Iraq Liberation Day

April 9 is Iraqi liberation day, the day Saddam fled Baghdad. It was not the end of the conflict, but it was the end of a tyrant who sponsored terror, was responsible for millions of deaths and one who constituted a continuing threat to global security. Families of troops who served and are serving in Iraq have asked us to mark the milestone.

In the midst of an ongoing insurgency, with the potential for civil war, it is hard to see long term implications of the destruction of Saddam's regime. On the plus side, Iraqis have gone to the polls three times. Each vote was more successful than the one before it and terrorists were unable to stop or even seriously disrupt any of them. Iraq is current the third freest country in its region, according to Brookings index of political freedom. This is a big achievement, considering Iraq used to be a place where football players were tortured if they didn't do well in a match. .

You can read all the statistics on Iraq at the Iraq Index. You will find a mixed result, but the glass is clearly more than half full, something you would not see if you just listened to the drumbeat of bad news.

A long overdue development was the release to the public of documents captured by coalitions forces. This "Wikianalysis" is already helping us understand the basis for the conflict and why it was about more than mistaken WMD estimates or even the U.S. strategy of regime change from the Clinton Administration.

For example, one recently translated document ( BIAP 2003-000654, look at page 6) seems to confirm what Russian President Vladimir Putin told us in July 2004:

"I can confirm that after the events of September 11, 2001, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received . . . information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations."

Our military and political strategy in Iraq has changed and adapted as circumstances changed. The latest compilation was released last November. When President Bush tells us the we must stay in Iraq, he does not mean without a change in tactics. Our enemies are intelligent and innovative. They adapt and learn, and so do we.

Like all conflict, Iraq has developed in ways that nobody predicted. U.S. fatalities in Iraq are low by historical standards (they are only now approaching a fraction of the one-day toll of the civil war battle of Antietam, for example), but we feel each acutely. On the other hand, the conflict has not been as short or decisive as we had hoped.

Iraq represents a break with more than fifty years of U.S. policy in the Middle East, where we encouraged stability at the expense of liberty. In an intertwined world, we can no longer do that. We can’t live as an island. Iraq is important in America’s new diplomacy of partnership and transformation. It is important to the U.S. and the world that it work. A success here would be, well . . . transformational.

And we should remember Iraqi Liberatiion Day.

Posted by Jack at April 8, 2006 2:00 PM
Comment #139092

And yet another article from Jack… who is looking more and more like The Lone Ranger without the White Horse and Tonto…

Gotta admire that…

Anyway… If your happy about Iraq, you will be thrilled to know what your Leader plans for Iran

A war with Iran WOULD solve all of Bush’s problems. Kinda like the way setting your house on fire would stop the burglers from stealing from it.

Posted by: Aldous at April 8, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #139101


Hold until relieved and then one day more.

I fixed your link. It was screwing up the format. Please use the link text coding.

Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #139186

What good does that do? Sooner or later, tangible results need to be produced. To be critical, things are not all that great in Iraq at the moment. This slight— moral boost we shall call it— will mean little in the way of actual progress.

Posted by: Zeek at April 8, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #139193


I’m not much to look at, Kemosabe, and I’m not the brightest native on the reservation, but I’ll ride by your side any time.


Don’t worry. Getting fixed only takes about 15 minutes and is relatively painless.

But, seriously.

Rush Limbaugh is a raving lunatic - most of the time. But his analysis that what’s good for America is bad for liberals is right on, as posts on sites like this one clearly show.

You guys would just love to see America fail in Iraq, for full-scale civil war to break out with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis AND Americans laying dead in the streets, just so you could win a few elections.

And just what exactly does Bush have planned for Iran? Your crystal ball must be working better than mine.

Posted by: slowthinker at April 8, 2006 7:13 PM
Comment #139198

You say we ‘liberated’ Iraq. I say we ‘invaded’ Iraq. Liberation? Invasion? Liberation? Invasion? Let’s call the whole thing off.

And pardon me for asking something so obvious, but if we ‘liberated’ Iraq, why are we still occupying it? After all, Saddam Hussein is out of power.

“You guys would just love to see America fail in Iraq…”

Wrong. Liberals like myself were opposed to going into Iraq in the first place. We did not want to see America go in, and then fail. Furthermore, opposing the invasion and the occupation was unpopular. Only half of the Democratic Senators voted against the Reslution for invading Iraq, the liberal half. Those Democrats were spectacularly right. In fact, I believe a major factor leading up to the invasion was for Bush to whip up patriotism. Hello? Remember ‘Mission Accomplished’?

Remember Iraqi Liberation Day ** ***.

