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Iraq: It's too soon to tell


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iraq-its-too-soon-to-tellAmerican Enterprise Institute:

Paul Wolfowitz




U.S. Army 1st Lt. Julie Leggett and Sgt. Leonard Doan, from Security Detachment, 25th Special Troops Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, talk with a town leader about a site survey of businesses in Sequor, Iraq, on Aug. 12, 2009.


It may be a long time before we really know the outcome of the Iraq war. To put that in perspective, consider that the Korean armistice was signed 60 years ago, but South Korea struggled for decades after that. Even after 30 years, only an extreme optimist would have predicted that South Korea today would not only have one of the world’s most successful economies but also a democratic political system that has successfully conducted six free and fair presidential elections over the last 25 years.


So too, it may be many years before we have a clear picture of the future of Iraq, but we already do know two important things. An evil dictator is gone, along with his two equally brutal sons, giving the Iraqi people a chance to build a representative government that treats its people as citizens and not as subjects. And we also know that Americans did not come to Iraq to take away its oil or to subjugate the country. To the contrary, having come to remove a threat to the United States, Americans stayed on at great sacrifice and fought alongside Iraqis in a bloody struggle against the dark forces that sought to return the country to a brutal tyranny. Iraqis rarely get enough credit for their own heroism in that struggle, but roughly 10,000 members of the Iraqi security forces are estimated to have died in that fight (twice the American total) in addition to tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians.


Evil is not a word to use lightly, but Saddam deserves something even stronger. When Americans say, as they often do, that “yes, Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but the world is full of bad guys,” it is clear that they don’t know much about Saddam Hussein. After Saddam invaded Kuwait, I was told by Arab leaders in the region about a videocassette that he distributed to leaders around the Gulf, showing him before his National Assembly, on the day he was formally named president, calling out the names of “traitors” in the room to be hauled out and summarily executed. Of course, I knew about Saddam’s appetite for violence, about the war he started with Iran that left perhaps as many as a million dead and his brutal invasion of Kuwait, and I had read Kanan Makiya’s remarkable book Republic of Fear. I knew that he had spoken contemptuously of the United States to our ambassador in Baghdad as “a society which cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle.” But I still had trouble believing that the leader of one of the most important countries in the Arab world would actually boast of his ruthlessness like a Mafia boss.



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Revisionist history aside, we were greeted as liberators in Iraq

Paul Mirengoff



The late Christopher Hitchens had a standard response to Iraq war critics who ridiculed Vice President Cheney and others who predicted that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators in Iraq. His response: “They were, I saw it.”


Others saw the same thing, and reported it. [/url=http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/04/10/remembering-iraqs-liberation-without-revisionism/#more-822276]Michael Rubin[/url] collects some of these reports. For example, there was this from the Daily Record of April 10, 2003:




The Bush administration made its share of mistakes regarding Iraq. High on the list, I believe, was its post-liberation emphasis on being liked rather than feared, when the two impulses were in conflict. But the prediction that we would be greeted as liberators was not mistaken.

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