Daily Archives: March 19, 2008

Why Iraq? Five Years Later…

From Investors Business Daily here:

“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction.” — Sen. Ted Kennedy, on Sept. 27, 2002.
“It is clear . . . that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.” — Sen. Hil-lary Clinton, Oct. 10, 2002.
“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.” — Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.
We could go on and on. Others said similar things. Suffice to say, support at the time for “doing something” about Iraq was wide and deep. They even egged Bush on, urging him to get tough. Then, in the fall of 2002, Congress authorized Bush to go to war.
Only later, in late 2003 and 2004, as polls showed public support waning, did many of those same prominent politicians who once enthusiastically stumped for war and even voted for it in Congress suddenly do an about-face. It stands as one of the most shameful political turnabouts in U.S. history.
Opponents suddenly claimed the war was a sham, that they were fooled into supporting it by cooked intelligence, that we should have never removed Saddam, that Iraqis were better off with him in power than with us as occupiers.
The war in Iraq, in short, simply wasn’t worth it. But they were wrong on all counts.


Iraq is today a growing economy again. From 2002 through 2006, the most recent year for which data are available, per capita GDP in dollars jumped 110%.
Before the war, there were some 833,000 people with telephones. Today, there’s 9.8 million. Fewer than 5,000 people were on the Internet during Saddam’s rein of terror; today, it’s a quarter million.
There were no private TV stations under Saddam; today Iraq has more than 50. There are at least 260 independent newspapers and magazines in Iraq, vs. none under Saddam. Just 1.5 million cars were registered before the war; by 2005, that had hit 3.1 million.
In short, by almost any objective measure one might choose, Iraqis are today much better off than they were under Saddam. Those that deny this are, frankly, deluded.
Better still, Saddam’s jackbooted minions no longer pull people screaming out of their homes for torture sessions and murder.
By some estimates, an average of 50,000 people died each year from Saddam’s campaigns of genocide, ethnic cleansing and political murder. Last year, the peak of the surge, there were 18,000 civilian deaths — mostly by terrorists.
Today, Iraq’s nascent democracy, though imperfect, seems solid. A recent look at the Index of Political Freedom shows Iraq ranking as the fourth-freest country in the Mideast, out of 20. Those who term the war a “failure” need to define that term.
Since the surge began a year ago, nearly every indicator of violence in the country is down, and down sharply: civilian fatalities, off 80% from the peak; enemy attacks, off 40%; bombings, off 81%.
Yes, U.S. fatalities are nearing 4,000. And every death of every brave soldier is a tragedy. But we lost more soldiers on D-Day.
In 2007 — widely reported by the media last summer as the “worst” yet during the war — 901 American troops lost their lives. By comparison, during the Clinton administration, an average of 938 American soldiers died each year in the military. The notion that we’ve suffered unconscionable troop losses is false and misleading. This is the most bloodless war in history.
So far, we’ve spent about $500 billion on the war — less than 1% of our GDP over the past five years. Yet with that money, we’ve perhaps recast the history of the Mideast, giving its people a chance to throw off the shackles of tyranny and to live in peaceful democracies. We’ve bashed al-Qaida severely, killing key leaders and demoralizing the terrorist group’s followers.

Read all of it here.

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