We are losing war in Iraq war because flawed planning organization

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 12, 2005

This week new national polls revealed just how slight the support for the war is in America.

Sixty percent of Americans now believe that we should not have gone to Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein. If this war is the right war at the right time, then why won't the public support it?

I will assure any reader that the support for our troops is absolute among all Americans. Their brave and selfless service is a model of courage and commitment.

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However, each of their lives has so much potential that it is incumbent upon those of us at home to be certain that their lives are only at risk when we have no other alternatives to protect the vital interests of our country.

Perhaps this is where the doubt lies in the American public: Are our vital interests served by this war?

We went to war under confusing circumstances. After 9/11 we knew we were at war with terrorists worldwide. Our attack of the Taliban in Afghanistan was a decisive step in our response. If it is to be war, then we will fight.

We would not have chosen the war, but we will win it, sooner or later. We will prevail. Terrorism will not survive our power to protect the very heart of civilization.

But Iraq is not Afghanistan, and the reasons we went to war there are now coming back to haunt our decision to invest the lives of our men and women and the resources to support the war effort.

In the pre-war buildup by the administration, we heard so many claims, all to be later dismissed, about the necessity for the attack. There was no connection between the terrorists and Iraq. There were no bio-weapons labs on wheels.

There was no nuclear weapons program able to reach England in 45 minutes. Saddam had enacted no further atrocities on his people since the first Iraqi war. Then some connected with the administration suggested the President wanted war with Iraq for a period before the national debate.

Paul Simon, former Secretary of the Treasury said as much. Richard

Clarke, the White House terrorism expert, said the same. Bob Woodward mentioned the President's seeming intent in his book of 2003.

The claims continue to be made that the administration wanted this war, with or without a connection to any issues of Saddam or the war on terrorism. Recently, the Downing Street Memos strongly suggest that the administration wanted to fit the facts to its plan for war.

Now we find ourselves fighting the most disorganized effort we have ever fought. Our post-war plans have left citizens at risk of their lives daily.

They have less electricity than before the war. Less water. Less employment. Our re-construction projects are stopped due to the danger of the work.

The political process is still subject to collapse as the three groups represented have ideas from a theocracy to a loose federation for the constitution.

Iraqi elected officials are murdered daily. Iraqi police, often lacking weapons, are killed and targeted constantly. Our soldiers have still not had their Humvees fully armored; and, we are involved with fewer troops than it takes to successfully control the porous Iraqi borders and to protect the cities.

We have a military policy of cleaning up a town, leaving, and returning in 90 days to clean up the town again. On top of all of this, we have forgotten the Powell doctrine, the absolute necessity of an exit strategy.

This war was ill conceived and deeply flawed. It is time for a national debate on how to repair the damage.

Dr. Jim Crawford is a professor at Ohio University Southern. He can be reached at drjim893@msn.com.