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2006 7:29 PM
Comment #139209


You said Millions were killed under Sadaam. I’m not disputing that number but I do question it. Where did you get that information. There’s no doubt he tortured and killed many people. How many? Hell, I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone can accurately put a number on it.

How many have died since we invaded? No doubt many died that were insurgents or terroris, but how many women and children and old of age and innocent? I don’t think we can put a number on that either. There are some things we can measure. How many folks have a 24 hour a day 7 day per week supply of uninterrupted electrical power now as opposed to then? How many people have clean running water now as opposed to then? How many children can safely walk down the streets now without worry of life and limb now as opposed to then?

I’m not saying Sadaam was good nor am I saying we are bad. I’m only pointing to the obvious….the far left wants everyone to think that things are absolutely terrible while the far right preach that we never talk about the good things. The actual truth is there really isn’t a whole lot of great things to talk about. Yes, there’s been elections. Yes, we’ve made progress. However, the news media typically only talks about the violence not the lack of power, water, schools, or the small amount of infrastructure we have been able to rebuild. Ask yourself this before you blast the media about reporting bad news….how many school openings do they report here? How many illeteracy programs do they report here? Violence sells….it’s no different there than here. I don’t see a lot of news about how many in rural Appalachia that still urinate in out-houses nor do I see news when those things are improved.

Iraq was a mistake. The basis we were given for going in have proven to be false. Sure, Sadaam was terrible. There’s plenty of other “terrible” leaders out there…why him? Why now? I will admit that if we can stablize Iraq and creat an ally it would be a wonderful thing and I hope it happens; but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.

And by the way…you quoted Putin in your justificaion…is this the same Putin that told Sadaam of our invasion plans?

Posted by: Tom L at April 8, 2006 8:07 PM
Comment #139222

Tom L

Re how many died
I include the vast numbers from the wars he provoked with Iran and Kuwait. His actual murders are probably ONLY in the 100s of thousands.

All your questions are addressed in the links.

Read the Iraq index in the link. It has estimates of deaths. Most are less than the numbers of deaths caused by mismanagement of the oil for food program and sanctions.

The index also has electricity etc. It is less in Baghdad, but more in the rest of the country.
Iraq index, BTW, is produced by the generally liberal Brookings Institute (not Fox)

Re Why we went in

Read the link U.S. strategy of regime change

We don’t know the final outcome. On balance however, things are improving. We can talk about mistakes (as I do in the link above) but we are in it now and we have a good chance of winning unless people here in America cause us to fail.

Re Putin

Yes it is that Putin (although it is unclear exactly what he gave away). That adds to his credibility since:
1)he should know
2)He is not our good buddy that will lie to help us. It is sort of like when Simon compliments somebody on American Idol


We stayed in Germany and Japan until today. Not everyone in Iraq was happy to see us and many people in the region hold our experiment with democracy will fail

Posted by: Jack at April 8, 2006 9:02 PM
Comment #139251


Experiment with democracy? Yes, the government has been democratically “elected”, but it is far from a democracy. A theocracy is a better description. Read their constitution.

Posted by: Tom L at April 8, 2006 10:51 PM
Comment #139256

Assad and the Baathists in Syria are not our friends. They have a history similar to Saddam Hussein, including the slaughter of large numbers while repressing internal rebellions. Suppose Bush proposes we ‘liberate’ Syria. Cost: One trillion dollars, 2400 Americans dead, 17,000 Americans wounded, with as many Syrian dead killed in the ‘liberation’ as the Syrian Baathists ever killed.

Suppose the new government was equally or even more hostile towards Israel, and instead of secular Baathists, we witnessed the democratic election of islamic fundamentalists.

No one would accede to this. And obviously no one would celebrate what has happened in Iraq.

Who is hoping democracy will fail? Hamas has got to be happy about it. The Iraqi Shias are no doubt thrilled to be in power. I wonder how long the Death Squads will have to keep executing people before ethnic cleansing is completed?

The problem, Jack, is that Republicans confuse the means with the goal. We seek to spread Human Rights. Democracy is only a tool, one possible political structure for ensuring the observation of Human Rights. It’s why the torture scandals are such a disaster. The democratically elected Shias are using the Interior Ministry for their Death Squads. Did you know one of their preferred methods of torture is using electric drills? They bore holes into the kneew and face before execution. We object to this because it grossly violates Human Rights on the most fundamental level. We do not accept it just because this is the result of a democratically elected government.

The use of torture by our country, the secret prisons and the renditions, the eavesdropping- these are violations of our rights. The form of government has nothing to do with objections.

