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There now seems to be little doubt that the U.S. becoming involved in armed conflict in Iraq was based on flawed information

During the Christmas holidays, we spent a few days at our home on a small island in British Columbia.

On one of the evenings friends had us over for dinner. Joining us was a young couple who three years ago had emigrated from Iraq. David Hawbecker

This couple, well-educated in Iraq, had been sponsored by a group from the island, but now are living and working in Vancouver. In previous social gatherings with this couple we had talked about why they'd immigrated and the conditions they had faced in their homeland.

In light of the present turmoil in their country I posed the question whether in their opinion the country would have been better off if Saddam Hussein had still been the leader.

Their response was a resounding "Yes." In their view, even though there were significant issues with the former dictator, at least there was some semblance of stability.

There now seems to be little doubt that the U.S. becoming involved in armed conflict in Iraq was based on flawed information. There were in fact no weapons of mass destruction. Many lost their lives, the country continues in turmoil with unstable leadership and questions as to whom Iraq is most loyal — the U.S., Iran or possibly even Russia. In addition, there are now rumblings that Iraqi leaders want the U.S. completely out of the country.

On another front: The U.S. has now been in Afghanistan for coming up on 20 years and things seem to be no better than when we first stepped in. Leadership continues to be unstable. The same factions appear to be vying for control.

No doubt there are areas of the world where U.S. military presence is and has been of value. However, it seems in so many instances our presence has either made little difference or made things worse. We seem to believe that our form of government is the means by which every country should be governed and thus we take, sometimes unilateral, steps to make it happen.

This egocentric perspective feels similar to a parent making a value judgement on the way another family is raising their child, no matter the circumstances, ethnic background, or cultural values of the other family. Who is to say that one is superior to the other?

Should a country not be able to determine its own future? Yes, from our perspective things may appear in disarray, people suffering. Yet, can someone coming in from the outside, ignorant of many of the variables, make any lasting difference?

Our history seems to say otherwise.

West Linner Dave Hawbecker is an Oregonian for the third time. You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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