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Another History of Iraq

From American Thinker
December 28, 2008
Iraq and Its Lessons
By Randall Hoven

Excerpts

Fourth, as I have summarized before, Iraq has improved dramatically on multiple fronts since the end of “major combat operations.”

Five of Iraq’s provinces accounted for 87% of insurgent attacks, meaning 13 of its 18 provinces have been relatively peaceful throughout.
Iraq now has its own democratically approved constitution and representative government, due to a series of honest and popular elections held in 2005. And it is working.

Its economy has tripled. Oil production essentially matched pre-war levels by the end of 2003, and currently exceeds it. Electricity availability exceeded pre-war levels by 2004, and is now 50% to 200% above pre-war levels. Car ownership has doubled; there are more than 10 times as many telephone subscribers and 100 times as many internet subscribers, with much of that growth occurring in the first two to three years after liberation.

The people do not have to rely on getting all their information from Saddam Hussein and Baghdad Bob. Today they have dozens of commercial TV stations and hundreds radio stations, newspapers and magazines. Again, much of that growth was immediately after liberation.
Iraq has achieved satisfactory progress on nearly all (if not all) of the 18 political criteria defined jointly by the Democrat-led Congress and President Bush. So much so, that you don’t hear Democrats even talking about the criteria any more.

Fifth, let’s give some perspective to what did happen. The US suffered more fatalities in single battles of World War II (Invasion of the Marianas), for example) than in the entire five-plus years of the Iraq war. If you think it fair to compare the duration of those two wars, then you ought to compare fatality counts as well. The answer is more than 100 to 1. And don’t forget that World War II ended with two atomic bombs.

Let’s also compare what actually happened to what people had feared at the beginning. In February of 2003 The Nation and others trembled at the thought of 77,000 body bags. I swear that some people could have accepted 20,000 or 50,000 dead US troops, if the deaths had occurred in six months or a year of “major combat operations.” Amazingly, what seems to upset people so, is that people died after “major combat operations” were declared over.

While Saddam ruled Iraq, he started two wars with his neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, resulting in about a million deaths, virtually all Muslims. He killed large numbers of his own countrymen, primarily Kurds and Shiites, using means that included chemical weapons and nerve gas. He filled mass graves to the tune of 400,000. We are talking 1,400,000 deaths over 20 years, or 70,000 deaths per year on average.

As bad as the Iraqi civilian death count has been in this war, it represents a 75% reduction in Saddam’s average kill rate. And even those deaths, except for a small fraction, were not the result of direct US warfare such as missed bombs and crossfire. They were the result of al-Qaida-on-Iraqi and Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence – suicide bombs, improvised explosives, assassinations, executions and tortures.

Read the entire article here

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The Hardest Work has Been Done

Excerpt from “Moment of Truth in Iraq” by Michael Yon

“When our troops start drawing down, as they should when the conditions are favorable, the drawdown must be done methodically, for reasons both strategic and logistic. A hasty withdrawal would only empower our enemies and allow al Qaeda to regenerate. Politics dictates that politicians talk about withdrawal. The truth is right now we need more troops here, so we can get out of these tanks and other armor in Mosul and start walking the streets. The higher truth is that we are so close to winning , winning in the big sense of seeing Iraq be free and democratic, united and at peace (by local standards), that it would be a crime to hold back now. Maybe creating a powerful democracy in the Middle East was a foolish reason to go to war. Maybe it was never the reason we went to war. But it is within our grasp now and nearly all the hardest work has been done.”

“Whoever becomes our next president in January 2009 must be prepared for an uptick in violence in Iraq shortly after the inauguration. Insurgency is a political ware, waged on the news cycle, and our enemies might well try to create an illusion of strength. If the new president is panicked by an illusion and pulls our troops out, we and the Iraqis will likely pay the price for decades, perhaps generations to come. If we precipitously withdraw our troops, all of the tremendous progress we are seeing will be lost. The region could descend into chaos.”

“One of the saddest things about the Iraq War has been the polarization back home. There is no doubt that it was an elective war and poorly executed. But some of our countrymen want to see us lose this war. For many people it seems more important that they win the argument than for justice to prevail and Iraq to be free. On the other hand, those who support the war must remember that critics were often right.”

