The Iraq War in retrospect: Victory on almost all fronts

Despite the left’s premature proclamations of failure, all the evidence in recent news reports indicate that the situation in Iraq has vastly improved, especially since the troop surge began last year. Violence is down in all provinces, and the residents of Baghdad openly and happily celebrated New Year’s Eve a few nights ago:

While the stabilization of Iraq is still ongoing, I think it’s safe to say that future historians will look back on the 2003 liberation of Iraq as a wise and ultimately successful operation.

Let’s look back on the victories the coalition and Iraqi forces have achieved, on numerous fronts, over the past five years:

1.) Victory for human rights. We overthrew a vicious and dangerous dictator who threatened the safety of Middle East and America. Saddam Hussein was responsible for at least 500,000 civilian deaths, especially among the Kurds and Shi’ites (that number doesn’t include Iraqi deaths from the Iran-Iraq war, so the total number is probably much higher). Therefore, over his 24 years of rule, Saddam killed about 20,000 of his own people EVERY YEAR.

If he was still in power, and still murdering Iraqis at this rate, then at least 100,000 more Iraqis would have died since the liberation of Iraq in 2003. Even considering the undoubtedly inflated number of 87,683 on, fewer Iraqi civilians have died because of our intervention.

It’s difficult to estimate how many American lives were saved by deposing Saddam. Remember Saddam hated America, so much so that he once tried to assassinate an American president! His hatred of the US, and his tendency to use chemical weapons on HIS OWN people, were a frightening combination. Despite the naysayers, there was a good possibility Saddam would have collaborated with Al-Qaida–“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”–and would have provided them with the tools or instructions for making WMDs. After all, Saddam had demonstrated his support for terrorists in the past, especially Hamas. It’s not as big a leap as some people say for Saddam to have provided assistance to Al-Qaida because of their shared hatred of the US.

So, the liberation of Iraq got rid of a mad dictator who killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and tortured countless more (eg, rape rooms and feeding people feet-first into paper-shredders, etc). That was certainly a success for human rights…

2.) Victory against the terrorists. While it’s debateable how many Al-Qaida agents were in Iraq in 2003, it’s not debateable that there were many terrorists actively fighting against coalition and Iraqi forces after the liberation. For the first couple of years, the terrorists staged many impressive explosions, especially in places like the Anbar province. But things turned against them after they killed four American security personnel in Fallujah and desecrated their bodies. Then the US Marines opened a can of whoop-ass on the insurgents, and drove them out of Fallujah. After seeing this demonstration of American strength, the village sheiks agreed that they better help the coalition by eliminating any Al-Qaida agents from their midst…and they have! The Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, has completely turned around, and no longer is a hotbed of insurgents.

A similar story happened in Najaf involving the Shia terrorists. Remember Muqtada al-Sadr and his mighty Mahdi army? No? That’s because coalition forces roundly defeated them way back in 2004. Muqtada has since had to take refuge in Iran.

Terrorist after terrorist has come to Iraq, determined to try his luck against the coalition and Iraqi security forces. And time after time, he’s been defeated and humiliated.

The most significant development in the war against terror has happened in 2007–when Iraqis all over the country began to turn against the insurgents and deny them safe harbor.


This story–which you won’t hear on CNN since they only report the bad news out of Iraq–is probably the most important victory to come out of the 2003 intervention, that is…

3.) Victory in transforming the Middle East. As good as it was to free Iraq from a murderous tyrant, and to defeat the forces of terrorism that tried to fill Saddam’s absence, the most important victory is yet to come–but it’s on its way. The biggest reason Bush led this coalition into Iraq was in the endeavor to completely transform the Middle East. By replacing Saddam’s dictatorship with a friendly, pro-Western democracy, we’ve taken a major stride towards eliminating Islamist terrorism. Besides seeing our military might, the Islamists now are watching in despair as Iraqis embrace a way of life that completely goes against their fascist dreams of a global caliphate. Now the Middle East has not one isolated democracy, but two: Israel and Iraq! Muslims all over the region are observing the progress, and will soon realize that they, too, would benefit from reshaping their own countries.

We’ve already seen the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, and multiparty elections in Egypt, for the Palestine Authority, and, further east, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kuwaiti women now have the right to vote. In the future, more and more people in the Middle East will take inspiration from the purple thumbs of the Iraqis, and their determination to eliminate Islamist extremism.

It’s still a long way off before all of theh Middle East has followed suit, but the wave of the future is inevitable: and it’s crying out “Bush was right!”

And America will have saved the world from itself–once again!

Whoa boy.

Oh, this is going to go well.

