For the past two and a half years or so, there's been much discussion over whether the war in Iraq is right or wrong, good foreign policy or bad, waged for oil, Israel or democracy, or just a bad move made by a mentally defective president based on faulty or trumped-up intelligence.
Invariably, the arguments for or against the war fall along party lines, with red staters saying it was a good idea and blue staters saying it was a bad one. But while most of the red state crowd supports the war and can often provide rational explanations why they feel the war is good policy, their blue state counterparts, most of whom side solidly with the extreme left, do nothing but shriek about things like "oil!" and "Israel!" and "Halliburton!". Sometimes for good measure you'll hear that it's "Daddy's unfinished business".
Around late 2002, I was still mostly opposed to the idea of going into Iraq. Not that I thought kicking Saddam's shit to the curb was a bad idea, far from it. I guess I was just thinking too much like a panty-waisted internationalist and worried about our hanging the whole casus belli on WMD, which may or may not still be there by the time we got there. I'm still convinced that Saddam had those weapons, but come on...we rattled our saber for so long there was ample time for not just the weapons to be shipped out of the country, but for their manufacturing and support facilities to be destroyed and/or dismantled.
But by around January 2003 or so, I came to the following conclusion: never mind the marketing campaign, opposition to the war constituted tacit endorsement of Saddam Hussein's regime. In other words, screw international opinion, this guy's gotta go. By the time we entered Iraq in March of 2003, I was firm in my belief that we were doing the right thing. And I still am.
If one wants to argue that we miscalculated the post-war insurgency, fine. That's a legitimate position, and you won't hear any disagreement from me. It doesn't change the fact that through exceptional pre-war planning, outstanding command and control, and brilliant execution, our military forces pulled off in short order and with minimal casualties what many said would become a stalemate and lead to tens of thousands of American casualties without removing Saddam's regime.
Mission accomplished? Yeah, I think that's a fair statement.
The trouble started almost immediately following the victory over Saddam's regime, and here's where I'll agree that we've made mistakes. Serious ones. We didn't (and still don't) have enough forces in place to seal the borders or to root out the many terrorist cells in nearly every Iraqi city. But you know what? In a war of attrition, I wouldn't bet on the bad guys. Wait...since around 45% of America thinks we're the bad guys, let me clarify. The bad guys are the ones setting off road-side bombs and killing innocent children. (Hint for the exceptionally stupid lefties: that's NOT us.)
So, why do I still think this was a good idea? Let me enumerate...
1. Weapons of mass destruction. Just because we didn't find them, doesn't mean they weren't there. Ask anyone in the sciences...you can't prove a negative.
2. U.N. Sanctions. Given the pre-war status quo, these would have continued indefinitely.
3. No-fly zones. Since the end of Gulf War I in 1991, we've been spending zillions of dollars enforcing the northern and southern no-fly zones over Iraq. This certainly couldn't go on forever.
4. Saddam Hussein himself. Mass graves, Uday and Qusay, rape rooms, you know. 'Nuff said.
If you don't think these are reasons enough, I'd truly love to hear why not. But if they're not enough, there's always Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas. For those of you who don't remember them, consider the following:
Abu Nidal, one of the world's most-wanted terrorists, executed terrorist operations as head of organizations variously known as Fatah Revolutionary Council, Arab Revolutionary Council and Arab Revolutionary Brigades, among others. These operations were carried out throughout the 1980's and into the early 1990's. He was found dead in Baghdad in August of 2002 under dubious circumstances. Saddam's government claims he committed suicide, but the London Telegraph claims in an article dated 25 August 2002 that he was executed by Iraqi intelligence over his refusal to train Al Qaeda fighters based in Iraq. Whichever story is true, the fact remains that Abu Nidal had found safe haven in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Next we come to Abu Abbas. US forces in Baghdad captured Abu Abbas in mid-April 2003, shortly after the fall of Baghdad. Abu Abbas and his gang of thugs carried out the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking in 1985. During the course of this terrorist act, Leon Klinghoffer was murdered in cold blood, and then pushed over the side of the ship. In his wheelchair.
Google this stuff. I'm not making it up. Both of these animals had found refuge under Saddam. No matter how you spin it, there were solid links between Saddam and international terrorism.
When choosing a position on this issue, you can either consider the facts, or listen to the "experts" who say it was all about oil (or Israel, or Halliburton) and want you to vote for their Democratic candidate in 2008.