Forwarded by 1stAdmPAO
ESSAY: OUR PRESENCE IN IRAQ
By William Goldcamp. Published January 2, 2004
Goldcamp is a diplomatic historian and a former intelligence analyst. Copyright © 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Any good historian must be frustrated at both the coverage and analysis of the situation in Iraq and the war on terror in general. For its part, the intelligence community has turned its back on history as the foundation of long-term and short-term analysis and embraced political science. Because of this trend, its vision is narrow and blurred.
If reports are accurate, a new study done by the CIA concludes the Iraqis are growing increasingly impatient with the occupation and that the coalition's failure to stop terrorism in the so-called Sunni triangle has convinced those in Iraq who oppose the coalition that they can win. A political scientist might draw such conclusions from the available evidence, but a historian never would. For those conclusions to be valid, the Iraqis would have to be moronic masochists. For more than 30 years, Saddam lived off the blood of his countrymen. Indeed, the trademarks of his regime were mass murder, torture and rape rooms.
The coalition has uncovered mass graves of 300,000 slain men, women and children. Saddam engaged in three disastrous wars. He spent lavishly on himself and his cronies and allowed the country's infrastructure to cascade into ruin. Only the beneficiaries of that hateful regime would willingly acquiesce in its continuation.
It is possible some Iraqis of good will are tired of the occupation. But they're really concerned about whether we, their liberators, have the stomach to help them secure their liberty or whether, if we leave too soon, we will deliver them back to the devil with whom they're painfully familiar. We Americans must once again shoulder the burden of greatness as we did after World War II. We gave our former enemies newfound liberty and raised them from the ashes of their defeat. We accomplished this through long, benevolent occupation of Germany and Japan, until they showed the strength and willingness to govern themselves democratically
As for Western Europe, we rebuilt friend and foe alike to the tune of $1 trillion in today's dollars through the Marshall Plan. As a result, a bulwark against Soviet expansionism was erected. America's self-interested largess shaped, as nothing else could have, today's world — which now faces the threat of religious fascism as the most recent permutation of tyranny. However, there is a real probability success in Iraq will signal the decline, for a century or more, of tyranny's quest to engulf humanity.
Disingenuous and facile people always point to war as the ultimate evil. This position is intellectually bankrupt and is one of the main reasons why tyranny repeatedly reconstitutes itself to threaten liberty. A new University of Chicago study challenges the left's and the religious pacifists' naive contention that containing Saddam's ambitions would have obviated the need to go to war. The study concluded containment would have cost $380 billion, as opposed to $200 billion to drive Saddam from power and rebuild Iraq. It also estimated Saddam would have continued to brutalize his people and would have murdered as many as 200,000 more Iraqis.
The study appears to assume Saddam could have been contained at that cost. This may be overly optimistic. Past efforts to contain Saddam had been ineffective. If we had left Saddam in power again, we would have sent a clear signal to everyone in the neighborhood and to our enemies far and near that we lacked the courage to stand up to his evil and theirs.
In the end, we win the war on terror wherever and however it is fought by killing those who violently oppose us wherever and whenever we can find them. More importantly, we win by making sure our words of resolve are supported by our actions and that the Iraqis and others get the message. The Iraqi people want a future worth having, and they know the only way to secure it is to fight for it. But they must also be sure we will fight at their side to destroy the last vestiges of the tyranny they were forced to endure more than 30 years.
The antiwar and “hate America” far left are fond of trotting out Vietnam as the all-purpose bugbear in foreign policy and national security issues. In fact, the war on terror bears resemblance not to Vietnam but to what was at stake in World War II. It is a global, desperate, utterly necessary conflict.
The Bush administration's actions so far show it is committed to securing clear victory over the tyranny we now face. The Democrat Party's candidates, in the aggregate, are “AWOL.”
The Iraqis have to choose, with our strong support, whether their future will beckon freedom or tyranny. Next November, we will choose what the future of the world will be.
Today there is no alternative to the benevolent exercise of American power for the benefit and liberty of all, as there was none after World War II. Those who claim there is, are ignorant and are whistling past the graveyard.