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I SAT IN FRONT of my TV and watched America's combat troops pull out of Iraq.
This was the war that President George Bush declared to be over 40 days after it began, the war that one of my readers was absolutely certain would be concluded within a year.
Seven-and-a-half years after we invaded Iraq, our combat troops have pulled out.
Still, some 58,000 soldiers remain in that Middle Eastern country, and our involvement continues.
This 40-day war went on longer than the Civil War, World War II or Korea. And when the final American soldier leaves the nightmare may just be beginning for the Iraqi people, who may be forever divided by political and religious beliefs.
So after 7 years and $800 billion, what did we accomplish?
We destroyed a country with a war that killed as many as 200,000 Iraqi civilians and provided fodder for Middle Easterners to hate Americans even more.
But our major victory was that we took out Saddam Hussein. In other words, our greatest accomplishment was that we killed a man.
True, Saddam was not the most likable of rulers. But if we are going to kill every world leader that we do not like, our world mission has just begun.
I watched America's troop pullout on several different networks, paying close attention to what was loaded in those trucks.
I couldn't believe it! I did not see one single weapon of mass destruction. And regardless of what historical revisionists may say, Saddam's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was the one and only reason for invading Iraq.
All this "free the Iraqi people" bull came after a gullible American public discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction.
In other words, Iraq was a war built on a lie, a lie that the Bush Administration invented, that it forced the CIA to corroborate and tried to force the rest of the world to believe.
Yes, we proved one more thing--that Americans will believe anything the government tells them.
If we are going after countries with weapons of mass destruction I suggest we now invade China, Russia, India or Pakistan. They all have atomic weapons.
And if America's job is to free all the world's oppressed peoples, China again would be a good place to start. There are also a number of African countries that need some help to be free.
But now the Iraqi people are free! They have their own puppet government that we have put in place and which we will destroy if it does not do the bidding of Washington.
Any Iraqi leader who goes against us knows he is likely to suffer the same fate as Saddam Hussein.
So that we may boast that we killed Saddam Hussein, more than 4,400 brave American soldiers had to die, and 32,000 were wounded. That, at least to me, is much too steep a price to pay.
It was a war where journalists who spoke out against the initial invasion were harassed and sometimes fired. By 2004 America was more divided and less free than it has ever been in my lifetime.
And we are still divided. After our invasion I vowed never again to vote for any Republican running for any office, and this man who cast his first vote for Richard Nixon and held Ronald Reagan in the highest esteem plans to hold onto that vow to his deathbed.
If you'll go back and look at my 2003 and 2004 columns (or my book, "The Axis of Idiocy"), you'll find that the Iraq War has played out just as I predicted. No rational person could have concluded otherwise.
In truth, the Iraqi people never did a thing to us. Despite what some ill-informed people claim, they were in no way involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Yes, Saddam Hussein may have been a despicable man. But if we are going to hang all despicable men, the gallows in every country--including our own--will be full from now until doomsday.
Oh, no! It was weapons of mass destruction that got us into Iraq, weapons that never existed, weapons that Washington knew never existed.
Or was it? What about Iraq's oil? Where is that going these days? You seem to hear as little about that as you do those mysterious weapons.
Oil or weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was a war begun with lies.
And I am thankful our troops are getting out.
They should never have gone in.