This just in: A victor is emerging in the Iraq war, and it's Iran.
For the better part of a decade, Iraq and Iran battled each other for control of the Persian Gulf. The 1980-88 war, which cost nearly one million lives and $1 trillion, ended in a stalemate. Now, 18 years later, the U.S. has done for Iran what Iran couldn't do in eight years of fighting. Our military has toppled Saddam Hussein, dismantled his country and destroyed the peaceful co-existence that had prevailed between Iraq's Shiite and Sunni populations. And, by failing to arrest Iraq's radical Shiite cleric Mugtada al Sadr, and rein in his Mahdi Army, we've helped facilitate the onset of civil war.
Today, Baghdad is a killing field where roaming death squads kidnap and kill at will. Over a two-day period during the second week of September, Iraqi police recovered 130 tortured bodies. It's a problem that has proven too big for U.S., Coalition and Iraqi troops. Now, we learn American troops have abandoned the whole of al-Anbar province in western Iraq, an al-Qaida stronghold with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of insurgents.
"We'll leave it (al-Anbar province) to the Iraqis to eventually sort out," a top U.S. commander said recently.
In desperation, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned to Iran for help with his country's security problems.
No wonder Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is smug. He has won on more than one front.
"We are brothers," the Shiite president of Iran told the Shiite prime minister of Iraq when they met Sept. 12 in Iran.
On a second front, Iran has won both the public relations war and the war for hearts and minds. Returning from his tour of the Middle East, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said every leader with whom he had spoken had called the Iraq war a "disaster."
A president determined to outdo his daddy ignored the advice of smart people and plunged us headlong into Iraq. When countries such as France voiced their disapproval, I remember Bush saying he didn't need their support. For all practical purposes, Bush was a one-man show. This cost us the goodwill of many nations. Now that we've lost the war in Iraq -- and, make no mistake, we have lost the war -- the U.S. has lost not only its credibility, but the power its credibility once wielded. That, in itself, is a victory for Iran.
Anna Ryan, Payson
Editor's note: This letter was shortened to fit within the Roundup's 400-word policy for letters to the editor.