Donald Rumsfeld, during his resignation press conference, called the Iraq war misunderstood. Let me see explain it as I see it and see if he's right
First, this wasn't a "war" politically in that Congress never declared a war as required by the U.S. Constitution. Sure there was an "authorization for the use of force" but I don't see that as a documented power of the Congress.
Second, this was not an invasion since we never left Iraq after the first, world supported, invasion in the 90s to kick Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.
Okay, now on the the war understanding...
We overthrew the dictator based government of Iraq. The head of that government was Saddam Hussein, who ruled ruthlessly by most accounts. Under Hussein's rule there was generally peace between the disparate groups of Iraq. Saddam kept order under the threat of death, he put people in prisons and abused them.
This dictator had no weapons of significance with which to defend against the US overthrow action and had absoloutly nothing to do with the September 11th attacks. Despite the overwhelming volume of the "they have W.M.Ds" claims, there were many intelligent and knowledgeable people stating plainly that there was no way Iraq had any significant weapons or the ability to produce them.
We took down the Iraqi government with a minimum of troops to do so, thus eliminating the single stabilizing force in that country. We replaced that government with a U.S. chosen group of "leaders". That government and the U.S. Military put people in prison and abused them while not restraining the internal hatred of Iraq's citizens.
We stayed to help rebuild Iraq so the people could have the things we destroyed during nearly 15 years of constant bombing, demolition and shooting. Again, we never left Iraq, we flew daily raids in to the country bombing radar and suspected military installations. The thing the U.S. Military goes out of the way to ignore or deny is that we have bombarded Iraq with nuclear waste. The U.S. takes nuclear waste that would otherwise be buried miles underground for millennia and put it in to bullets and bombs. We then fired those weapons in to the population centers of Iraq.
Instead of actually rebuilding the infrastructure for the Iraqi people and cleaning up the radioactive waste, we spent billions of dollars sending vending machines to the military camps so our troops could buy a Snickers bar after coming back from a 2am raid on a civilian home.
The disparate factions of the country/region started fighting each other, catching thousands of civilians in the cross fire. These warring factions then decide to sometimes unite to instead attack Americans. We decide to label these people fighting against themselves and us as "terrorists", fueling even more the divisive nature of the occupation.
So the "war" was a pointless and poorly planned overthrow of the one person capable of keeping peace in the country during which the majority of the Iraqi people have come to be at least indifferent if not hostile toward our presence in their home.
As for that whole "war crimes" thing that Hussein was found guilty of... Let's then posthumously convict Winston Churchill of the same thing since he gladly supported the gassing of the Suni and Kurd villiages if they didn't pay their taxes on time; this obviously during one of Britain's failed attempts at occupying and transforming Iraq.
How will it end? There are three main potential outcomes:
1. The U.S manages through force, embargoes/boycotts, and coercion to make all other nations think the way we do and implements what we allow to pass for "democracy".
2. The U.S. spends years or decades fighting the "war" only to realize there is no way to win and gives up.
3. The other 95% of the world population gets tired of our bullying and declares war on the U.S. World: 6,416,735,872 US: 293,694,626.
"Terrorism" has been with us since the beginning of civilization as we know it. Terrorism has no fixed definition; like love it is in the eye of the beholder. The United States Military has policies and procedures for "low level urban combat", the definition for which matches the U.S. Justice Department's definition of terrorism.
The U.S. has proven with the "drug war" that you can not win a war when you are funding both sides, and this is just what is happening in the war or terrorism. The U.S. keeps sending money, weapons, technology and training to states who a decade later decide they've had enough and turn on us. We trained, funded and armed Osama. We funded, trained and armed Hussein. We funded, trained and armed a large number of entities who later turned on us.
On an even larger note, history has proven that no-one can inflict their will on the world or even a region for an extended period of time. It didn't work for the Mongrels, it didn't work for the Egyptions, it didn't work for the Romans, it didn't work for the British, it didn't work for the Nazis. Will it work for the U.S?
So, my open questions are these: Given the dismal failures in the past to "rule the world", and the extreme minority that the U.S. population, how does the U.S. plan to spread it's views on a world that could exist quite nicely without us? As the minority population, isn't forcing our views on the majority population diametrically opposed to the basic idea of democracy which is "majority rules"?
Many people I talk with on-line and in the streets have not looked at these documents since grade school. If you are forming any opinions about US politics or actions without knowedge of the contents of these documents, then you should be ashamed of yourself.
So here we go again... another grey haired president sending troops to a forign land to impose the will of the United States. Does ANYONE remember this little document we here like to call The Constitution? Someone in The White House might want to try reading the thing some day. It's chock full of good ideas, such as balance of power in the Federal Government. For example, The Constitution specifically grants The President the position of Commander in Chief of the armed forces. That means that the pres gets to run the military within the confines of The Constitution. That documents also grants Congress (thats the combined House of Representatives and the Senate for those not paying attention in class), soley, the ability to declare war. One can easily see that what was intened was for Congress to declare war on an "enemy" country, then the President would take over and command the military as necessary to win the war. The problem here is that Mr. Bush is sending massive numbers of troops and equipment to the middle east for battle in Iraq. Congress has NOT declared war on Iraq. IF US troops invade Iraq, we will be violating our own laws! Lets not even get in to the way that Mr. Bush will be violating the laws of the god he claims to hold so dear. When, exactly, did god pass down an ammendment to the 5th commandment so that is reads: "Thou shalt not kill, unless thou art the United States, and thou are pissed off at brown people and wish to 'teach them a lesson'"? Mr. Bush... if you truely believe in America and Christianity, you will ask Congress to officially declare war on Iraq. You will then use only non-lethal weapons to accomplish your stated goals. IF you don't you are a criminal, a liar and a hypocrit.
Remember... the Bill of Rights does not state "freedom of religon", it states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". "God" is most definitely an establishment of many religions, indeed it is the core tennant of many religons. Placing a reference to a god in the Pledge is most definately a law respecting that establishment. Ergo, this should not be.
What harm would come from removing the phrase? None. Anyone who wanted to would still be able to add the phrase, just as supporters of it claim you can "just not say it". It would not remove the claimed belief in that god from the hearts and minds of the believers. Indeed, removing the phrase from the official pledge might cause people to be more thoughtfull of their god as they has to specifically think about repeating its name, instead of mindlessly reciting it as part of the Pledge.
Removing the phrase from the pledge would right an improper action of Congress that has been ignored by the courts for some 60 years. And yes, the phrase "In God we trust" should be removed from the currency also. Most will not recall that before the McCarthy era in the 50s, the money had several "cute" slogans on it, including "Mind your business".
I find it interesting that many people in support of keeping the phrase talk of the "heritage" of the phrase, and the "traditional values" of it. Traditionally the phrase was not there. The phrase is not in the spirit of the original author. The heratige of the government is one of not placing such slogans or names in public items. Our money did not have such a slogan for much more of its life than it did have one.
So yes, I support the courts decision. It was the correct legal interpitation. And yes, I am athiest.