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home : opinions : opinions April 17, 2015

4/2/2013 9:58:00 PM
Letter: People of Iraq consider us 'even'


I read Ms. Svendsen's letter on the Iraq War, and noted her feelings on this important issue. I am a Prescott native who was recalled from retirement to serve there in Baghdad during the Surge Campaign and again in the Shi'a heartland of south-central Iraq in the advisory New Dawn campaign in the war's last year. This letter is my effort to clarify, support or refute some points Ms. Svendsen raised.

The globally emerging idea to remove Saddam Hussein did not have the absolute acceptance that the international mandate of Operation Desert Storm did a decade before. Even so, by late 2002 there was growing international as well as bipartisan concern that there existed in the world a national leader who defied the U.N. and Western nations concerning the status of his WMD programs. What I discovered was that Saddam had not quite completely cancelled these programs, but that they had lapsed anyway, most likely due to lack of funding and years of U.N. pressure. Some chemical munitions remained, but we concluded his Army had missed destroying the remnants we


Saddam's two sons, Qusay and Uday, who died in combat, were dangerous men who likely would have further destabilized the region had they come to power after their father. They had conducted systemic rapes of young Baghdad women that their secret police chose for them. They remind me of the issues now emerging in North Korea.

I asked Iraqi political and military leaders their opinions, and they agreed overall that Iraq's people consider us all roughly "even." The Coalition fixed utilities and other things that Saddam had left unfinished or broken, but the war led to much destruction and the unleashing of grievances, which is still not resolved. Perhaps history will be the final judge of the Iraq War.

Dr. David Alegre

Lt. Col., U.S. Army (Retired)


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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 06, 2013
Article comment by: Drastic Measures leads to Evil

I really love the part of Dr. David Alegre Lt. Col's war in Iraq where we were so obsessed with "NO weapons of mass destruction" ("NWMD"'s) we turned to more drastic measures! George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were so panicked when we could find not a whiff, ordered the CIA and Military officials "take the gloves off" and do serious "enhanced interrogation techniques" AKA TORTURE!
Chief Warrant Officer Welshofer of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment captured an Iraqi general's kids, tortured them to get the dad to turn himself in. The dad, Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, to save his children further anguish, turned himself in.
Here is what we did with the general. "Witnesses testified that Warrant Officer Welshofer stood by while thugs, reportedly in the employ of the CIA, beat the general for about 30 minutes with rubber hoses. General Mowhoush received eight broken ribs as a result. The next day, Welshofer took the general to the roof of the prison and, while other soldiers held him down, poured water on his face. This is what Vice President Dick (BuckShot) Cheney called a little dunk! The general did not answer questions, so the following morning Chief Warrant Officer Welshofer turned to what was dubbed, "the sleeping bag technique." Invented by another interrogator who recalled how his older brother used to stuff him head first in a sleeping bag to induce claustrophobia! Claustrophobia along with suffocation as they took turns sitting on the, sleeping bag enclosed, General Mowhoush! They caused the general to die a prolonged, gasping for air, violent and terrifying death. Welshofer asked for another sleeping bag the next day to continue the technique with other detainees! Chief Warrant Officer Welshofer was fined $6000 and got 8 weeks of house detention for the murder!
War on Iraq was illegal, immoral, and based on greedy oily lies! What could we possibly do, Dr. David Alegre Lt. Col. to "even out" this despicable war and despicable behavior?


Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: For the record

George Dubya took office with a personal score to settle with Saddam Hussein. He was looking for an excuse, any excuse, to invade Iraq, and he had to have known that 9-11, lame as it was, was the best chance he was going to get. It must have come as quite a disappointment when even the best spin doctors couldn't blame Iraq for the attacks. Honestly, I don't know how anyone could have watched Dubya's "WMD" speech and not known he was lying. But let's say that you believe that he believed he was telling the truth. How long does it take to find nuclear weapons in a country the size of Iraq? Is 10 years enough? The invasion of Iraq was never about weapons of mass destruction any more than it was about toppling Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein is long gone. The invasion of Iraq is all about American Imperialism. The so-called "war on terror" is all about American Imperialism. The attacks of 9-11 merely gave our so-called "leaders" an excuse to use the very Christian American thirst for vengeance to achieve their own goal of world domination.

