our troops from Iraq would leave Iraq in chaos. I reminded them that simply because we leave doesn’t mean Iraq would be defenseless. “Iraq’s security forces are larger than the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. And once we leave, the insurgents won’t have as many targets to shoot at, bringing the violence down to a number Iraq can control on its own.” They liked that answer, and I honestly believe the thought that Iraqi’s could defend their own country themselves ever occurred to them.

President Bush and Vice President Cheney argued before the war that one of the “threats” Saddam Hussein posed was that he “controlled all that oil”, suggesting he could use that supply to manipulate prices and hurt the global economy. As recently as 2006, Cheney stated:

“Think where we’d be if he was still there. He’d be sitting on top of a big pile of cash, because he’d have $65 and $70 oil.”

$70 oil! Whew, thank goodness we got rid of him! Just imagine what the world would be like if Saddam were still in power playing cat & mouse with thousands of international inspectors making his life miserable, while the price of gas climbed to over $2.50 a gallon! <Shudder>.

But at least life is better for the Iraqis.

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