Iraq: The Invasion And The Aftermath
Of late, the Kerry campaign has turned their attention back to Iraq and of course, since we are talking about John Kerry here, that means his entire position has again shifted. While I have taken the opportunity to poke fun at Kerry for his total inconsistency on the issue, I haven’t spent a lot of time refuting his arguments about the war. Reason being is that there is really nothing new about these war debates, they’re just a rehash of the exact same old arguments that were talked to death long ago.
This country had more than a year long debate about whether we should hit Iraq or not and then we spent months arguing about it afterwards. Same goes for rebuilding Iraq. That has been discussed over and over again as well. Moreover, John Kerry has been on both sides of both issues multiple times and in essence, his “plan” is exactly the same as George Bush’s plan, except Kerry says Bush isn’t doing it right.
That being said, I don’t think it hurts to do a refresher on the issues every once in a while, particularly on something that is as important as the war in Iraq. So let me tackle this again.
To begin with, was invading Iraq an essential part of the war on terrorism? Without question it was. As George Bush told the world a mere 9 days after 9/11,
“And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.
Saddam chose to side with the terrorists and he paid for it.
But, were we right to brand Iraq a threat and invade? Not just yes, but “Hell Yes” we were.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal, maniacal dictator who started two wars of aggression, used WMD’s against his own people, had every intention of starting his WMD program back up, sheltered numerous terrorists, and had ties to Al-Queda, and Vladimir Putin himself said that,
“Russian intelligence several times received … information that official organs of Saddam’s regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations.”
Without question, this country is safer with Saddam Hussein out of power.
So what are we doing now? Are we spinning our wheels in Iraq? Not in the least. Just as I said back in August when a reader asked if Iraq was another Vietnam,
“(U)nlike in Vietnam, in Iraq, time is on our side. We’re not trying to bring anybody to the negotiating table or just hoping against hope that we can outlast our enemies while politicians make it impossible for our soldiers to win the war. In 6-18 months, we’re going to have a Democratic government in Iraq that is completely capable of handling its own security without our help. Once we’re to that point, the war’s over and we can chalk another one up for the good guys.”
The “insurgents” — who contrary to the impression you might get from watching the nightly news, are PRIMARILY operating in about 20% of the country — cannot beat us, they can only hope to win by default if we give up. Every day that goes by allows the Iraqi government to add more well trained troops and gets us one day closer to National Elections in January. And once there is a Democratically elected Iraqi government that has a large, well, equipped army at its disposal, American casualties will drop off precipitously, hatred for the “insurgents” will surge (many of the same Iraqis who might not be terribly upset by attacks on foreign soldiers will be infuriated by attacks on Iraqi policemen and soldiers who represent a Democratic Iraqi government), and Iraq will start to really make big strides in the right direction.
Now, have things gone as well as we thought they would? No, but there is no such thing as a “Rebuilding Conquered Nations For Dummies” book on the shelf. You do the best you can, you learn from your mistakes, and you try to get it right. It may not be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is.
Last but not least, is helping Iraq become a free nation worth the cost and the bloodshed? Yes, it is.
By paying the price to help Iraq today, we’re helping to make the world safer for our kids. That’s something the world should have learned after watching how the poorly handled aftermath of WW1 helped lead to the horrors of WW2 or even how refusing to finish the job in the Gulf War led to more than a decade of problems with Iraq.
Furthermore, speaking of WW2 and its aftermath, is anyone sorry that we helped Japan and Germany rebuild? What if we had lost a thousand troops in post-war Germany or Japan, would it have been smart to have pulled out? Of course not, and it would be just as dumb to pull out of Iraq today. A free Iraq will likely be a future ally, or at least not a warmongering enemy. Moreover, if Iraq becomes free, it’s entirely possible that it’ll create a “reverse domino effect” that will encourage the people of other nations in the region like Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria to demand Democracy as well. Helping Iraq become a free and democratic state has the potential to be the most earthshaking event in the region since the Crusades and working to help make that happen is a smart move.
So folks, there are always going to be things we could have done better or problems for people to complain about, but I’m confident that we’re doing the right thing, for the right reasons, at the right time in Iraq and I am proud of how George Bush and our troops in Iraq have handled this tough situation.