Posted: Thursday, April 04, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Steve Baker- YOU should be ashamed of yourself for defending an unjust war. The American people were not told they were going to war because Saddam Hussein was a murderous dictator, they were told that they were going to war because he had WMD and their lives were threatened. That wasn't true, and all the evidence says that Bush's ruling clique knew at the time it wasn't true. We were dragged to war for profit, because we elected a CEO instead of a President.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Ex pariot

So, you talked to the small percentage of Iraqis who benefited from the American invasion of Iraq (and let's be honest here, this isn't a "war." It's an invasion) and they say we're "even." Here's an idea -- why don't you talk to the heads of police unions and CEO's of private prison corporations and get back to us about what a smashing success the drug war has been?

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: S A

Yellow Cake! Remember the LIES! These war criminals will be held accountable.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: J K

@Steven Baker. Most off the world that believed he had WMD did so because we convinced them that our intelligence was accurate, not cooked. Do you remember all the nations that comprised the coalition of the willing? Not many major players were among them and the only one who congributed any significant amount of troops was Britain. Even their contribution was anemic compared to ours.
However, none of us Vets have anything to be ashamed of because of our views. What makes your take on this any more credible than ours?

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: rosemary riddle


Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Baker

To all of the vets who think that the Iraq War was a mistake & that Pres. Bush was lying, let me remind you there were numerous intell agencies of different countries which thought that Saddam Hussein had WMD's and also many of us think that the removal of a murderous dictator such as Hussein was the right thing to do. You all should be ashamed of yourselves!
Steve Baker
(former) Marine

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Baker

To all of the veterans who thought that Pres. Bush was lying & that the Iraq War was a mistake, there were numerous intell agencies from other countries who thought that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD's. Also, doing the right thing, such as removing a murderous dictator such as Hussain, is obviously foreign to you. Shame on you!
Steve Baker
(former) Marine

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: We Have Met The Enemy And He Is Us

First I would disagree with the author about North Korea. At the very time we invaded Iraq, Korea was and is a much greater threat. They had and have weapons of mass destruction. World consensus, not political consensus.

The second point I would like to make is that for the most part, politicians have set the United States foreign policy. Politicians with their hand out. Look no further than the last election then look at the next. I speak of both the Republican and Democratic leadership. We have done a great deal of true good in the world. Sadly, because our leadership can be bought, we have acted much like a true sociopath and looked at world situations with the objective, what is in it for us, that being our motivation for involvement. This has gotten bigger than just the military complex.

America's Deadliest Export: Democracy - The Truth About US Foreign Policy and Everything Else by William Blum

The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: @ sal addin

on the other hand, perhaps you are less dangerous than somebody who believes as you do, but doesn't call attention to it.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

I've known several sons of friends who did tours in Iraq, including the initial invasion. I appreciate Dr. Alegre's views on it, certainly better than mine. But when a government commits to an undertaking as big as this I think there should be much more of an attainable goal than they had. I think history will view the Iraq war as a horrible mistake. I know I do.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Oh please

Once again, the headline doesn't fit the letter. The good Colonel (retired) didn't talk to the "Iraqi people." He talked to Iraqi political and military leaders. You know, the ones who still have access to clean drinking water and medical care. The ones who still have their careers and homes intact. Take a look at how the Iraqi people actually live, and tell me we're "even." What a joke.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Steven Ayres

A soldier who fulfilled his duty with honor has no need to justify his conduct, but at the same time he should not feel obliged to justify that of those whose actions were incompetent or dishonorable. I can understand wanting to feel good about what you did.

