Just so you know, the roots of this war go all the way back to the beginning of recorded Sumerian history. This is the border rival between Mesopotamia and Persia.
The US conflicts in the middle east have been based on:
___A) Protecting existing oil investments over the last 100 years.
______1. CIA overthrows governments who nationalize US oil interests
______2. Military conflict where countries invade countries harboring US oil interests
___B) Preventing the spread of groups which oppose US intervention.
______1. aka communism from the 1950 through 1990.
______2. aka radical Sharia Muslims, not mainstream from 1990 to present.( Read more... )
In 1992, United States Secretary of Defense during the war, Dick Cheney, made the point:
"I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.
And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don't think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties, and while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war.
And the question in my mind is, how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is, not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the President made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."
"In 1993, al-Qaeda associate Ramzi Yousef used a truck bomb to attack the World Trade Center in New York City. The attack killed six people, injured 1,042, and caused nearly $300 million in property damage, but did not destroy the complex."
In 1994, due to Laden's radical contacts, he was expatriated by Saudia Arabia and disavowed by his family. Laden's resentment of US involvement in Middle Eastern affairs flared, since the US was in a "cozy relationship" with the Saudi royal family.
In 1996, under US and Egyptian pressure, Laden was expelled from Sudan and returned to Afghanistan where he was under the protection of the Taliban (literally "Students"). By this time, the Taliban had a sizable territory in Afghanistan, posessing 12 of the 34 provinces, including Kabul, the Afghan capitol.
Prior to this capture, each province was ruled by only the local warlord, and the central government was very weak. Laden was able to gain sizable establishment of al-Qaeda, literally "The Base", as a major component of the Taliban ministry of defense.
Because of their human rights violations, the Taliban were not recognized by most nations as a valid government. The US and its allies supported the anti-Taliban group, the "Northern Alliance" (aka UIF or United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan).
In Feb 1998, Laden issued a "fatwa"
“The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies — civilians and military — is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem) and the holy mosque (in Mecca, Saudi Arabia,) from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim.”
On Aug 7, 1998, US embassies in multiple Eastern African cities were bombed by members of al-Qaeda.
June 1999 marked his addition to FBI most wanted list, and $5mil reward for his capture.
The US intelligence community recommended against assassination of bin Ladin; however, his death during capture attempt would be acceptable.
In October 2000, al-Qaeda militants in Yemen bombed the missile destroyer U.S.S. Cole in a suicide attack, killing 17 U.S. servicemen
Intelligence grew, and Laden was spotted in late 2000. This would have been the ideal time to take him down; however, the surveilance craft that found him was unarmed.
Sept 9, 2001, the Taliban killed the leader of the UIF.
On Sept 11, 2001, the Taliban / al-Qaeda captured several commercial airliners and used them as ramming weapons against the tallest two towers of the New York City offices of the World Trade Center, as well as the US military headquarters, "The Pentagon". Another plane was captured, but forced down by passengers.
The direct impact was the loss of around 3500 lives, and indirectly, financial damage rippled and echoed for years.
The reward against Osama bin Laden grew to $25 million.
Throughout November and December, the US led a massive campaign of airstrikes against the Taliban, enabling the UIF to regain control of all of Afghanistan.
The US has since locked down security fairly substantially, and maintains focus on anti-US groups under the title of "The War on Terror", meaning, a war against non-standard attacks against the American (or World) confidence.
Additionaly, US Secretary of Defense wanted plans to hit Saddam at the same time as bin Laden. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not."
In 2002, the Taliban were creating insurgencies in Pakistan in attempt to destabilize the existing government by raising tensions with India, thereby reducing pressure on the growing al-Qaeda presents therein.
The NATO forces in Afghanistan enforced destruction of opium poppies, which had been one of the primary funding sources of the Taliban, but also of rural farmers.
Bush's administration pushed for support of invasion of Iraq. Justification was "Weapons of Mass Destruction" and ties to al-Qaeda, provided by Secretary of State Colin Powell, which have since been discredited. UN declined authorization.
In 2003, President GW Bush sent US forces, with backing from the UK, "to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction,to end Saddam Hussein's support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people."
When people said, "show us the weapons", they couldn't be found. Evidential documentation of nuclear WMD efforts were determined by the IAEA as being fraudulent.This is where I need to finish copyediting
Bin Laden set up camps in Iraq to train anti-US insurgents.
In 2004, bin Laden issued a statement, taking responsibility for the attacks on the WTC in 2001.
President Hussein was captured, tried and controversially executed. Iraq continued to destabilize, and is now in civil war with multiple factions, groups, and the coalition forces, all at play. Only Saddam and his harsh, iron fist, was able to maintain control of these three factions.
Since our "War on Iraq" has begun, we've lost around 3500 people in Iraq. Add in amputees, brain trauma, 9/11 casualties, and the US has about 12k physically crippled or dead. This excludes the estimation that roughly 25% of returning US soldiers have lasting physical or mental health problems.
Estimates of Iraqi casualties range from 350k to 950k, most of them being Iraqi citizens, with conflict over how many are combatants vs noncombatants.
In 2004, the Army War College, and in 2006, the US Congress both issued reports that the "War on Iraq" is a major distraction from the "War on Terror" and that resources should be pulled out of Iraq and used to continue pursuit of al-Qaeda.
We marginally increased troop counts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. (need counts here)
Present estimates are that the US spends $12 billion per month on the two wars, $2bil on Afghanistan and $10bil on Iraq. Overall, we've spent $640bil since 9/11, just on these projects.
We're demanding war reparations in the way of oil royalties from the Iraqi government. Halliburton and the US Govt support mortgaging Iraqi oil futures to pay for the rebuilding. These debts would be "preferred" over the existing $90-130bil already owed to Russia, France and Germany from the Saddam administration. Further, those helping rebuild would be legally untouchable in the US per EO 13303.
And, if that wasn't enough, we're already picking fights with North Korea, Iran, and even our old Cold War buddies in Russia.
In the summer of 2006, a resurgence of anti-NATO activity has been under way in northern Afghanistan.
Andrew and Patrick Cockburn, "Out of the Ashes, TheResurrection of Saddam Hussein"http://military.discovery.com/randr/interactives/iraq/timelines/us_iraq/us_iraq.htmlhttp://usinfo.state.gov/media/Archive/2005/Jan/24-318760.htmlhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3907198/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Qaedahttp://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002/05/29/taliban-kashmir.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talibanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Islamic_Front_for_the_Salvation_of_Afghanistanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1998_United_States_embassy_bombingshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraqhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddam_Hussein_and_al-Qaedahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Terrorismhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_Resolution_to_Authorize_the_Use_of_United_States_Armed_Forces_Against_Iraqhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction