Saturday, November 22, 2008

Victory in Iraq

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It's time. It's well past time in fact to declare our victory in Iraq.

I've joined with Z-man and many others to give our boys and girls what they earned: the joy of a hard fought victory.

In years past, the bar for victory was the capture of the capital city of the nation you invaded. The citizens well-being was secondary and the continuing viability of said city was what the victors deemed useful. That has changed for the better thanks to our efforts in Iraq.

We invaded Iraq in the the spring of 2003 and President George W. Bush made it clear that this was the premier battle in the greater War on Terror. We took the capital in record time led by a military force so awesome that any resistance melted in front of our troops due to overwhelming force and the sheer will of our men and women who enlisted for just such a battle. Al-Qaeda saw it that way and sent every recruit they could into Baghdad and provinces north and south to defeat us.

Things went awry and bad decisions were made and we were caught in a situation that was alien to us. Soldiers and Marines died in a Peace-keeping mission that was not supposed to be as it was playing out. Support waned and good men and women died and each death was played up by the media as another example of us losing in Bush's Folly. The media and liberals were giddy when the death count reached 1,000 dead, then 2,000 was a dark time indeed. Of course the media never put it into the context of the battle for Iwo Jima, which resulted in 6,800 deaths in two months. That was a good war in the eyes of our new correspondents.

Then something incredible happened, some of those who supported the liberation of an oppressed people got cold feet. They became pussies at the exact moment when the nation needed strength. They surrendered, an unthinkable American concept. They said "we can't win" and the war became a political issue. The election in 2004 saw a battle in itself, a battle between a vet who sought his first political edge in blaming our troops for unsubstantiated atrocities and then made what most would acknowledge were incredibly inane comments, which our troops responded to quite forcefully. Kerry wanted Vietnam while America didn't.

Things were quite bleak and it was time for a change in approach. Enter Senator John McCain who called for what became known as "The Surge"--a build-up of forces to combat the insurgency that had developed and was led by al-Qaeda. It took incredible political guts to call for this but it was voted upon and yet it was thusly approved.

Unbelievably it worked and it worked with astonishing speed. A man named Petraeus created a strategy that will be studied for generations; a strategy that incorporated public relations, extreme force, community organizing on a scale that Barack Obama would have shied away from and downright intelligence. He attacked al-Qaeda where they had established strongholds by using their actions against them. The Iraqi's looked at the treatment they received at the hands of the insurgents and decided that American troops--troops accused by a sitting US Representative of murder--were better than their fellow Muslims. Astounding.

Now we've reached the end of the war. Things are clearly settled and al-Qaeda decided that Iraq was not quite the welcome place they'd hoped thanks to US ingenuity and a good old fashioned ass-kicking applied by our troops.

It's time. It's time to say that yes, we have won. Liberals and anti-warriors will say that we have troops there so it can't be over as they secretly curse that it should have been another Vietnam so we wouldn't soon take such action again. Even worse, George W. Bush joins the short list of Presidents who've won a major war. Washington, Lincoln, FDR/Truman, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. That's it.

Congratulations to those who've fought this battle and to their families who've suffered. To those who've died I owe my deepest gratitude but they did it in the cause of victory and they join the pantheon of heroes who won wars that preceded this one. To those who played different but highly significant roles, we all owe you our gratitude.

Job well done to all and Bravo Zulu.

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