Terrorists (Islamic militants) have attacked the USA on numerous occasions over the last dozen years:
* 1993 -- Islamic militants exploded a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center (six dead, 1,040 injured).
* 1996 -- Islamic militants exploded a truck bomb outside Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia (19 American soldiers dead, hundreds injured).
* 1998 -- Members of al-Qaeda (Islamic militants led by Osama bin Laden) simultaneously exploded truck bombs near the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (224 dead, 4,500 injured).
* 2000 -- Members of al-Qaeda (Islamic militants led by Osama bin Laden) exploded a small boat next to the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Cole in Yemen (17 dead, 39 injured).
* 2001 -- 19 members of al-Qaeda (Islamic militants) hijacked four commercial airplanes, slamming two of them into the World Trade Center and another one into the Pentagon (2,992 dead or missing)
It doesn't take a genius to notice a pattern. Islamic militants apparently don't like America and are attempting to exterminate us. Even our fearless leaders in Washington figured it out and have vowed to put a stop to it.
Since there is no country called al-Qaedaland, it became problematic as to where to confront our enemy, so we decided that Iraq would be a good place to start (after Afghanistan). After all, Iraq's leader was a tyrannical mass murderer, no one would object to his demise, and the terrain was suitable for warfare (few trees to hide behind and lots of sunshine). Plus, there was oil to protect, Israel to appease and others to potentially attack (Iran, Syria).
This may or may not have been an error in judgment or intelligence or whatever, but, for better or worse, we were determined to confront the terrorists and put an end to their indiscriminate mayhem.
Shortly before the Iraq War began, 49 countries were in favor of removing Saddam Hussein from power. The USA, Britain, Australia and Poland supplied combat forces that participated directly in the invasion. Several other countries provided significant troops or support, including: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.
You always find out who your true friends are in a time of crisis.
The initial invasion went well. The subsequent "transition" toward a democracy has been slow and deadly.
Nobody likes war, but when murderous thugs attack innocent civilians someone must put a stop to it. In this case, that someone is the USA and a few allies. Those who would stand by and allow random mass murder to continue are callous, irresponsible and naive. The terrorists started it and it's up to honorable nations to finish it.
And once the bloodshed dies down, we need to wise up and make some changes to our foreign policy.
1) The USA should cease foreign aid to other countries, particularly those who oppose us and those whose government leaders grow fat on corruption, thereby saving billions of dollars that could be better utilized at home.
2) The USA should withdraw from NATO. We spend billions of dollars protecting France, Germany and Russia. The French are petulant snobs, the Germans are intolerant bullies and the Russians are mostly corrupt bureaucrats. They don't like one another and they don't like us either. World War II is over and it's time to go home. Our participation in NATO is merely a USA strategy to be deployed globally and assert influence upon other nations.
3) The USA should also with withdraw forces from other countries, again saving billions of dollars.
Once the USA abandons its self-appointed role as global police force and minds its own business, perhaps the next generation of terrorists will mind their own business too. If not, we will romp and stomp until they do.
This whole mess started with bad public relations. The terrorists believe the USA wants to dominate the world, but in reality all we truly want is peace and harmony. If the perception changes; the reality will change.
* * *
Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels, which are available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.