All one had to do before Bush attacked Iraq was read a few books and keep up with the daily news to know that the United States could not militarily take Iraq and turn it into a democracy. Unfortunately, as Mr. Bush said himself, he does not read; he solely depends on his neocon advisors to tell him what he needs to know.
It was obvious from such minimal reading that Iraq had very little or nothing to do with terrorism around the world, including the World Trade Center tragedy. The only terrorist organization in Iraq was a small group located in the far northeast corner of Kurdish Iraq near the Iranian border, an area mostly controlled by the Iraqi Kurds, not by Saddam Hussein. (And their terrorism was directed toward the Kurds, not the rest of the world.) In fact, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden considered each other enemies, because Saddam was a secular leader and Osama wanted all Arabia to be controlled by fundamentalist Islamic law.
From the daily news before the war it was obvious that Saddam Hussein was releasing criminals from jail and providing weapons to almost every citizen to prepare for the urban guerrilla warfare that has taken over 1000 of our soldiers' lives and over 10,000 Iraqi lives and will continue to take many more lives until United States soldiers leave Iraq.
Minimal reading before Bush's Iraq War made it very clear that, if the United States attacked Iraq, it would be playing into the hands of terrorist organizations; in fact, doing Osama's work for him by getting rid of Saddam. It was to their advantage in recruiting more terrorists that Bush attacked Iraq; it is obvious that Bush is the terrorists' greatest recruiter now as he bombs Iraqi cities, which always causes the deaths of innocent people and incites more Iraqi and other Arabic youth to become terrorists. Bush's Iraq War caused the creation of robust terrorist organizations all over Iraq and provides the provocation to recruit members for them. It is ironic that one of the first actions of Bush's Iraq War was to virtually eliminate the terrorist organization in northeastern Iraq, even as the occupation was inciting the creation of terrorists organizations all over the rest of Iraq.
As a result of Bush's Iraq War citizens of the United States and of other countries of the world are in much greater danger of terrorism now than before. Instead of really getting rid of the terrorists in Afghanistan, Bush chose an action that created more terrorists in Iraq and in other countries to join those of Afghanistan, which are now increasing according to recent news reports.
Sure, I know that Bush probably really believed the untruths he and his administration told the world about possible WMDs in Iraq. However, closely following the work of the United Nations' inspectors before Bush forced them out of Iraq made that appear very unlikely and allowing the inspectors more time to work would have made it even more unlikely. If Mr. Bush really wanted to help protect the world against WMDs he would have been working, instead, to take the many old Soviet weapons out of the market place.
I also know that Bush now justifies his Iraq War solely by saying that a major dictator was dethroned. According to people who rate the evil of dictators around the world, Saddam Hussein was in fourth place. So one has to ask why did Bush choose a fourth-ranked dictator to depose instead of number 1 or 2 or 3? I do not need to answer that oily question, except to use the word Haliburton. But that goal of enriching US oil companies is also not working.
So the burning question now is: How does the United States and the world get out of this awful mess and great danger in which Mr. Bush so imperiously and ineptly put it? I think that the only way is to set a deadline to get United States soldiers out of Iraq and stick to it. Otherwise, it will drag on year after year, similar to the Vietnam War. In the meantime the United States must admit that its president made a huge disastrous mistake and ask the rest of the world to help us get out of the trouble Bush made for us and the world. Mr. John Kerry is proposing that approach. Mr. Bush seems to imply that the war will go on for many more years with no deadline for a United States exit, which means that thousands of more United States soldiers will die and tens of thousands of more Iraqi citizens will die, while creating more terrorists around the world.
When a president of any nation puts its nation in such peril, it is the patriotic duty of every citizen to oppose that person and the disastrous policies involved.
Sincerely yours, L. David Roper
Letter sent to The Roanoke Times, but not published.