By Hannah Hayes
What do you call 50,000 troops that will be left behind when the U.S. withdraws from Iraq? Re-missioned. How can you re-mission troops when they never had their original mission disclosed?
But we’re jumping ahead on Iraq (while we’re falling behind at home). The reality today is that lives keep being lost, dollars continue to be spent, and troops still redeploy. It ain’t over, folks.
On just one day this March, a Baghdad soldier dies from combat-related injuries, a roadside bomb wounds three, a grenade explodes, wounding three civilians, two roadside bombs target a U.S. patrol with the official report of casualties not yet available, five decomposed corpses are found, an improvised explosive device damages a gas station, an Iraqi soccer player is shot to death as he was about to kick what could have been a tying goal, and there are seven more incidents for just this one day as listed on www.warnewstoday.blogspot.com.
Here in the U.S., a mother provides heroic assistance to a grown son who now requires 24-hour care. Thousands of Iraq veterans suffer from traumatic brain injuries they might not have survived years ago. Post-traumatic stress disorder looms for those who understandably can’t walk away from the events of war. Suffering will continue long after the war has been declared over.
President Obama’s election can be attributed in a large part to his consistent opposition to war in Iraq. Regrettably, he has extended his 16-month withdrawal plan to 19 months. What’s an additional three months? More soldiers’ lives for a senseless war? Another $2.5 billion? How many more Iraqi women and children will die?
Let’s review what ending the war should mean: troops home, 150,000 contractors and mercenaries out, all bases turned over to the Iraqis, and no more attempts to capture Iraqi oil.
The 50,000 re-missioned troops that remain might be on a humanitarian mission, but history indicates the familiar U.S. policy of permanent occupation. After liberating Cuba from Spain in 1898, the U.S. continued to intervene in Cuban affairs and established Guantánamo Naval Base. When Castro nationalized businesses, U.S. corporations were forced out. Now private contractors like Bechtel and Halliburton have moved into Iraq, and oil companies are vying for ownership of Iraqi oil. All have been asked to leave by Iraqis.
Obama would do well to heed the historian Robert Dallek, who states, “Wars are the enemy of far-reaching change. World War I stopped Progressivism; in the 1940s ‘Dr. Win the War replaced Dr. New Deal,’ as Franklin D. Roosevelt said; the Korean War sidetracked Harry Truman’s Fair Deal; and Vietnam frustrated Johnson’s hopes of additional Great Society measures.”
With all the important work to do at home, the war that never should have been should certainly be no more.
By Kelly Weist
What can one say that is the least new and/or interesting on the sixth anniversary of U.S. troops entering Iraq? Not much. The war itself was over quite awhile ago. What we’ve been engaged in since then has been a security operation, one with the goal of assisting to establish and protect a nascent democracy. This is not to denigrate the very fine work of the U.S. men and women deployed to Iraq, nor the ultimate sacrifice thousands made for the cause.
But the irresponsible ravings of the left on the issue of Iraq do denigrate that work and sacrifice. Those men and women have been fighting for something crucial — America’s security. Leaving in place a regime that welcomed, trained and financed anti-West terrorists was unacceptable and suicidal. It’s that simple.
The foremost reason for the deployment was the clear refusal of Saddam Hussein’s regime to comply with the 17 U.N. resolutions regarding the disarmament of Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction inspection program. Iraq clearly had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons as of the end of the first Gulf War, and from that point embarked on a campaign to hide those weapons from weapons inspectors, continued its development of a nuclear weapon program, and used politics and corruption at the U.N. to ultimately lift the inspection program and the sanctions. Iraq refused to show any evidence that it had disposed of such weapons to U.N. inspectors. Even President Clinton, speaking in 1998, made the case: “If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”
In the years leading up to the 2003 deployment, it was the consensus of not only the U.S. intelligence community, but of the intelligence communities of all our allies, that Iraq not only had chemical and biological WMD, but was developing nuclear weapons. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2002 concluded with “high confidence that Iraq is continuing and, in some areas, expanding its chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities.” The NIE also concluded that “Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.” Even Joe Wilson, the truth-challenged gadfly, showed that Iraq was attempting to obtain fissile material in Africa. There is no doubt that there was WMD in Iraq, and that a nuclear weapon was obtainable for it. It was also the consensus of the Democrats. From Nancy Pelosi to Ted Kennedy to Al Gore, Democratic leaders were all on the same page. Even the New York Times and the Washington Post declaimed that something had to be done. Madeline Albright, as secretary of state, even said that it was essential to America’s security. It’s just that when it was President Bush who finally took action, they all decided to let politics trump reality.
It is clear that the objective of disarming Saddam’s regime of WMD took a great deal longer than we anticipated, and had a somewhat unsatisfactory ending, given that we still don’t know where many of the weapons are. Where they went is a very good question, but it does not disprove the reason we went in, nor does it prove that the Bush administration was lying, as the left loves to assert. However, the objective has been accomplished resoundingly, in that the new democracy of Iraq is very much less likely to attempt to develop or use WMDs.
Ho hum. We’re at war. How boring. Kelly, are you loco? To say that Iraq is uninteresting IS denigrating.
And now you’ve clarified the mission for us: “The Cause.” The fighting in Iraq had nothing to do with, and did nothing for, America’s security. Whatever regime that might have “welcomed, trained and financed anti-West terrorists” was not in Iraq.
With an infamous joke of looking under the table (a joke that turns the stomach of everyone with a conscience) and later admitting WMDs were irrelevant, Bush is on the record as having ordered the CIA to manufacture the evidence. He was informed in January 2003 by U.S. intelligence officials that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction. Saddam’s regime was cooperating with weapons’ inspectors. The U.S. kicked them out.
Joe Wilson was manipulated, as was Colin Powell, as were the American people. If anyone doubts that Bush and Co. should be prosecuted, Kelly’s column is the proof. The lies and deception that tricked our country into this senseless, and ongoing, war must be exposed.
Boy, if war stops liberals’ utopian agendas, as Hannah asserts, then I say let’s go bomb somebody! What her recitation shows is that human nature cannot be reformed or changed just by the declaration of “A New Deal” or “Hope and Change.” There will always be bad guys, there will always be someone trying to stop freedom, and America stands as the bulwark against the tide of oppression and dictatorship. Why is this such a difficult thing for liberals to embrace? If they don’t believe in the superiority of the U.S.’s guaranteed freedoms and rule of law, then why are they here?
Liberals cannot understand why mothers and fathers are proud of their sons who fight and die for our freedoms. There is nothing that they would die for, you see. They would never go over to another country and die for those people’s freedom and America’s security. Liberals are so much better at taking our money in order to redistribute our wealth to those who will turn around and either contribute the money back to them or vote for their absurd policies.
Hannah B. Hayes is a small-business owner and activist with Evergreen Peace. A recent graduate of Leadership Evergreen with a master’s degree in education, Hayes has remained active in this community through her writing and organizing for 35 years.
Attorney and political activist Kelly Weist has served on the board of directors of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women and is the co-founder of Mountain Republican Women. She is an adjunct professor of political science at Metropolitan State College of Denver.