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America abroad.

This regards the Last Word article entitled "Iraq's Agony Based on Gross Deception," by John McManus (July 7 issue). All that McManus said in the column is true about both U.S. wars with Iraq--under George Bush senior and junior--being brought into engagement by bureaucratic machinations behind the scenes, such as when diplomat April Glaspie carried George H.W. Bush's "green light" message to Saddam Hussein in 1990, implying that if he invaded Kuwait, the United States would not interfere. But there's more information.

First, it seems probable that the first military conflict with Iraq was fomented to kill a U.S. balanced budget act. For a very short time, the United States had a requirement for a balanced budget. It was called the Gramm Rudman Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act, passed in 1985. Every year when it was necessary for the politicians to decide what they were going to cut to avoid an across-the-board cut--per provisions of the legislation--you could hear the screams for miles.

In 1990, George H.W. Bush essentially "invited" Saddam into Kuwait with his "green light," then quickly reversed his position, calling Saddam "a dictator worse than Hitler" and planning a military intervention. Somewhere between operations Desert Shield (the defense of Saudi Arabia) and Desert Storm (the war with Iraq over its invasion of Kuwait), it was quietly decided that we needed to kill Gramm-Rudman until this military situation was past. But when it was past, somehow the "until" part was forgotten. During much of the Clinton administration, the Republican Congress actually forced budget constraint, but once "Dubya" got in the White House, absence of either the Gramm Rudman Hollings Act or other constraint resulted in no more balanced budget or deficit control.

Second, when "Dubya" Bush and Donald Rumsfeld ordered the invasion of Iraq in Gulf War II, a number of retired generals criticized them for going in without enough troops. Rumsfeld was quite scornful of all such comments. That prompted retired Col. David Hackworth to publish a letter --withholding the source's name--from a colonel who helped plan the invasion, who was incensed because specific units that were scheduled to go in for "clean-up and control" (MPs and civil administration units) behind the combat troops were canceled at the last minute because Rumsfeld and Bush decided they "weren't really needed." As a result, when our combat units came upon dozens of arms depots--containing small arms, ammunition, artillery shells, and mortar rounds--they couldn't afford to "drop off" troops or try to destroy materiel, and had to leave the depots behind unsecured. Saddam militias, Jihadis, Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militias, and others then looted these unguarded depots, providing them the means to inflict casualties many times the initial invasion numbers, including the horrific costs and carnage of improvised explosive devices, in particular, long after "Dubya" did his little "mission accomplished" celebration.

Third, after Iraq had been "pacified," our government helped Iraq to adopt a supposedly "democratic constitution." But it bore little resemblance to our time-tested (if too often abused) Constitution: Iraqis can vote only for party lists, not directly for individual representatives. This indirect election method is very susceptible to corruption, providing no direct accountability of individual candidates or "representatives" to the people. In a nation with significant sectarian differences, being able to vote for individuals who are considered honest can be a major "make or break " consideration in performance by, and support for, the government.

Richard Nott

Wichita, Kansas

We see that American-citizen support for intervention seems to be fading. And President Obama does not respond to Republicans' calls for "action" in war-tom areas. But is there a possibility that without American leadership, the countries of the world will cause so much trouble that there is once again a world outcry for a one-world government to control the situation? UN to the rescue? We don't want our troops in every country in the world, but how do we show this leadership role?

Richard Rice

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Author:Nott, Richard; Rice, Richard
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 8, 2014
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