from the state of the union 2007, i'll synthesize a response to the previous post.
"Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled: that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy. (Applause.)"
Taking the fight to the enemy seems to be the current leading reason to be in iraq.
"From the start, America and our allies have protected our people by staying on the offense. The enemy knows that the days of comfortable sanctuary, easy movement, steady financing, and free flowing communications are long over. For the terrorists, life since 9/11 has never been the same.
Our success in this war is often measured by the things that did not happen. We cannot know the full extent of the attacks that we and our allies have prevented, but here is some of what we do know: We stopped an al Qaeda plot to fly a hijacked airplane into the tallest building on the West Coast. We broke up a Southeast Asian terror cell grooming operatives for attacks inside the United States. We uncovered an al Qaeda cell developing anthrax to be used in attacks against America."
translation: If we leave Iraq, we'll be bombed at home.
"Every success against the terrorists is a reminder of the shoreless ambitions of this enemy. The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that's the case, America is still a nation at war.
In the mind of the terrorist, this war began well before September the 11th, and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled"
Often, the reason we're given for spending billions of $ and thousands of lives is to work against nebulous concepts like "the enemy" and "terrorists".
"In the sixth year since our nation was attacked, I wish I could report to you that the dangers had ended. They have not. And so it remains the policy of this government to use every lawful and proper tool of intelligence, diplomacy, law enforcement, and military action to do our duty, to find these enemies, and to protect the American people. (Applause.)
This war is more than a clash of arms -- it is a decisive ideological struggle, and the security of our nation is in the balance. To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred, and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and to come and kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom..."
I call that mostly fear-mongering. America has always had enemies and full-scale invasion into this particular country at this particular time is not the answer. Save the troops for a clear and present danger. I'm all for special ops going after terrorist groups- a dozen Delta Force groups of 50 going after a dozen terrorist groups of 100 who plan to bomb things, etc.. But not 180,000 troops against half of Iraq where the reasons for fighting blurs into a national occupation force which in itself creates reasons for 'insurgents' to fight that has nothing to do with 'fearing human freedom'. Bring the troops home now.
"And in 2005, the Iraqi people held three national elections, choosing a transitional government, adopting the most progressive, democratic constitution in the Arab world, and then electing a government under that constitution. Despite endless threats from the killers in their midst, nearly 12 million Iraqi citizens came out to vote in a show of hope and solidarity that we should never forget. (Applause.)"
thats my favorite line from the speech. i think thats a tangible benefit to the war/occupation.
" If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. We could expect an epic battle between Shia extremists backed by Iran, and Sunni extremists aided by al Qaeda and supporters of the old regime. A contagion of violence could spill out across the country -- and in time, the entire region could be drawn into the conflict."
Id have to be closer to the situation to really evaluate the likelyhood of this. Its an important consideration for sure. But from what I know, I still say the chance is not worth more billions and more hundreds/thousands of american lives.
Bumper Sticker: "Trillion Dollar Wars, who needs healthcare?"