Today marks the seven-year anniversary of the Iraq War.
A few months after American forces finally crossed into the border of the oppressed nation, President Bush told the ‘National Endowment for Democracy’ that, “Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation. The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution."
He was right.
Since America launched Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 19, 2003, we have shielded the credibility of the United Nations by enforcing international law, ended the genocide and torture of the Ba’ath Party, brought Saddam Hussein to justice, established a budding democratic society and sent billions of dollars in aide to help the people of Iraq.
Newsweek was only half right when, it opined earlier this month on the emerging democratic Iraq by saying:
“And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.”
Certainly the transformation of an Iraq enslaved by the sadistic cruelty of the Ba’ath Party into a free society is a watershed event and one that represents a whole new era in the history of the Middle East. A free Iraq has, in fact, become a beacon of inspiration to the region.
That’s why, as Bush accurately predicted, the people of the oppressed Islamic "Republic" of Iran finally found the courage to resist the tyranny of Ahmadinejad when he stole the election last year. -- After all, seeing freedom in practice in a neighboring country is a lot more powerful than simply hearing about it overseas from banned news reports and books that occasionally find their way into the black market of Tehran.
Despite what Bush’s critics said – and there are way too many of them to even begin to name here -- he was right all along. Even Vice President Biden inadvertently admitted it on February 10, when he told CNN's Larry King that Iraq, “could be one of the great achievements of this administration.”
Although Biden absurdly (and transparently) tried to hijack credit for what will undoubtedly be Bush’s greatest historical accomplishment, he did the 43rd president a favor by admitting that Iraq has emerged as a “great achievement.”
How ironic to hear those words from the former U.S. Senator who was so convinced Iraq could only survive if it was parceled into three separate states and who now serves a president who was unequivocally convinced that Bush’s surge strategy would fail.
In January 2007, then-Senator Obama said of the surge that he was, “not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops was going to solve sectarian violence. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”
Imagine for a moment if either Biden or Obama had their way, or Senators Edwards and Kerry had won the election of 2004 and withdrew our forces and abandoned the people of Iraq.
Undoubtedly, the war would have failed, the liberation would have been crushed, and tens of millions of people would have been left defenseless at the hands of a merciless insurgency.
Under the rule of Saddam Hussein women were frequently and lawfully raped in custody as a means of punishing their family members, prisoners were placed in acid baths, dismembered, electrocuted and confined in coffin sized boxes for unbearably long periods of time. Women were lawfully beheaded without trials as part of "honor-killings" and children as young as 10-years old were trained to use weapons in the "Saddam Cubs" youth paramilitary organization.
The Ba’ath Party initiated a reign of terror that led to the genocide of tens of thousands of its own people in Kurdistan, and stole food and medical supplies sent by the U.N. to the Iraqi people to buy more weapons and promote their own lavish lifestyles. (See the United Kingdom’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office report here.)
Since America has liberated Iraq we have not only introduced democracy and put an end to the sadistic torture of Saddam Hussein; we have also sent billions of dollars in charitable aid and rebuilt the country’s medical, telecommunications and transportations systems while also immunizing 98 percent of Iraq’s children against disease (here's more from USAID: Assistance for Iraq).
None of Saddam Hussein’s unspeakable cruelties would have ended and none of the great strides toward freedom would have been accomplished without the courage and conviction of President Bush and Vice President Cheney and their administration, our coalition forces allies and the brave soldiers who fought for a free Iraq. All of these people are heroes for ending one of the greatest political and human rights tragedies in recent history, and for helping Iraq become the newest state-member of the Free World.
Today’s free Iraq is a testament to the courage and conviction of both the American and Iraqi people who never gave up and never acquiesced to the cowardice of the detractors who accepted failure.
Our mission has finally been accomplished, and we should be proud. President Bush’s dream of a free Iraq is, as Vice-President Biden so eloquently phrased, a “great achievement.”
Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a journalist and lawyer who served on Senator John F. Kerry’s legal team during the 2004 election. He is currently organizing a nationwide effort called “Honor Freedom” to correct the historical record about President Bush and the Bush foreign policy doctrine, which can be reached at www.honorfreedom.com.
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