By State Representative, Leon D. Young
Say what you will about Saddam Hussein. Some have called him a “tyrant,” “dictator,” “ruthless” or plain “maniacal,” but the truth of the matter is Saddam’s presence (as the undisputed ruler of Iraq) served a useful and necessary purpose.
Moreover, his iron-clad domination was the only thing that held this splintered country together, and prevented its various religious sects (Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds) from annihilating each other.
Now that Saddam is no longer around and U.S. military forces have been withdrawn, Iraq stands squarely on the precipice of diving into a murderous civil conflict.
President Obama has recently opted to send 200 military advisers to Iraq to help its struggling security forces fend off a wave of Sunni militants who have overrun large parts of the country.
But, how did the United States get caught up in this political quagmire in the first place?
Make no mistake about it, the Iraq disaster remains George W. Bush’s enduring folly.
This was, and should always be, viewed properly as Bush’s misguided military misstep that still plagues our nation.
This showcase of American deceit, obvious to the entire world, began with the invented weapons of mass destruction threat that Bush, were he even cognizant of the intelligence data, must have known represented an egregious fraud.
So was his nonsensical claim that Saddam Hussein had something to do with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, when in fact he (Saddam Hussein) was Osama Bin Laden’s most effective Arab opponent.
Yet Bush responded to the 9/11 attacks by overthrowing a leader who had banished al- Qaida from Iraq and who had been an ally of the United States in the war to contain Iran’s influence in the region.
Instead of confronting the funders of Sunni extremism based in Saudi Arabia, the home of 15 of the 19 hijackers and their Saudi leader bin Laden, Bush chose to attack the secular leader of Iraq.
In 2008, then presidential candidate, Barack Obama campaigned vigorously against the war in Iraq, but once assuming the Oval Office, his administration has had to walk a political tightrope between winding down the conflict and providing enough military support to establish and bolster Iraqi security forces.
The president is well aware that America must shoulder some, if not all, the blame for helping to destabilize this region of the world in the aftermath of Saddam.
But, if history teaches us anything, the decision to send 200 “military advisers” into a de facto war zone is risky business at best, and is nothing more than a shell game before the U.S. feels pressure to resort to more stringent military measures.
Mr. Obama now finds himself on a slippery slope in regards to his foreign policy in Iraq.
It remains to be seen if this conflict will become a “full-blown albatross” for his presidency.