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Mr. President, don’t turn the Iraq page before reading it…

September 1, 2010 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.com) In his address to the American people from the Oval Office, President Obama spoke about “the end of our combat mission in Iraq, the ongoing security challenges we face, and the need to rebuild our nation here at home.” He stated that America’s future is “ours to shape” and with the end of combat in Iraq we can move forward with confidence. How do you shape your future if you fail to acknowledge and address your failures of the past?

The president correctly stated, “The United States has paid a huge price to put the future of Iraq in the hands of its people.” It is estimated that after seven and a half years of fighting, American’s spent over $900 billion, an estimated 4,417 American soldiers dead, and by some estimates Iraqi civilian causalities at over 600,000. After all of this time, blood, and treasure; “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” What American’s don’t really know is why?

President Obama said, “This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush.” Well, what did he say? Where are the Weapon’s of Mass Destruction (WMD’s); the yellow cake uranium, and the mobile biological weapon’s labs? Did Bush happen to mention having any evidence of Saddam Hussein’s involvement in 9/11 or Saddam’s relationship with Osama bin Laden? The president said, “Now, it is time to turn the page.” How can American’s turn the page when they have not read it?

President Obama tried to close the issue regarding the former Bush administration by saying, “The greatness of our democracy is grounded in our ability to move beyond our differences, and to learn from our experience as we confront the many challenges ahead.” Actually, what makes our democracy great is our ability to hold our elected representatives accountable for what they say and do in the name of America. To bring an end to combat operations in Iraq with out holding those accountable who misled the nation and took it into war is an insult to this great democracy, “We the People“.

As President Obama turned his focus towards Afghanistan he said, “Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who-under the command of General David Petraeus -are fighting to break the Taliban’s momentum.” Critics are asking the question “is the Obama administrations approach to the problems in Afghanistan/Pakistan going to be their Vietnam?” As America faces its most difficult economic challenges in recent history, compare President Obama’s Afghanistan/Pakistan with President Johnson’s Vietnam. Are the same mistakes that were based on arrogance, hubris, and a misplaced sense of empire being made again?

President Obama and his advisors should learn from history, some ancient some modern, and not repeat it. This is the region of the world that has never been defeated militarily. It is where empires go to die. The Greeks, Indians, Persians, Mongolians, British, and Russians have tried to hold Afghanistan but never succeeded. How do you shape your future if you fail to address your failures of the past?

On the domestic front President Obama stated, “We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits.” At the time when America finds itself in the worst recession since the Great Depression, last week the president signed a multibillion-dollar bailout bill for cash-strapped states but cut $12 billion from future food stamp funding to help pay for it. While at the end of July Congress passed a $33 billion supplemental war bill for President Obama’s troop surge in Afghanistan.

The president was correct, “…at this moment, as we wind down the war in Iraq, we must tackle those challenges at home with as much energy, and grit, and sense of common purpose as our men and women in uniform who have served abroad.” American’s can not feed their families on energy. School systems can not purchase books and supplies for their students with grit. The unemployed worker can not pay the rent with common purpose. They need resources that for the past seven and a half years have been misspent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

America has committed an additional $33 billion for a supplemental war bill for a troop surge in Afghanistan? National priorities are determined by the manner in which a nation allocates its limited resources; how and where it spends its money. Do we buy books or bullets?

Last night from the Oval Office the president announced the end to the combat mission in Iraq. “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.” American’s can’t “turn the page” since they’ve never been allowed to read it. What they really need to know is why?

Written By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III


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