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RE: Anatoly Tsaliovich

Reader comment on item: What If the United States Had Not Invaded Iraq

Submitted by Loren (United States), Nov 28, 2005 at 16:10

Congradulations Anatoly for your thoughtful and intelligent comments on this issue - a refreshing perspective from someone who has experienced history firsthand.

I have to say that I hate the cost of the Iraq war in blood and dollars. But lets look back into history and see if there are lessons that might be relevant to todays struggle in Iraq.

I watched the movie "Back to the Future" a few years ago and it left me with the thought -- what if you could go back in time and do something that would change the course of history. What if, for example, we had taken preemptive military action against Hitler and his gangsters in the 1930's. Hitler's intentions were quite clear in "Mein Kampf" written years earlier. Now, of course, preemptive action at this time was out of the question because the American people, Congress and president Roosevelt had no political will for this opportunity. In addition we were a third rate military power at the time.

But, if we had been able to push over Hitler in the 1930's, we could have potentially saved the lives of 400,000 American soldiers, the horrendous genocide in the gas chambers, and 50? million lives that were lost during WWII. In addition, we spent trillions in todays dollars to finally put an end to the war. Did we win it? I think we lost a hell of a lot!!

Now of course, one can argue that Hussain's Iraq was not Hitler's Germany and that he didn't exhibit the same threat to our security. Many folks in the 30's thought that Hitler was pretty harmless and could be appeased. Many today think we should have taken a hands off approach and negotiated with Saddam and the Bathists. But given the lessons of history, and the potential access of WMD by rogue regimes, I think that President Bush - and Congress - made a very courageous and correct decision to preempt in Iraq.

Sure, there have been many mistakes, as there are in all wars, but I do believe the end result our taking a stand in Iraq will change the climate in the Middle East for the better and make our country safer.

The potential downside our preemptive strike is that we as a nation may not have the political will to act again when it would be to our advantage. That scares me a bit.

The lives lost by our servicemen has been tragic, but then check out the CDC Injury Mortality Reports here:

http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html .

If 150,000 male troops in Iraq between 18-22 years of all races had stayed in the United States since Mar, 2003, about 449 would have died from violent or non-violent injuries. The figure is far worse for Washington DC. In fact, for some who live in urban slums, it would have actually been safer serving as a soldier in Iraq.

A final thought. Did we lose the war in Vietnam? On paper yes. But was there a cause and effect relationship between our taking a stand in Vietnam and the collapse of the Soviet Union? I wonder. I'll let this question be answered by much better informed historians than I, like Dr Pipes.

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