On August 31st, U.S. combat operations in Iraq will end and the American military will shift to a transitional support role. The critics said it was not possible, but George W. Bush’s “Status of Forces” and “Strategic Framework” Agreements have now been fully implemented. As promised, 236 U.S. bases have been turned over to Iraq, and while the terrorists remain, they now have to contend with a vigorous, well equipped and well trained Iraq National Army.
Millions of pieces of equipment are coming back to the United States, and the promises of the former President have been fulfilled. He told us when “Iraq’s Army stands up, America will be able to stand down.” This is a watershed event and Iraq could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.
Vice President Joe Biden is saying Iraq “could be one of the great achievements of this administration.” The credit however clearly belongs to the Iraqi people, the U.S. military and the Bush Administration. The news media will be praising President Obama, but what they will not say is that he simply continued to implement the Bush agreements.
President Obama announced pullout timelines in February of 2009, but he was just confirming a schedule which already been accepted by his predecessor.
At the height of his power, Saddam Hussein controlled a one million man Army, sent rockets into space, financed and trained dozens of terrorist groups, and came close to developing an atomic bomb. Thanks to the United States, there are no longer any political prisoners, no executions, no torture at Abu Ghraib Prison and no limit on the freedom of expression.
Did Bush Make The Right Decision?
President Bush was harshly criticized because WMD stockpiles were not discovered after Saddam was overthrown. No one, including Saddam’s top Generals, knew the stockpile had been destroyed. His nation would not have had to endure years of international sanctions if Saddam had admitted this.
It really did not matter. The UN weapons inspection report by Charles Duelfer concluded that all of the WMD production lines were still in tact and working. Saddam could have had another stockpile within a week according to the UN. He had all the necessary ingredients to once again produce the same WMD he had manufactured and used in the past.
There are credible reports that some stockpiles were transported to Syria by a Russian military convoy. Some 500,000 viles of lethal chemicals such as sarin and mustard gas were found on Iraqi military installations. These were the same kind of chemical weapons Saddam used during the Iran-Iraq war and against the Kurds in 1988. An anthrax-spore separating centrifuge was discovered along with all of the equipment for manufacturing chemical weapons.
We were engaged on almost a daily basis with Saddam’s forces in the no-fly zone established after the Gulf War. He was violating at least 19 UN directives and the terms of surrender for first Gulf War. Due to Iraq’s violations, a state of war had continued to exist between Iraq and the US since 1991. President Bush actually needed no further Congressional authorization or UN participation. The UN was unable to enforce their own resolutions. Furthermore, the official policy of the US toward Iraq had been regime change since 1998, under the Clinton administration.
The terrorists have not completely abandoned Iraq, but the large scale inhuman carnage and suffering has stopped.
- Thomas Friedman of The New York Times says “Former President George W. Bush’s gut instinct that this region craved and needed democracy was always right.”
- Many liberal politicians in both 2004 and 2006 claimed the United States was “imposing democracy on Iraq.” The results of five elections demonstrate Iraqi’s are enthusiastic participants in the democratic process.
- Peter Wehner of Politics Daily noted: “We might be able to agree, too, that the new counterinsurgency strategy announced by President Bush in January 2007 — a strategy that was fiercely opposed by Messrs. Biden and Obama, by virtually the entire Democratic Party, the political class, and almost all of the foreign policy establishment — was a wise and politically courageous decision. . . But it’s clear, I think, that the commonly held view that Iraq was ‘probably the biggest foreign policy mistake in American history’ (Joe Klein) was wrong and foolish.”
4,414 Americans perished in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the remarkable outcome has merited their sacrifice. They established a foundation of peace for generations to come. They liberated an oppressed people who had endured 35 years of a brutal dictatorship, and 29 million Iraqi’s now have a far better life.
They sent a powerful message to the 315 million residents of the Middle East who lack democracy and human rights. American soldiers also stopped the terrorists and they protected us against an enemy whose ultimate goal is the destruction of innocent American lives. Operation Iraqi Freedom has been achieved, and the mission has been accomplished.