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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Radio Smart Talk: Iraq War 10th anniversary

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Mar 8, 2013 8:31 AM

Radio Smart Talk for Friday, March 8:

Iraq war search 300 x 220.jpg

The United States and its allies launched the war on Iraq on March 19, 2003 -- 10 years ago this month.

Former President George W. Bush and others in his administration believed that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.  Bush saw the military action as a preemptive strike, pointing out that Saddam had killed thousands of Kurds with chemical weapons in northern Iraq years before.

No WMD's were ever found, which frustrated many people who thought the U.S. had gone to war on false pretenses. 

Saddam was deposed, tried for crimes against his own people, and executed.

Administration officials thought the Iraqi people would welcome American intervention.  Instead, sectarian violence and insurgents frustrated the American military and politicians.  Almost 4500 troops died in Iraq.

Many mistakes were made along the way, including poor planning for a post-war Iraq.

Progress wasn't realized until more troops were sent to Iraq and counterinsurgency tactics used.

Today, combat operations have ended in Iraq and troops have been drawn down.

Conrad Crane.jpg

On Friday's Radio Smart Talk, we'll hear from Dr. Conrad C. Crane, who is chief of Historical Services for the Army Heritage and Education center at the Carlisle Barracks.  Dr. Crane co-wrote a manual on fighting insurgents that was used to help end the war. 



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  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-08 09:22

    E-mail from Michael:

    "Your guest has given the standard response to your question about not having found WMD; that is, that everyone thought Hussein possessed them. That is simply not true. The intelligence within the US government was in conflict, the UN weapons inspectors were bringing back no evidence of WMD presence, and there were plenty of experts, from Scott Ritter on down, that argued that Hussein had nothing. These people were ignored, the UN inspectors were hamstrung, all because the Bush Administration cherry-picked their evidence. They wanted to go to war from the start."

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-08 09:32

    E-mail from Patrick:

    "Some years ago I was having a conversation with a student at the Army War College who was studying the counter-insurgency manual in discussion. He was excited about this new approach in warfare in Iraq. I am a veteran of the Vietnam war and through all my training, counter insurgency training was central to Marines training. My question is: what happened to all that collective knowledge? Did we really forget all we learned 40 years ago?"

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-08 09:35

    E-mail from Frank:

    "Conrad Crane is demonstrably in error when he says that there was "nostalgia" for Saddam after the invasion. The people of Iraq believe life under Saddam was better simply because the American invasion resulted in the disintegration of their society, and the violent deaths of many family members and friends. It has nothing to do with nostalgia.

    In addition, your guest is wrong when he says that "everyone" believed WMDs were to be found in Iraq. In fact the Bush administration cherry-picked evidence and ignored everything that indicated there were no WMDs. They decided to invade Iraq immediately after 911 and shaped their behavior afterwards to make the case for invasion, regardless of truth. To say otherwise is simply to ignore the truth.

    It's sad to see WITF featuring a supposedly objective military historian repeat highly partisan falsifications about the disastrous and immoral war in Iraq."

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-08 09:39

    E-mail from Ron:

    "What lessons does Iraq teach us in dealing with North Korea’s current saber rattling?"

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2013-03-08 09:40

    E-mail from D.:

    What was learned:
    Don't give war powers to a president,without getting congressional approval.
    Don't use foreign intelligence.
    Don't rely on ex Iraqi ex patriots (Chalibi I believe is ones last name.)
    Don't let in fighting for control of a war "Rumsfeld".
    Don't destabilize and dismiss the govt and military.
    The world knew if" W" got elected that we would be going to Iraq.
    We were blind sided by revenge and patriotism.
    We were "DUPED BY A DOPE"!!

  • Jim Foster img 2013-03-08 13:41

    In general, this was a very enlightening and informative program, with a knowledgeable guest. But, I take serious issue with one comment. I am the person who called in to say I thought Dr. Crane was underplaying the effect that certain Bush Administration leaders (i.e., V.P. Dick Cheney) had in suppressing CIA information at the time that Sadaam had nothing to do with 9/11, probably didn't have nukes and maybe didn't have WMDs. Dr. Crane said he didn't remember much thinking at the time that we had to go after Sadaam because he had something to do with 9/11. That comment is simply contrary to the political mood at the time.

    In my humble opinion, there is SIMPLY NO WAY that the American public could have been persuaded to take out Sadaam in the absence of serious claims that he had something to do with 9/11, since he was not a serious threat to the U.S. After our terrible experience in Vietnam, it simply never would have happened. That deception is a major part of the terribly tarnished legacy of the Bush Administration generally and of V.P. Cheney in particular. I wish the host had followed up to raise that point.

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