House Bets

1:1 Pile-on
5:4 Moved to Pit
5:3 Closed
2:1 Deleted
4:1 Board Invasion
5:1 OP Returns


Right, what’s next?


Polling Report on Iraq.

Welcome to the SDMB. You put together a nice little OP, but I expect you’re going to get your ass handed to you on this. I’ll throw in my 2 cents, and we’ll see how this goes.

Some were able to celebrate, but suicide bombers blowing are still blowing people up regularly.

Let’s wait 10 years and see.

I don’t know if that number is inflated. Estimates seem to range between 50k and 600k. It could be anywhere inbetween. Also, you can’t just add up all the people SH killed and assume a linear extrapolation. We had him boxed in with the no fly zones, and the Kurds were pretty independent of SH. How many Kurds did he kill while the NFZ was in place?

It’s not difficult. Maybe he tried to kill 1 American (Bush the elder). It’s possible that any of our adversaries in the M.E. might team up with al Qaeda. Do we invade all those countries because of some vague hypothetical?

It’s not very debatable. There may have been a handful of al Qaeda types operating independently in Iraq (ie, not cooperating w/ SH), but we brought all the rest in. And they’re still there!

I’ve heard about that on CNN. But it’s not a victory to have partially overcome a bad situation that we created by invading. And I emphasize partially, because we ain’t done yet.

By any measure I can think of, the M.E., as a whole, is worse off now than before the invasion. Iran is very happy, though.

SH was never a threat to the US. There were no WMDs, no al Qaeda connections, and we had SH boxed in and contained. We opened Pandora’s box when we invaded, and we won’t know for some time how bad things will get.

Bush was wrong.

“If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress.” — El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)

The most important front, a permanent Republican majority, looks to be going down in flames. Having lost the house and senate, it’s looking increasingly likely that come november, they’ll lose the white house, and any chance of appointing conservative lackeys to the supreme court.
If this is victory, I wonder what defeat looks like.

And regarding Human Rights… are you aware of how many Iraqis have been forced out of their homes or fled in fear? It was almost 800k in 2006 alone. The UN estimates about 2.2M have fled the country. That’s almost 10% of the entire population. And you can bet that a good number of them are the professionals and educated folks who had the wherewithall to get the hell out.

Imagine if 25M Americans fled the country in the past 5 years. Would you call that a successful domestic policy?

Why isn’t anyone but John Mace taking my topic(s) seriously?

Can anyone really argue that Iraq was better off with Saddam in power? That’s the point of victory point #1: we’ve improved Iraq’s human rights situation.

As for Al-Qaida in Iraq–including the group called “Al Qaida in Iraq” as well as sympathizers–the argument I’ve heard is that the battlefields in Iraq have served as magnets drawing the terrorists out of their caves and into Iraq, where we can fight them face-to-face. I don’t know how true that is, but I know we, along with the Iraqi security forces and village elders, have reduced AQ to a minimum presence. And Anbar province, which was overrun by insurgent forces, has been entirely reclaimed–that’s a major component of victory point #2.

I know that victory point #3 is not yet realized. But I pointed out some promising hints for the future. How is the ME worse off now? How can Iran be happy? They’ve seen what we’ve done to terrorist-supporting regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq (SH did support Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, both of them terrorist gropus), and the government must be afraid that they’ll be next.

SH had WMDs–he had used them to gas the Shi’ites after the Gulf War ended, and before the Gulf War had used chemical weapons against the Kurds. The real question is could he have reactivated his WMD programs? After 9/11, the Bush adminstration made it clear that we could not tolerate gathering threats–and they determined that SH and his past ways were unacceptable.

I know the first four years were tough going, but in 2007, the momentum in Iraq took a decisively positive turn. Anbar province has eliminated the insurgent presence; violent civilian deaths are down by 75%.

A 75% drop! That’s got to be good news. And much, if not all, of it can be attributed to the troop surge, which the MSM is strangely reluctant to mention nowadays:


You magnifcent troll !!!

Actually I’m not saying you are really troll, but I’m sure the effect will be the same.

I have to admire people like you who are determined to be positive. I’ve been hoping for all your “victories”, but I’d say we are still a long long long way off.

I think most people around here are just tired of debating this topic. It’s been done over and over and over again on this board. I don’t know if you’ve lurked much, but you really haven’t brought anything new here that hasn’t been beat to death.

We created a mess and it’s now not quite so much a mess. Thousands of Americans have died, and 10s of thousands are wounded. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and millions are refugees. It wasn’t worth it. Like I said, we had SH boxed in, and he wasn’t a threat to anyone.