Michael Yon at Wikipedia

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One Iraq

Excerpt from “Moment of Truth in Iraq” by Michael Yon

“Iraq is one nation.” Those who suggest that Iraq should be partitioned, noting Iraqis often do not get along and the Sunni-Shia rift is profound, miss the crucial reality that Iraqis consider themselves foremost to be Iraqis. The conflicts between Iraqi Sunni and Shia are largely political, not theological. Al Qaeda, now the main instigator of civil war, is thoroughly discredited and strategically crushed in Iraq. Today, Al Qaeda’s attempts to incite sectarian violence only back fires.”

Michael_Yon at Wikipedia

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When Even the Good News is Reported as Bad

from Slate Magazine

Iraq’s Budget Surplus Scandal
Why do we have such a hard time hearing good news from Baghdad?
By Christopher Hitchens
Updated Monday, Aug. 11, 2008, at 6:53 AM ET

Excerpts

Largely attributable to the bonanza in oil prices, to new discoveries of oil since the eviction of Saddam Hussein, and to the increasing success of Iraqi exports via the pipelines to Turkey, this surplus could amount to as much as $79 billion by the end of this year. A good chunk of that money is sitting safely in a bank in New York. I would call this good news by any standard, though of course I understand the annoyance of Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and others involved in the auditing of Iraq, who complain that all the unspent wealth is a bit much, given the heavy outlay from the U.S. treasury for the rebuilding of Mesopotamia.

Yes indeed, Iraq should pay for its own reconstruction. But, just before we all join hands on this obvious proposition, may we take a moment to apologize to Paul Wolfowitz? Of all the many slanders hurled at this advocate for Iraq’s liberation, probably none was more gleefully bandied about than his congressional testimony that Iraq’s recovery from decades of war and fascism could be self-financing. Now the opponents of the intervention are yelling that Iraq ought to be opening its bulging wallet right away.

I think we should be glad that the luridly sadistic and aggressive Saddam Hussein regime is no longer in power to be the beneficiary of the rise in oil prices and thus able to share its wealth with the terrorists, crooks, and demagogues on its secret payroll. I think we should also be glad that its private ownership of Iraq’s armed forces, and its control over a party monopoly called the Baath, has been irrecoverably smashed. Iraq’s resources are no longer at the disposal of an aggressive, parasitic oligarchy. Its retrained and re-equipped army is being deployed, not in wars of invasion against its neighbors and genocide against its inhabitants, but in cleanup campaigns against al-Qaida and the Mahdi Army. An improvement. A distinct improvement.

It is in no spirit of revenge that I remind you that, as little as a year ago, the whole of smart liberal opinion believed that the dissolution of Baathism and militarism had been a mistake, that Iraq itself was a bottomless pit of wasted dollars and pointless casualties, and that the only option was to withdraw as fast as possible and let the inevitable civil war burn itself out. To the left of that liberal consensus, people of the caliber and quality of Michael Moore were describing the nihilist “insurgents” as the moral equivalent of the Minutemen, and to the right of the same consensus, people like Pat Buchanan were hinting that we had been cheated into the whole enterprise by a certain minority whose collective name began with the letter J.

Had any of this sinister nonsense been heeded, it wouldn’t even be Saddam’s goons who were getting their hands on that fantastic wealth in such a strategic country. It would have been the gruesome militias who answer either to fanatical Wahhabism on one wing or to fanatical Shiism on another, and who are the instruments of tyrannical forces in neighboring countries. Hardly a prospect to be viewed with indifference. I still reel when I remember how many supposedly responsible people advocated surrendering Iraq without a fight.

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War Beyond Left and Right

Excerpt from “Moment of Truth in Iraq” by Michael Yon

“All news organizations, from the newbie blogger to the New York Times, from right-wing talk radio to NPR, from CNN to Fox, all ultimately depend upon the financial support of their audiences. So readers and listeners and viewers should not be surprised when media organizations tell them what they want to hear. Happy news for the Left was that U.S. soldiers were demoralized and the war was being lost. Happy news for the Right was that there was no insurgency, then no civil war; we always had enough troops, and we were winning hands down, except for the left-wing lunatics who were trying to unravel it all. They say heroin addicts are happy, too, when they are out of touch with reality.”

Michael_Yon at Wikipedia