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My party is still in Iraq denial

May 26, 2007|By JOHNATHAN R. BURRS

The Bush Doctrine is anything but "grand" - unless Webster's has changed the definition of grand to be synonymous with words like horrific, incomplete, flawed, defective, inconsistent and illogical.

Contrary to Donald Currier's quite erroneous opinion that the Bush Doctrine is the realism of the 21st century, the facts and subsequently the events following President Bush naming of North Korea, Iran and Iraq the Axis of Evil, indicate that such idealism - much of which was derived from false information - has no place in government on 21st century earth!

These are the undeniable facts resulting from the Bush Doctrine:

Iraq is now in a civil war, much of which is being policed by the United States military. The U.S. military is not equipped to police civil war in a foreign country. The U.S. Constitution does not permit the president to use the military for police actions on foreign soil.

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The resolution Congress passed authorized the president to use the military to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction. Without the presence of WMD in Iraq, any use of the military technically falls outside the scope of the resolution passed by Congress authorizing use of the military.

More than 1 million people have been killed or wounded as a result of Bush's execution of his administration's flawed foreign policy in Iraq. To me (and I'm going to assume the rest of the civilized world) there is nothing grand or magnificent about more than a million casualties!

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the people living there describe the worst living conditions they have ever experienced. Once again, I question what's grand or magnificent about this?

Another fact about this war is that the number of U.S. military deaths is the lowest of any war or conflict of the same or similar durations. The operative word here is deaths. This is due to more service members surviving deadly attacks as a result of more sophisticated equipment and body armor. However, with more than 30,000 wounded and injured, the U.S. taxpayer will be paying the multi-trillion-dollar medical bills and service-connected disability pay for the next 50 or more years! I'm still struggling with understanding what is grand or magnificent about the Bush Doctrine.

So, considering the results of the Bush Doctrine being anything but "grand," as Currier suggests, let's visit the true reality or realism of the Bush Doctrine.

The Bush Doctrine was created utilizing both flawed logic for military strategies as well as exaggerated information to justify what otherwise would be the unlawful use of the military by the president. If what Currier writes about Iraq being chosen as the starting point for execution of the Bush Doctrine - "because it was right in the middle of a strategic and dangerous area" - then it is also true that the military is being used by the president in an action for reasons other than Iraq posing an imminent threat of danger to the U.S., or by declaration of war by Congress.

This point, if taken at face value, is very problematic because it disregards specific provisions in the U.S. Constitution in reference to official use of the military. The Constitution is clear that the president is only authorized to use the military after a declaration of war has been issued by Congress or where there is an immediate threat of danger to the U.S.

Of the three governments named to the axis of evil, Iraq posed the least danger to the U.S. and clearly has never been an immediate threat to Americans. If the military were to be used properly, then the starting point should have been the nation that posed the most threat, as well as an immediate danger, to the U.S. North Korea or even Iran may come close, but Iraq isn't even a possibility!

Additionally, containment of Saddam had been effective for more than one decade. Containing Saddam was a strategy established by George H.W. Bush after he realized and so indicated that there was no viable exit strategy for the U.S. military if it invaded Baghdad to remove Saddam from power.

The insights of the elder Bush have proven to withstand the test of time, and consequently bring to light the significant flaws in the doctrine created by the younger and significantly less experience Bush. Even if Saddam had WMD, he had no way of deploying such weapons to U.S. soil.

Another factor apparently missed or disregarded when establishing the Bush Doctrine was how reasonable it would be for the United States, a Western country generally viewed by Middle Easterners as the "Great Satan," to democratize the Middle East militarily. The answer today is obvious to those who know the facts and view the facts realistically.

It is very unfortunate there are still those who are uninformed about the facts surrounding the invasion of Iraq and those who are in denial about the flaws and deceptions of Bush administration policies and aforementioned doctrines. As a Republican myself, I am truly concerned that these attitudes will lead to additional Republican defeats in Congress come elections in 2008.

However, maybe additional defeats will help wake up Republicans to the fact that a new direction and new leadership is needed from within the party at all levels if Republicans ever expect to restore confidence, integrity and strength to the GOP.

Jonathan R. Burrs is a Hagerstown resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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