As the U.S. military prepared to invade Iraq in March 2003, the Pentagon predicted a quick and decisive victory. But Tuesday, as the nation enters its fifth year of war in Iraq, the United States finds itself in the midst of a troop increase that will bring its force in Iraq to around 160,000.  According to the Pentagon, 3,197 U.S. military deaths have occurred since the U.S. has been at war with Iraq.

Today we find ourselves surrounded by anti-war rallies and vigils in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Sacramento. Some organizers estimate that at least 1,000 rallies will take place nationwide.

Why are we protesting? In March 2003, many of our top advisers claimed that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. Saddam did not attack us. During the same year, President Bush, based on false intelligence-gathering, stated, “Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.” Five years later those weapons have not been identified. The anti-war rallies are urging the Bush administration to get out of Iraq and to prevent the U.S. from entering Iran, even though President Bush has formally declared no intentions to do so.

The U.S. can no longer be the military to the world. We must begin stepping off the world military stage and let other European nations provide the necessary might to stabilize the world where there is conflict. The U.S. throughout history has shown its commitment for fighting wars to prevent tyranny and then rebuild these nations as an exemplary world superpower.  However, the Middle East has been fighting these wars for centuries and there is no end in sight. This administration must now admit that democracy in Iraq or anywhere in the Middle East (with the exception of Israel) is a foregone conclusion — can’t happen, won’t happen, never could happen