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 www.iraqbodycount.org, 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!