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