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A Cautionary Note

The 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, will loose the dogs of war upon the world in a few days. The outcome of the immediate battle is not in doubt. Most Iraqi regulars will surrender rather than risk their lives to defend the brutal dictator of Iraq, and only the Republican Guard, Hussein's elite force, will offer much resistance to the invading U.S. and British forces. One suspects that within a few weeks organized resistance will cease, and the allies will take control of the country. The real battle of Gulf War II will only begin after the last shot is fired in the invasion, and the occupation begins.

In the aftermath of Gulf War I, the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, made a strategic decision to retain military bases in Saudi Arabia that had been installed as part of the campaign to remove Hussein, a former ally, from Kuwait. In doing so, the United States was thought to have been fortunate to obtain an important military foothold in the heart of the Arab world. Through the installation of these bases, the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia was made infinitely more secure from any challenge to its reign especially from outside of the Arabian Peninsula, from ex-patriots breast-fed with the venomous milk of Wahhabi extremism, recently victorious in their holy war to drive the former Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. With the retention of these bases in Saudi Arabia, the United States found itself on the radar screen of another former ally, Osama Bin Laden and, hence, well on the way to the events of 9/11.

The problem with military campaigns like Gulf War I, and Dubya's current campaign for regime change in Iraq, is that the aftermath can last a lot longer than the time it took to fight the original war - and we Americans have very short attention spans.

Matthew Carnicelli, © 2003. All rights reserved.

Originally published March 17, 2003.