Bush-Cheney wrong about Iraq War. But that doesn’t mean we should let ISIS-Al Qaeda take over

The truth is George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were wrong to go to war in Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein.

Yes, Saddam was a brutal tyrant. Brutal dictatorship is what’s required to rule in that part of the world.

The Shah of Iran was the best we could hope for in a place like Iran. He was tough, but at least he was an American ally, propped up with the help of the CIA.

Hosni Mubarak in Egypt was certainly no Jeffersonian Democrat. But he was an American ally and wasn’t going to eliminate Israel.

Saddam was an especially ugly tyrant — almost on the level of what Idi Amin was in Uganda. He would shoot a general on the spot in the face for disagreeing with him, or for no reason at all. His kids had their own rape rooms. He used poison gas to the kill about 20,000 Kurds.

But it turns out he wasn’t much of an immediate threat to the U.S. We were unable to find his weapons of mass destruction or his nuclear bomb program. Turns out he hated al Qaeda and these terrorist groups as much as we do because they were a threat to him. So he killed them.

Ronald Reagan sided with Saddam over Iran in the Iran-Iraq war because he saw Saddam as a counter to the even worse Iranian regime. We supplied Saddam with weapons, including WMD, so he could fight Iran to a stalemate.

We would be better off if Saddam were still in charge of Iraq.

Turns out Bush the elder was right not to go to Baghdad in the first Iraq war to take out Saddam.

He understood the value of keeping Saddam in place, as bad as Saddam was.

Bush the son had this crazy idea that we could spread democracy throughout the Middle East.

How did that work out in Egypt when Obama got rid of Hosni Mubarak, only to have the Muslim Brotherhood win the election?

Fortunately, the military has since reasserted control over Egypt.

That’s what happens when you allow the vote in these Middle East countries.

You get one election. And that’s it.

So Bush the son made the wrong call. He should have just let Saddam sit there as a counter to Iran and a bulwark against al Qaeda and the radicals.

The question is: What do we do now?

Clearly Nouri al-Maliki and his government are not up to the job. Of course, any government in the Middle East that is remotely friendly to the West is doomed without U.S. and Western support.

Obama blew it by not getting a “Status of Forces” agreement with Maliki. Obama did not want a “Status of Forces” agreement.

Obama wanted no U.S. military presence in Iraq at all.

If we had left a residual U.S. military force there of 10,000 well-trained troops (including Special Ops) plus drones and air power, we certainly could kill off ISIS without much trouble.

If you leave a power vacuum, someone’s going to fill it. So that’s what ISIS is doing. ISIS sees the opportunity, and they’re taking it.

We will certainly see the same scenario play out in Afghanistan once we’re completely out of that country.

We can’t let ISIS and al Qaeda take over Iraq, or much of it. We can’t let them get control of an entire nation state so they can launch more 9/11-style attacks (or worse) against America and the West.

We need to go back in there and kill them.

That’s now going to be a lot more expensive than if we had gotten a “Status of Forces” agreement so we could have had a military presence in place.

And we need to install a tough pro-Western Shah of Iran-style dictator to run the place. Most likely we will need to prop up this dictator with a permanent military presence.

In other words, forget democracy if you want to bring some semblance of civilization to a place like Iraq and eliminate these terrorists. We’ll need to run Iraq much the same way the British Empire ran India and Hong Kong.

We need to do the same in Afghanistan. If we’re going to have some semblance of civilization, sometimes we need to impose it.

I doubt we’re up for that. Nor will this happen with Obama at the helm. But that’s what’s required at this point.

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