Standing Up For Operation Iraqi Freedom
Political pundits and Democratic politicians (among others) have been quick to blame the public’s lack of support of President Obama’s plans to “punish” Syria, on the public’s collective memory of the Iraq War. However, I am here to say “Shut Up.”
I am sick and tired of politicians and media personalities decrying the Iraq war as a bad decision or talking about the public’s negative perception of the war. Especially considering that the media was in large part to blame for eroding the support of our efforts in Iraq. Finally, I am sick and tired of feeling obligated to not argue the anti-war crowd.
As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I will no longer sit idly by while those on the soapbox belittle and denigrate the sacrifices of our service men and women.
Today, on the 12th anniversary of 9/11/01, I will start doing what I should have been doing all along….I am going to scream from the mountain tops that I supported the Iraq war then and I still support the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power today.
Many of the most prominent voices now against the invasion of Iraq, voted for the original resolution that authorized President Bush to initiate Operation Iraqi Freedom; including John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden. The Iraq Resolution contained reasons that Saddam Hussein should be removed from power, including:
1) Saddam had used chemical weapons on his own people
2) Saddam had failed to comply with numerous UN resolutions on the proliferation of WMDs
3) Likelihood that Saddam had an undeclared WMD program
4) Saddam provided payments to Palestinian suicide bombers’ families
5) Saddam was a threat to several of our allies who wanted him removed including Israel, Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia
6) Saddam was sheltering known anti-American terrorists
After the invasion, we failed to find too much in the way of evidence that Iraq had WMD’s. However, what we did find was evidence of Saddam’s support of anti-American and anti-Israeli terrorists. After Saddam’s arrest we also found out that he had been intentionally misleading international agencies into believing that he DID have chemical weapons. He was under the impression that if he did not do so, Iran would think his country was weak. He was also under the false impression that America would never attack him, again. It is thus understandable that most intelligence agencies believe Iraq had WMDs, as that was intentional. (Let us also not forget that Saddam Hussein attempted to have President George H.W. Bush assassinated in Kuwait.)
After 9/11 Bush proclaimed that all countries who stood with the terrorists were enemies of the United States. After taking the logical first step in Afghanistan, President Bush focused next on a list of other state-sponsors of terror. Iraq was clearly one of these nations. It was also one that would be relatively easy to build support for (70% of Americans supported the invasion and overwhelming congressional approval) and one with a great chance of becoming a free and prosperous country afterwards. Bush fully believed that creating a beacon of freedom in the Middle East was the only way to end Islamic terrorism. Bush didn’t lie, he told what he thought was true and he was right.
While certainly there were strategic errors made in the initial invasion, much progress was made after the surge. Flying at night over Baghdad in 2003, I saw a city with power grid going off and on regularly throughout the evening. However, only 2 years later in 2005 I saw a city of lights more resembling Los Angeles. This stark example is a testament to the commitment and perseverance of our troops and their Commander-in-Chief. Schools were being rebuilt, the economy was beginning to turn, and external investment was flowing in. The surge worked and Bush’s strategy to spread freedom in the Middle East appeared viable and would continuously improve into 2011. All people deserve the opportunity to be free.
In 2011, as the USA and Iraq were in negotiations for a Status of Forces Agreement, President Obama focused on politics, not on what was right. Instead of spending time and effort to ensure that several thousand US troops would stay in Iraq to train Iraqis and prevent Iranian influence, he willingly allowed the negotiations to fall apart. This meant that there would be no American troops left in Iraq after 2011 and that Iran would have free-reign to assert its influence on Iraqi politics. President Obama’s failure to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement is directly responsible for the unrest currently evolving in Iraq.
President George W Bush was a great leader and an honorable man. I didn’t agree with everything he did and he certainly made his fair share of mistakes. However, the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power was not one of them.
The Iraq war was a vital deterrent to other state sponsors of terror and was an honorable and worthwhile venture. To those who disagree, I respectfully ask that you move on and stop demeaning the sacrifice that so many of our troops and their families made.
God bless, America.by