Posted by: phx8 at April 8, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #139270

And obviously no one would celebrate what has happened in Iraq. Posted by phx8

I suspect that the situation has improved for the Kurds.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 9, 2006 12:38 AM
Comment #139271


We took action against Iraq because of the belief that it posed a gathering threat. As President Bush said in the State of the Union 2003, we had to deal with Iraq BEFORE it became an imminent threat. The intelligence turned out to be flawed. Saddam’s horrible human right record alone was not sufficient reason. But now that we are there, we can do no less than try to establish a reasonable democracy.

Your hypothetical about Syria is interesting, but not relevant, since bad as the Syrians are, they did not attack four of their neighbors; they did not use WMD; they did not attempt to assassinate a former American president. They did not defy 17 UN resolutions; they did not. And regime change in Syria was not an official goal of the United States (since 1998).

No matter how it happened, we are currently in Iraq. I know it is more fun to predict the past, but what would you propose we do in the future?

Re the last paragraph

Torture is not a U.S. policy. We are debating whether or not one would use extreme measures to stop an attack. Maybe you would eliminate an option that could save thousands of lives. I would not. Torture generally doesn’t work. Again, we are talking hypotheticals.

If a terrorist knows where the bomb is, and you have a half hour to find out, what do you do?

Secret prisions - I understand we are talking about 17 cases of terrorists. You would announce each person you had and exactly where they were, right? And do you play pocker?

Eavesdropping - if terrorist are talking to Americans, I want our government to know. Perhaps the President has been too eager to protect the American people. The courts and Congress don’t seem to think so.

Posted by: Jack at April 9, 2006 12:44 AM
Comment #139273

Jack: Wouldn’t Operation Iraqi Chaos be a better description of what is going on.

Posted by: jlw at April 9, 2006 1:06 AM
Comment #139278

Thank You Jack,

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the world. Any problems people talk about are merely phantasms conjured up by the MSM and all those damn dirty libs and college professors. Everything is just great…here in America, overseas in Iraq. Just peachy! Economy, Environment, Democracy…why, there’s not a single real problem out there! Whoppie!

I love reading your posts Jack. They remind me about how all those “hysterical” folks out there are trying to paint a dirty picture of our perfect world.

Thanks :-)

Posted by: beijing Rob at April 9, 2006 2:06 AM
Comment #139284

“I know it is more fun to predict the past, but what would you propose we do in the future?”

In Iraq? I don’t really see any choice. Set a timetable, and withdraw.

Consider what is to be gained by staying with what is to be gained by withdrawing.

If we stay, best case, Iraq (finally) forms a Unity Front government. Iraqis view themselves as members of a nation, rather than members of a ethnic group or religion, and the Iraqi military reflects that viewpoint.

But many suggest the US occupying troops are part of the problem, not the solution. I think a national Iraqi referendum should be held. The question: should US troops remain in Iraq?

This has the virtue of putting the responsibility upon the Iraqis themselves. Of course, it’s a near certainty they’d vote for the US to withdraw.

The advantage to withdrawal? Savings in lives and dollars. Iraq represents a tremendous opportuntity cost. Withdrawal gives us options for dealing with other contingencies- in particular, I’m thinking about the next economic downturn. I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer, just trying to be practical, and plan ahead for the next rainy day.

The risk to withdrawal? The biggest risk is to regional stability. Withdrawing also means recognizing Iran will have gained an Iraqi ally with huge oil resources. But we can still maintain a regional presence. We’ll have to wait for a new administration to establish better relations with the Iranians. I strongly believe this can be done. It will take time, and require a lot of teeth gritting and forced smiles, but it’s imperative we take this route.

As goodkingned noted, the Kurds will come out ahead. There’s some nasty reckoning to be done regarding Kirkuk, but that was unavoidable anyway.

Posted by: phx8 at April 9, 2006 2:21 AM
Comment #139303

Oh, by the way,

…could we also remember that April 9th is already a day of great significance? Its the day the U.S. Civil War ended…

Posted by: Beijing Rob at April 9, 2006 4:24 AM
Comment #139318

If I were in Iraq would I be celebrating? I doubt it . I think I would be trying to figure a way to get the hell outta there.

I didn’t want us to fail in Iraq. I didn’t want us to go to Iraq. Our Air Force had Sadaam contained. It was expensive and frustrating. That the CIA couldn’t foment a revolt internally that would succeed was telling. I thought it was odd that the “experts” thought invading Bagdhad was a losing proposition in the first Bush administration, now “experts” thought it was a great idea.

