Before the war in Iraq and before 9/11, there was the Project for the New American Century. The organization ostensibly began with the goal of promoting American Global leadership. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, a group of Americans mapped out a plan to gain power and influence, through the use of American military strength. They believed that if they could convey clearly to the American people a sense of moral clarity as to the need for a strong America, the next century would be an American century, dominated by American power and influence. They saw an opportunity, with the collapse of the Soviet empire, to use and seize power around the world.
The Project for the New American Century began in 1997 and was disbanded in 2006.
In the intervening years the group of neo-conservative foreign policy advocates, that headed PNAC, had an undue influence on the direction of the United States foreign policy that left us weaker and with a corrupted view of power.
Teddy Roosevelt was reputed to have said that America would never be loved but respected. When the neo-cons came to power along with President George W. Bush, we lost respect and now we are feared.
Their stated goals were to topple countries that were not willing to toe the line. They showed a willingness to disregard treaties and a willingness to flaunt international law. Most importantly they wanted to control our energy sources.
The war in Iraq was a direct result of the Bush Administrations eagerness to use force without cause.
War should not be the first choice to resolve differences but the last choice. Diplomacy was not even considered. With Iraq the neo-cons saw an opportunity to use our military strength to topple a regime and theoretically gain control of the oil in the region.
There were no flowers and fruit awaiting our brave soldiers. Iraq was full of unintended consequences. We were given more IED’s than we were given flowers.
In a country that was artificially created after World War I, we claimed with a huge amount of hubris that we were going to bring Democracy to a country divided by religion and tribes.
We as a nation became unrecognizable. We were the aggressors. Iraq never attacked the United States.
President Bush articulated the Bush Doctrine and tried to justify his doctrine of Pre-emptive world order. Any country can be a potential threat to any nation’s security. That does not justify any country’s attack on another nation.
For individuals who like to wrap the American flag around themselves, it is just plain wrong to lie to the American people about the invisible weapons of mass destruction. Oh, that’s right President George W. Bush jokingly said once that the weapons of mass destruction were actually under his desk.
Those leading advocates who wanted to use our power because we are the only super power will live in infamy. From William Kristol, former Vice President Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Lewis Libby and others, they promised us flowers but we have received ashes in return. We have received the ashes of the dead and the dying. We have seen far too many of our brave young men and women come back from Iraq sick and confused.
We have lost those gallant men and women who gave us their full measure of devotion in serving our country. We lost trillions of dollars in treasure and an incalculable amount of treasure in lives of not only Americans but Iraqi citizens as well. We went from being the biggest creditor nation in the world to being the biggest debtor nation in the world. But what we lost most of all was our honor and reputation.
The war led us into debt, a debt of money and honor. We saw acts of torture that should have shamed us as a nation.
America is supposed to be the good guys in the white hats. America helped save the world from the scourge of fascism and we helped break the back of the totalitarian hell of Stalin’s Gulag and empire. We rebuilt Europe with the Marshall Plan. For many in the world we have represented that shining city on the hill. The land of freedom and opportunity. We were looked up to and now we need to regain our honor and respect around the world.
Those were dark times, and we do not know what the final outcome of our endeavors in Iraq will be for some time.
For too long we have seen old men send young men and women off to fight wars on foreign soil for no good reason. If we are to preserve our dignity and honor we should demand of our leaders a real reason for committing young people to fight and die for us. Our Constitution demands of our Congress that we declare war, by voting to do so. The last time that happened was when we declared war in World War II. We need to return to that honorable tradition. We owe no less to our young men and women who serve their country. We owe this duty to not only our current generation but to future generations that we will not risk the lives of any of our own unless our interests are really at stake or if our nation is really under attack.