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Roland Martin
Roland S. Martin
8 Aug 2014
Students Need Hard-Core Truth for College Choices

As I ran to the lobby to make a phone call during the awards dinner at the National Association of Black … Read More.

16 Jul 2014
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There is no white Republican elected official today who is coming close to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's effort … Read More.

20 Jun 2014
Black Elites Look Silly Over 'My Brother's Keeper' Criticism

There is no more endangered figure in America than the black man. A cursory look at the education system, the … Read More.

Bush Administration Finally Shows It's Delusional With Post-Saddam Iraq


"It was wrong."

Can you believe those words actually came out of the mouth of Vice President Dick Cheney?

For four years, we've had to listen to Cheney, President George W. Bush and their minions constantly spin, dance around — some will just say flat-out

lie — in order to justify the war in Iraq.

Disgraced former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld often told the American people that the Iraqis would greet American troops with open arms, and only a few thousand soldiers would be enough to restore order — and diplomacy — to Iraq.

We're still waiting.

Now, Cheney finally comes to the conclusion that many of our own generals always knew: Ending the insurgency is not going to be easy.

Coming out of hibernation — or off the shooting range — to talk to CNN's Larry King, Cheney said he thought it would all end because an interim election was held, they ratified a constitution and elected a president, and, of course, captured Saddam Hussein, who was later hanged.

"I thought there were a series of these milestones that would, in fact, undermine the insurgency and make it less than it was at that point," Cheney said. "That clearly didn't happen. I think the insurgency turned out to be more robust. And the other thing that happened, of course — this was prior to the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq — Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, with his bombing of the mosque up at Samara in early '06 that, in effect, helped to precipitate some of the sectarian conflict that led to a lot of the Shia-on-Sunni violence."

Now what's nuts is that while all of these "milestones" were being achieved, Iraqi blood was being spilled on the streets in a daily basis. And the longer the United States occupied Iraq, the more radical Muslims became enraged by our actions, thereby flooding the country with insurgents ready to do battle.

But Cheney continued to buy into the hype built up by the neo-conservatives, who sat in their spacious offices and played war games on their computers, somehow suggesting that everything was going to go according to their well-defined plans.

The same can be said about the sectarian violence that has led to a civil war.

Rumsfeld's replacement, Robert Gates, offered up a truthful admission when he admitted the United States underestimated the "mistrust" between Iraqis.

"In some ways we probably all underestimated the depth of the mistrust and how difficult it would be for these guys to come together on legislation," Gates told reporters Thursday aboard his plane as he headed to the Middle East.

"The kinds of legislation they're talking about will establish the framework of Iraq for the future so it's almost like our constitutional convention. Ö And the difficulty in coming to grips with those, we may all have underestimated six or eight months ago."

I'll give Gates some leeway because he wasn't at the Pentagon when this mess was created, but how in the world did they not know?

Now, I'm not a Middle East expert, but I do have some common sense, and it's obvious that it's just not too common these days.

Saddam was the leader of the Ba'ath Party and stood behind the Sunnis, which was the minority group in the country. That didn't sit well with the Shia majority or even the Kurds, who are non-Arab Sunni Muslims. Is it a bit confusing? Yes. But that's the complexity of the region and why America was thoroughly confused.

Yet if you study history, you will see that in many nations where a dictator or ruling party was tossed out — and especially where the majority was repressed — they will never sit back and accept a power-sharing agreement. It's called payback. No one in the world would expect that after all these years, the Shias and Sunni Muslims wouldn't fight every effort to run the nation. It's called distrust. Does anyone remember that even in the United States we fought a civil war because of the distrust of one faction — Southerners, who desperately wanted slavery, over Northerners, who wanted to end it?

This is why no matter what happens with our troops, nothing will change. Forget a surge. Like it or not, the Iraqis are going to have to fight this one out. And yes, only the strong will survive. It will be bloody and brutal, but history says this is how it always ends.

It just would have been smart for the Bush administration to have figured this out before 3,600 of our soldiers had to die for a terribly misguided policy.

Roland S. Martin is a CNN contributor and a talk show host for WVON-AM in Chicago. Please visit his Web site at To find out more about Roland Martin and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at



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