I hoped there was an analysis that supported the idea of establishing a friendly government in the oil fields. I even argued in this blog that there may be strategic value in this move. It was a blunder, by a blundering politician and his cohorts. There’s a reason Daddy’s boy was a drunk. He couldn’t measure up. He still doesn’t.

We have failed in Iraq. I don’t want that, but I do accept reality. Bush will maintain some presence there until the end of his term leaving someone else to clean it up and then he can blame the press and subsequent administration for what is his failure. Soldiers will and have died saving his political face. Died because the Republican Party is colluding to hide this failure. That is immoral as J. Murtha has stated.

Posted by: Jack Mohammedoff at April 9, 2006 6:04 AM
Comment #139319

Jack M.:

Yes, parts of Iraq are dangerous right now, but I expect that many Iraqi’s are happier to live in the post-Saddam world.

You do realize that it would have been increasingly difficult politically to maintain the no-fly zones once the UN sanctions were lifted. The imminent prospect of the removal of the sanctions was a major motivation for determining definitively whether or not Saddam had WMDs.

Another point to consider, the US track record of inadequately supporting brave freedom fighters in the Middle East is, in my opinion, a major reason that it was so hard to foment revolution in Iraq. Saddam’s total control of economic and military resources also inhibited internal revolution.

Finally, comparing the political and military realities of the first and second gulf war is really apples and oranges. The introduction of an active, hostile radical islamic movement that had shown a stunning capability to strike within the US changed all the equations regarding the pros and cons of striking Saddam in Iraq. Suddenly America had much more to lose from ignoring the sleeping viper.

At any rate, I raise a cup of coffee to the Iraqi’s and wish them the best.

Posted by: goodkingned at April 9, 2006 6:33 AM
Comment #139331

Beijing Bob

You may mistake pessimism for realism. It is a common mistake. But there is a greater problem. A significant number of people substitute feeling of guilt or gloom for action.

It is very seductive. “It is too hard to do anything, so the fact that I am a loser is not only not my fault, but it is a virtue in this kind of environment,” they say.

The important question is what you CAN DO. Things you cannot do or problems are constrains on what you can do. They cannot be the focus of activities. If you let your problems determine your agenda, you lose the initiative. This can and does happen and when it does, you lose. If you let it happen too often, you are a loser. Everybody is a loser sometimes, but if you make a habit of it you have troubles.

I am interested in global warming. I recognize that it is happening and that humans are contributing. So I propose more nuclear energy, more hydro energy and higher energy prices which will encourage conservation and alternatives. These are possible solutions. My opponents call for legislation. Fine. But what will the legislation do? Who is being stupidly optimistic? Is it the person who proposes actual solutions or the one who thinks we can just make a law?


The time will come for us to leave. It is not yet. When that time comes, I will be among the strongest proponents.

I don’t believe in wasting efforts on lost causes and I well understand the concept of sunk costs.

John Kerry

BTW - I am watching John Kerry on Meet the Press. It illustrates a fundamental fact of politics: it is a choice between two alternatives. Whenever I get frustrated with President Bush (and even I sometimes do) I think of what we could have had. It makes me a Bush supporter again.

Posted by: Jack at April 9, 2006 10:47 AM
Comment #139337


World War Two was unpopular. The Korean War was unpopular. The Vietnam War was unpopular.

Even the Revolutionary War divided the nation before it was a nation.

There has always been a segment of the American population that believe a given war is unpopular simply because it’s a war.

There was a significant opposition to us entering both world wars, even after Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Many people oppose war based on deeply-held beliefs that ALL war is evil and therefore should never be fought under any circumstances and I respect these people’s beliefs.

But in the current circumstance, is the opposition being driven by a hatred of war or a hatred of George W. Bush?

From the placards and banners at all those so-called “anti-war” rallies, I’d say it’s more the latter than the former.

Posted by: slowthinker at April 9, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #139342

How do you explain Afghanistan, which was supported by both liberals & conservatives before the invasion, and continues to be widely supported today?

War should never be ‘popular.’ It should be a last resort, when national security and survival are at stake. No Iraqi has ever launched an attack within the United States. Ever. Not one. No US border is at risk. I just don’t see what is to be gained by staying in Iraq much longer.

Posted by: phx8 at April 9, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #139343

You are not alone. Right now there are some very good things happening in the world and the US.
I read some of the Iraq index and am encouraged. I am sorry about the left gloom and doom crowd, they always seem to see the obstacles and problems and not the successes. Long term the Iraqis and the U.S. not the mention the world will be better off. Please keep pointing this out Jack.

Posted by: Steve at April 9, 2006 12:15 PM
Comment #139375


Ditto what Steve said!


