Written by Vincent Gioia
March 21, 2008
By Vincent Gioia
Five years after defeat of an Iraqi dictatorship famous for rape rooms, unconscionable torture and support of terrorists, the local and foreign press ignore the achievements and focus on the errors, of which there are many. But even an imperfect effort should be praised, not scorned, when the results are measured in lives saved and horrors avoided. The "balance sheet" may not be fair in terms of lost American lives and wounded against the gains brave men and women achieved, but the same critics could also have said the same thing about the effort to destroy the Nazi regime and topple Adolph Hitler. As long as there is a will to do the right thing and people are willing to sacrifice for success, the world will be a safer and better place even if those saved don't appreciate it.
However, focusing on the losses in Iraq fails to recognize the significant achievements and improvements in the lives of the Iraqi people. True, the followers of Arab Nazism have thwarted every effort to succeed, nonetheless Americans and their few allies have much to be proud of in terms of improvement in daily Iraqi life in addition to the amazing gift of freedom from the horrors of the Saddam reign of terror.
For example; before the Americans "landed" there were 0.8 million telephone land lines and no cell phones, now there is 1.1 million land lines and 10 million plus cell phones; before there 4 to 8 nationwide hours per day of electricity, now there is 9 to 10; pre war there were 12.9 million people with potable water, now there are 20.4 million; there were 6.2 million with sewage systems, now there are 11.3 million. (Sources: DOD, Brookings Institution, AP News Research Center and Special Inspector general for Iraq.) Huge numbers of schools and hospitals have been built and equipped by America after the war and Iraqi people are free to use them without fear of government selection and oppression. All-in-all this is not a bad track record for the "invaders".
What about the claims of enormous loss of Iraqi and American lives? Well, statistics show that 37,912 Iraqis (as of March 11, 2008) have lost their life, not the hundreds of thousands anti-war zealots allege. There have been 3,987 Americans killed and 29,314 wounded (as of March 14, 2008). There have actually been more U.S. contractors killed, 4,876 (through 2007), than the military (so much for the unfair criticism of Blackwater and other security providers).
And what about the cost of the Iraq war; various estimates by critics range as high as $2 trillion. But according to a recent Chicago Tribune article by Liz Sly, U.S. war costs are said to be, in billions of dollars: $49 in 2003, $88 in 2004, $60 in 2005, $95 in 2006, $122 in 2007 and $113 in 2008, for a total of $527 billion. Now this isn't chump change but it is a long way from the trillions of dollars anti-war activists would like us to believe.
So what is the situation for the people in Iraq now; many shopping areas have sprung back to life as security has improved, many Iraqi tribal leaders have joined Americans in fighting al-Qaeda and the Iraqi army has been shouldering more of the load against terrorists.
Critics of the war still echo loudly the refrain that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction so the Iraqi war was a bogus enterprise by George Bush for oil, even though little or no Iraqi oil makes its way to the US. Forgotten in the calumny is that the entire world including Democrats now disclaiming the idea and Bill Clinton, were of the belief that Iraqi WMD were a world threat. The United Nations issued numerous resolutions based on the same premise. But when the United States acted on that belief, all hell broke loose; not at the time of course but on Monday morning after the game was ended. Though there is no evidence of nuclear weapons, who can legitimately say that Iraq did not possess chemical and biological weapons after they were used against Saddam's own people?
What about the al-Qaeda connection and Saddam Hussein? Forget that Saddam paid $25,000 to the families of suicide bombers; forget that Saddam financed terror operations against the west; but was there a tie to al-Qaeda?
In a recent column, Ken Timmerman has addressed the claim that there was no connection with al-Qaeda:
"A much-publicized report released by the Pentagon last week details the extensive ties between the regime of Saddam Hussein and a wide variety of international terrorist organizations, including Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda."
"Despite their incompatible long-term goals, many terrorist movements and Saddam found a common enemy in the United States," the report's authors at the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) state. But instead of reporting on this conclusion, most of the media accounts have focused on a single sentence that appears in the executive summary, stating that the report's authors found 'no smoking gun' or 'direct connection' between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda."
Another source involved in the report told Newsmax that one reason some documents were not included in the analysis was because of the sheer mass of material available - more than 600,000 documents, in all."
Unfortunately the American people are not regularly informed about accomplishments in Iraq and when they are, accomplishments are minimized and negative elements wherever found are made part of the story so that the public will not get the idea Iraq war critics are wrong. The goal of the leftist media is not to "report" the news, but to support a political agenda. This may not be the first time that's happened, but it is a dangerous practice when the lives of courageous men and women are at stake.