Is Iraq Worth Saving?
Is Iraq Worth Saving?

I hear a faint echo of a cliché that kept fooling us for the duration of the Vietnam War.

From “The Best and the Brightest,” topped by Robert McNamara, we kept being assured that the end is near, victory is at hand.

We’re beginning to see “the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Meantime, General Westmoreland needed more troops. LBJ and later Nixon kept obliging, because the (South) Vietnamese were simply not up to the fight. 

Sound familiar?

Today it’s Iraq and they, too, the Iraqis can’t seem to fight for themselves. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was blunt: "We have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.” He was being specific in regards to Ramadi, where the Iraqi army chose to run and hide rather than stand and fight.

We can supply them. We can train them. But courage can’t be taught.
We can supply them. We can train them. But courage can’t be taught.

So what’s to be done?

Sen. John McCain, of all people, proposes that we go back and redeploy from the air, land and sea.

Others agree. They too are the best and the brightest and they want us to finish the job once and for all.

There will be renewed American fatalities, all agree. But Iraq must be saved. So they say.

At some point, this question needs to be asked: Is Iraq worth the trouble? Is Iraq worth more of our blood? We gave. We already gave.

What did we get back? Nothing.

(Likewise Afghanistan -- countries always on the take. As opposed to Israel, for which no American was ever asked to take up arms or shed blood.)

The first President Bush responded to the cries from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was on the verge of invading both kingdoms. Was this a threat to our national security? Yes, the oil. So we went in. We shocked and awed Saddam into submission. The two kingdoms were spared.

Saddam was still in place but the Iraqis would have to live with him as best they could. We can’t solve every problem.

Bush the Second thought otherwise. Saddam must go. Why? Because he’s a brutal dictator. So here we go again.

Did it occur to Bush and to the other “experts” that some people need and deserve a brutal dictator… that only a brutal dictator can keep the lid on a thousand quarrelsome tribes aching to get at one another…and that that once this brutal dictator has been removed all hell is likely to break loose?

Our best, our brightest, should have seen this coming, ISIS, as did this book.

From “Cool Hand Luke” we have it that “some people you just can’t reach.” Some people, I will add, you just can’t tame.

That says it for our meddling in ancient rivalries that are a business strictly between Arabs. Gratitude from Iraqis for our coming to their rescue? They spat on our guys. From day one the Iraqis were unreliable friends of America and reliable enemies of Israel.

Back on April 16, 2004, for Arutz Sheva under the banner Quick, Bring Back Saddam, I wrote this for Iraq’s failure to appreciate our sacrifices in money and blood:

“We came [and toppled Saddam] with the best of intentions, but we don't know these people. Saddam knew them.” He knew them all right.

Wars should not be given over to politicians and generals.

Wars should be fought by professional gamblers, cardsharps who know when to hold them and when to fold them.

Jack Engelhard writes a regular column for Arutz Sheva. The new thriller from the New York-based novelist, The Bathsheba Deadline, a heroic editor’s singlehanded war on terror and against media bias. Engelhard wrote the int’l bestseller Indecent Proposal that was translated into more than 22 languages and turned into a Paramount motion picture starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. Website: