Last Saturday, April 9, was the anniversary of the fall of Baghdad in 2003 to U.S. troops in the Iraq War.
Do you remember why Americans got into Iraq and ousted tyrannical Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein? It was believed - by Democrats and Republicans alike, as well as by leaders around the world - that Saddam possessed, or was close to developing, nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, and thus was a threat to the world.
Well, Saddam was ousted. No nukes were found in Iraq. But there was elation throughout the world - including among many Iraqis - that he had been removed from power.
That was 2003 - a long time ago. Nearly 50,000 American troops are still in Iraq today - in 2011!
Many Americans and Iraqis sincerely wish the United States were "out" of Iraq, and most of our forces are officially slated to be gone by the end of the year. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently suggested troops may stay on longer. The problem is that nobody really knows whether some troublesome, extreme or terrorist faction would fill a power vacuum in Iraq if U.S. military forces withdrew.
We are reminded, sadly, of the old Uncle Remus story about Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. When Br'er Rabbit got his paws stuck on the Tar Baby, he found he couldn't turn loose!
We'd like to "turn loose" in Iraq. But we're "stuck" there, with continuing problems - for both Americans and Iraqis.