Sort of reminds me what happened to Churchill.

It was a monstrously evil act, and they were in no way liberated. They are if anything less free than they were.

“Inflated” ? Try “grossly undercounted”.

Pretty much none. Not that it matters.

Not a chance, they were mortal enemies. And he didn’t have the tools to make WMDs. And the odds of him or any other government/dictator giving such weapons to loose cannons who hate them and want them dead are pretty much zero.

Replacing torture, rape and murder by Saddam with torture,rape and murder by Americans AND various Iraqi factions is not a success for human rights.

The answer to “how many Al-Qaeda agents were in Iraq in 2003”, is, “however few managed to avoid getting caught and killed by Saddam”. As for afterwards, Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters have never been anything other than a small factor in Iraq. And shooting at or bombing American invaders does NOT make you a terrorist. It is the right and duty of any Iraqi to kill as many American soldiers as they can.

And killing the man the terrorists wanted you to kill, and destroying the government they hated is a massive VICTORY for terrorism. Iraq is probably the biggest victory for terrorism in history.

Blackwater mercenaries. Known scum.

We massacred a bunch of innocent people, pretended they were “insurgents”, wrecked the city, and pretended it was a victory.

They aren’t a democracy. They are a chaotic mess, a failed state. And they AREN’T friendly, and never will be after what we’ve done.

:rolleyes: Oh, please. The overthrow of Saddam was a massive VICTORY for the “Islamists”. He was their enemy; now in Iraq, more and more it’s the “Islamists” who make the rules.

Garbage. Iraq was a massive blow against democracy in the Middle East.

Never happen.

No, America engaged in an act of mass murder for profit and power, and screwed it up to boot. Bush is a monster, and America is a monstrous nation for letting him get away with it all.

Apologies. I’ll give it a go.

I’d be interested in knowing first how it can be that proclamations of failure are premature but proclamations of victory aren’t. If the end hasn’t been reached, then surely both are premature? Victory, at least to me, implies a finish. Are we done? Can we pull out now?

I think things are improving too. The question is; was it worth it? Are all those goods things that you mention (of which I agree with some and disagree with others) enough to counterbalance the bad? Look at John Mace’s cites; has, overall, the situation so hugely improved? And not just for Iraqis and others in the ME; I don’t agree with you that Saddam posed much of a threat, so all American lives lost are (in my eyes) deaths that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

We’ve already seen the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon,


As someone who lived in Lebanon for six years (until the 2006 war forced us to leave), I can say that the Cedar Revolution is on the ropes. The Saniora government is as weak as it has ever been, and Hizbullah is stronger than it has been since the Israelis left Southern Lebanon in 2000. Syria is once again asserting its dominance over Lebanon, through bombings and through its proxy force, Hizbollah. The Cedar Revolution failed, and the US lacks the regional standing to do anything about it by standing up to the chief opponents of the Cedar Revolution–namely, Syria and Iran. At this point, I think the US is willing to hand Lebanon over to Syria in exchange for Syrian cooperation on other issues, such as Iraq and Israel. Some great successful revolution. It could have been successful, but the US didn’t know how to support it, and squandered its standing in the Middle East to such an extent that not it cannot support it–US support is tantamount to the kiss of death now.

So I can’t speak to your other data points, but this one is unmitigated BS. Besides, the Cedar Revolution was brought about by the assassination of Hariri, not by any efforts on the part of the US.

Because most of the people here think you are not only wrong, but on the wrong side ethically, AND it’s been discussed to death.

Easily. They were better off in every way. More prosperous, more free, with more hope, more of them were alive, unoccupied by a foreign enemy; better off in every way.

It was a “minimum presence” BEFORE we invaded. “Minimum” as in “pretty much nonexistent”. They are there because we let them in, and gave them what they wanted. And using the populace of another country as a mass human sacrifice to draw out our enemy is hardly the victory for human rights you say it is. Even assuming that it had worked.

We killed off their enemy Saddam, obeyed the manipulations of their man Chalabi, weakened ourselves and strengthened them. And we’ve pinned ourselves down, which makes an all out invasion of Iran less likely.

Oh, nonsense. Saddam was no danger to us and we knew it.

On the flip side, it’s pretty easy to estimate how many American lives would have been saved if we hadn’t deposed Saddam: at least 3,904.


But the important point is that they’re still alive, and Iraq is restabilizing. Soon, most of them will be back. In fact, 110,000 Iraqis have already returned home. Plus the rate of those leaving Iraq has finally reversed.

I think it’s only an “important point” if you can show that these refugees would have otherwise been killed under Saddam’s rule. Otherwise, what’s your metric?