By Paul L. White
© 2009, Paul L. White
In order to understand President Bush’s logic in initiating a war on Iraq, I believe one has to go back and study the military history of ours and other countries.
Three great military strategists come to mind in this regard: Sun Tzu, Liddell Hart and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. We can glean from them the wisdom that President Bush more than likely used in his military decisions as Commander-in-Chief.
Note: as a mere citizen of this country, and not a government official, I can only do what other citizens do and surmise. In no way do I claim any inside information on this subject.
First of all, so many have suggested that the proper response to 9-11 would have been to attack Afghanistan and Afghanistan alone, with the purpose, of course, of capturing Osama Bin Laden.
However, I compare that approach to a baseball game in which the pitcher does the pitching and the fielding … all by himself!
A baseball field is a large arena, and therefore needs a team of defenders to protect it properly. Likewise, the “field of insurgency” in the Middle East is a large arena, and needs a group of freedom-loving nations to stymie that insurgency, and thus protect our own shores.
So ... how to secure the field? First of all, we must recognize that the insurgency at the time of 9-11 was pretty much concentrated in four countries: Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran was the largest, and potentially most dangerous, of the four, or so it would appear at a quick glance.
Sun Tzu teaches us that the best way to win a battle is to not fight it until the enemy has already defeated himself. Liddell Hart spoke of the indirect approach in military strategy, and illustrated that approach with a battle fought by Hannibal. He stated that Hannibal chose to take his men across mountainous rock and ice to get at the enemy’s rear rather than attack the enemy’s front because rock and ice were much less formidable opponents than human will!
I joined the Military Book Club in my 20s, and read more than one volume, from that club or from used book fairs, about both Generals Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.
Somewhere in that reading I learned that General MacArthur, who was given the awesome duty of defeating Japan in the Philippines, demonstrated complete brilliance and wisdom applying principles similar to these from Sun Tzu and Hart.
The Philippines are a string of islands, some large and some small. If memory serves, the Japanese had set up strong defenses on the large islands, and light defenses, if any, on the small ones.
General MacArthur attacked and defeated the small, less well defended islands, thus creating an effective breach in the supply lines for Japan. Soon the larger islands had to capitulate because they simply withered without the necessary materiel.
Please click to see a larger version.
If we study a map of the four Middle East nations involved in the massive insurgency in 2001, we see Iraq on the west, Iran in the middle, and Afghanistan and Pakistan bordering Iran on the east, in the north and south respectively.
To the immediate west of Iraq is both Israel, and its supportive, non-insurgent Arab neighbor Jordan. Christians and Jews believe that to honor Israel is to honor God and incur His favor, while to dishonor Israel is to incur His punishment.
But even if one is of a different faith, it is clear that Israel and Jordan provide major deterrents to militancy in this region of the world. So, if for no other reason than that reality, it was necessary to protect those nations from their dictatorship neighbor (Iraq) … and protect them first.
Iran has long stated that they wanted Israel "wiped off the map." However, it stands to reason that, most generally, the true purpose of one nation defeating another is not simply to "wipe them out." It is, instead, to get plunder!
In order for Iran to "get plunder" from Israel, they would have to march ground and mobile troops into that country to collect such plunder.
Therefore it makes sense to liberate Iraq first in order to prevent Iran from being able to move such troops into Jordan and Israel.
Also, Iraq made an ideal "first strike" in the process of defending from insurgency because its leader lived in houses, not caves. Therefore our troops could single out one or more houses to find and capture him.
As it turned out, once the people of Iraq were liberated, it was they who decided to try and execute Saddam Hussein, not the American troops! Therefore it is clear that the people of Iraq were ready for liberation.
Thankfully, when the position of Commander-in-Chief switched from President Bush to President Obama, the MacArthur-type strategy continued. Rather than invade the robust country of Iran, our troops chose skipping over it to Afghanistan and Pakistan, using the slick method of drone deployment as much as possible in order to save American lives.
The end result of liberating both those countries from insurgency will be to surround the very large Iran with freedom-loving peoples, and thus, like the large islands of the Philippines in World War II, cause tyranny in Iran to weaken because of no support from either of its three east-west neighbors.
At the time of this writing, June 2009, we are already seeing signs that the people of Iran want their liberty. They are protesting what they see as a skewered national election. Unfortunately, there are also some reports that the Iranian government is slaughtering its own people in order to maintain its dictatorial policies.
Which means that there still remains the need for liberation from insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan before we can see the complete pressure necessary for Iran’s surrender to freedom.
Bottom line: President Bush made an excellent decision to use Iraq as the first nation to liberate for protection against destruction of the American people.
No President in his right mind can see 3,000 of his citizens being put to death within 20 minutes, and the near destruction of his nation’s capital buildings, without engineering a decisive strategy to make sure that such an attack will never happen again.
And President Obama is to be congratulated for carrying on the advance against those who would, still today, harm and destroy us.
God bless, and protect, America!
Note 2: No discussion on this subject would be complete without including the words of President Clinton December 16, 1998 when he himself launched air strikes against Iraq. To see the text (the page's video and audio links are apparently broken) click the PBS web page referenced here, or with the picture immediately above.