The United States military ousted Saddam Hussein from power in three weeks — in an effort designed to liberate Iraqis rather than aimed punitively against an entire nation. Some observers, however, on the eve of the war predicted a protracted effort to remove Saddam. Later, during the war itself, they warned further that we were supposedly bogged down in a sandstorm on the way to Baghdad.As he writes, the successful election last week was a time to celebrate what has gone right in Iraq and what our military has accomplished. A few months ago, people were predicting that it would never happen or that the Sunnis would vote the constitution down. Then when it happened, the media seemed to shrug and treat it as if it didn't count any more. It's the same thing in Afghanistan. So many said that it would be impossible to bring democracy to that country; yet, when they hold a successful election despite all the threats of violence, the reaction here is 'ho hum.' As Hanson concludes,
In the ensuing 30 months, despite hundreds of horrific deaths and thousands of wounded, the military has never lost a single engagement with the terrorists. It has trained hundreds of thousands of Iraqi police and military units, and, now, with last week's election, seen its hard work pay off in the ratification of the constitution. More parliamentary elections are slated for December.
Yet for almost 21/2 years of constant combat, the American military's mission has been misrepresented or caricatured. Some said soldiers were fighting to secure oil, although since the invasion oil prices have skyrocketed and the Iraqis' petroleum reserves have come under their own transparent control.
Others alleged the real reason for military operations was Halliburton's profit or Israel's security. But what our soldiers accomplished better revealed their reasons for being there: no more no-fly zones; no more Kurdish or Shiite state massacres; no more attacks on Kuwait, Iran, Israel or Saudi Arabia; no more assassination attempts against former presidents — and now a democracy in place of a terror state.
Throughout this entire war, we have asked our soldiers to do the near impossible: remove a dictatorship, put down jihadist assassins and create a democracy — while sometimes being shamefully derided by their own countrymen back home.
Michael Moore praised the terrorists who were killing American soldiers and so-called jihadists as "Minutemen." Eason Jordan, while a CNN news executive, implied — without evidence — that our troops were deliberately targeting journalists. Sen. Dick Durban (D-Ill.) indirectly compared our military guards in Guantanamo Bay to those in service to Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.
To read the opinion columns is to shudder as flip-flopping insiders post facto write, "I told you so," reaffirming, renouncing or hedging their support for the war based on the hourly pulse of the battlefield. Through all this, the U.S. military has fought a successful war first against Saddam Hussein, then ex-Baathists and now Islamic jihadists, battling beheaders, car bombers, improvised explosive devices, suicide bombers and assassins.
The obstacles to protecting the democracy are almost surreal: Too much force threatens to alienate wavering Iraqis whose support is critical for the new constitutional government; too little and civilians might well join the terrorists' side in expectation that it would win. We hear mostly of how much we've done wrong in Iraq, but last week we should have been better reminded of just how much we have done right — and only because of our mostly unheralded soldiers who gave freedom to 26 million without it in the hope that this might just work.
Sorry, I fixed the link.