You and I can agree on that point: War should never be popular. I believe it was Robert E. Lee who said that “it is good that war is so terrible, lest we grow to love it too much.”

But some wars are unavoidable, and IMO, war with Iraq was inevitable. Better to do it now than give a madman several more years to gather more terrible weapons and more fanatical allies to his cause.

When will the world learn that you can not appease, you can not negotiate, with such people.

Shangri-La is such a beautiful and peaceful dream, my friend. But we sleep at our peril.

Posted by: slowthinker at April 9, 2006 3:09 PM
Comment #139388


You guys would just love to see America fail in Iraq, for full-scale civil war to break out with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis AND Americans laying dead in the streets, just so you could win a few elections.
Ahh, another quote from the “hate Americans first” crowd. Why do you hate your fellow Americans so much? Are you deliberately trying to weaken the country by being divisive?

Posted by: ElliottBay at April 9, 2006 3:56 PM
Comment #139424


I too wish the Iraqi’s the best, however I don’t believe we have delivered our best.

We have secretary of defense who is unwilling to accept his poor choices as failures, not unlike McNamara. We have a president who is delighfully a big dreamer. Sadly, we need an executive who can get things done. We wasted a lot of American blood and money on this mission I’m sure to the delight of the Arabs and Iranians. I do not see where this will position us better for future oil. At this point, I find it doubtful there will be a democracy in Iraq. I hope I am wrong. It seems to me we are playing into the hands of Muqtada al Sadr (I’m sure I’ve mispelled that).

I love freedom, I just don’t want my money and American soldiers dying for someone else’s battles
Sell them arms, train their soldiers, build their infrastructure, but get our troops out NOW.

Posted by: Jack Mohammedoff at April 9, 2006 7:11 PM
Comment #139702

War with Iraq was never necessary. This arguement is asserted repeatedly, and I fail to see any solid reasoning behind it. There is the “Better to get him over there before he comes over here” reasoning. Saddam was not, and was never going to be an imminent threat. “But intelligence from around the world was telling us that he was developing wmd’s”. It seemed to me (and to the majority of career intelligence retiree’s and weapon’s inspectors) that we had Saddam in a tight web. It would have been impossible for him to have developed wmd’s under those conditions. Additionally, when it comes to nuclear weapons, their are specific radioactive markers that are impossible to conceal during their initial, as in years early, developement. I’m not a scientist, but you can look all this stuff up on whatever source you find reputable. Those markers were never present in Iraq.

By the way, the same thing goes for Iran currently.

Barring some macho need to see bombs go off, we could have sat on Saddam for much much cheaper, causing much less chaos, and much less death.

As far as the spreading Democracy thing goes, here’s a link to a nice video of your tax dollars at work, i.e. some contract soldiers shooting civilian Iraqi commuters for sport.

Posted by: Shattered Mirror at April 10, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #139717

I would like to gently remind you all that we have troops currently serving overseas. At this point it’s semantics about why we went. We’re there whether we like it or not. Instead of talking smack, why don’t we do something constructive for a change, like support our troops? Go to a website that sends messages overseas and let them know you care about them!

Posted by: Luv2Box at April 10, 2006 9:49 PM
Comment #139816

>>We took action against Iraq because of the belief that it posed a gathering threat. As President Bush said in the State of the Union 2003, we had to deal with Iraq BEFORE it became an imminent threat. The intelligence turned out to be flawed.

The intelligence did not ‘turn out’ to be flawed. It WAS flawed, and it was known to be flawed before we invaded. This was not some stupid little mistake like you would have us believe. This was a deliberate use of mis-information to provide justification for the unjustifiable.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 11, 2006 7:26 AM
Comment #139817

>>why don’t we do something constructive for a change, like support our troops? Go to a website that sends messages overseas and let them know you care about them!

Posted by: Luv2Box at April 10, 2006 09:49 PM

Why don’t we do something constructive for a change…bring them home.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 11, 2006 7:28 AM
Comment #139843

Jack, you make a good point. The United States cannot continue to be an island nor can we continue to support terrorist leaders in order to keep stability. It is our responsibility to protect our own people and our own soil and the way to do that is to defeat the terrorist on their own turf. We have liberated a country who was under the control of a suppressive and horrible dictator. That doesn’t mean that the Iraqi nation will automatically be self-sufficient, but we have certainly made true progress there. We will need to continuously change our tactics because this is a new world and a new type of war we are fighting but I agree that we are doign our country and our world a service by serving in the Middle East.

Posted by: Alise at April 11, 2006 11:36 AM
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