But extending that to the defense of indefensible policy decisions is taking it too far. Whether Saddam was a bad guy is not in question. The important points are that our invasion of Iraq was illegal under both our own law and international law, and the killing and maiming of innocents in pursuit of the guilty can never be justified.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: gary sheldon

I am pleased that Sad-damn and his twisted spawn are gone to perdition. Real "American" Vet USN CPO you do not understand the tribal mentality of the Iraqi stone age people. They wage religious warfare and our participation may well have had "religious" undertones without the typical citizen and especially politicians even being aware of it. There are many Iraqi people that are glad we are there. Would to God we had a Commander in Chief with the capability and wisdom of the Bush Administration. His only error was not including the war on the books. Look what the child-like left is doing to the books now. Print it print it print it. Reminds me of a W.C. film I saw long ago. GumMINT at all levels learn well from these manipulative lawyers in the beltway mostly isolated from reality.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Roberts

Shame on you, USAF Sgt! You would be one of the first to tell us all that you fight for our freedoms, yet when someone uses one---freedom of expression---you jump on the "love it or leave it" bandwagon!

He doesn't have to leave. Nor do you, even though you'd like to take away his freedom to say what he wants.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

@USAF: That's an old tired cliche. The other "Real American" loves his country enough to speak up about frivolous warfare so that people don't get shipped off to fight in them. He's angry but he cares enough to do that. ...

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

Easily one of the biggest blunders in American history.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: J K

@ Real American USAF Sgt. There is no evidence that USN hates this country in his response. Being a former Real American USAF Sgt myself, I find your hate for the 1st amendment right of free speech an embarrassment. To be sure, he wouldn't be missed if he chose to leave. Neither would you or me or even the writer of the letter.
Feel free to take your own advice.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Steele

It would appear that we are fighting a radical religion and tribal feuds from a western point of view. The Ottoman Empire was broken up by European countries and boundaries drawn which meant only anger for outsiders. We have offered our help from our viewpoint and it is being rejected by the tribal - religious views of their culture. It's time to remove ourselves totally and repair our own country.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Yukon Jack

Make no mistake the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. But make no mistake about it, those surrounding President Bush II were not happy with the results of the first Gulf War. Couple that with the assassination attempt on President Bush senior and it's easy to believe sights were set on Iraq on January 21. It's in the past now and we cannot change the results, but I wonder where we would be now if we had continued the pursuit of Bin Laden in Afghanistan instead of turning around and refocusing on the Iraqis. How many American lives might have been saved?

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Sal Addin

"Even"? Are you serious? It will NEVER be even. You supported the Unconstitutional invasion and occupation. (The U.S.) murdered 200,000. The hundreds of children your snipers murdered trying to retrieve water out of puddles in the street after being forced by occupying troops to stay in their homes for weeks.

(Site administrator's note: A portion of this comment was removed because it violated our Terms of Use Agreement)

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: dutch holland

first, I wish to say 'Thank You' to David Alegre for your service. My thanks to all who serve their country.
whether or not we agree with a particular war, we need to respect and treat our servicemen and women with care.
my hubs served in VN and how our men and women are treated when they come home is appalling.
On one hand, we cry outrage and chants of ''bring them home'' yet when they come home, they are treated terribly.

again, thank you to all who serve in our military.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Kathy Noltze

Thank you for your service to our country and thank you for giving us armchair pundits your perspective drawn from actual experience.

Posted: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Article comment by: Hobbes2 aka Sam Brunstein

TO: Real American USAF Sgt

I was a Real American US Army Tech Sergeant and I agree with Real American VET USN Retired CPO's comment. While his presentation is short on facts, as is yours, it presents one indisputable fact - they (the Iraqis) are killing each other in sectarian battles. And the obscene profits made by the US contractors in Iraq make his comment about the Military Industrial Complex at least tenable, if not proven. The recent final report by the Special U.S. Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction documents the waste, theft, and corruption that took place.

Recall Eisenhowers prescient warning, "watch out for the military-industrial complex."

I don't hate my country, it has been good to me and I certainly don't wish to leave it, but I think it has made some serious mistakes, and the Iraq war was one. I suspect that Real American VET USN Retired CPO feels about the same as I do.

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