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What has Operation Iraqi Freedom Accomplished after nine years? Viewed 55,262 timesBy: Bill Tew
Published for Orem, Utah (Area-Info.net Jun. 26, 2012)
Now that the photo-op of May 1, 2003 where President George W. Bush spoke to Americans from the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln while a banner behind him claimed “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” is nine-years behind us, let us ask ourselves what did the military mission to Iraq accomplish?
In late 2002 The John Birch Society (JBS) warned through its magazine, THE NEW AMERICAN, that America should not engage in a war with Iraq, a nation that did not finance or in other physical ways support the terrorists who attacked America in 2001. Many JBS members warned that we were not justified in launching a war on Iraq and if we did we would find ourselves in a lengthy “quagmire” like we engaged in during the Vietnam War. Yet in January 2003 American war planes began flying sorties against military targets in Iraq and the Provo DAILY HERALD reported that the bombing raids were “softening up” military targets. Softening up? That's a nice way to put it. We were destroying military installantions like radar installations using bombing raids. "If any nation 'softened up' American miitary bases by bombing them wouldn't we have been rightly furious?" I asked friends in Utah at the time. My quetion in 2003 was not well recieved.
In 2002 and early 2003 America’s Congress had not weighed the situation and formally declared war upon Iraq, but President Bush was sending our planes, without the constitutionally required declaration of war from Congress, to bomb locations in Iraq. American emotions still ran high after the 9/11 terror attacks and some Americans wanted to strike back at “the middle east” as if all of the middle eastern populations were somehow to blame for 9/11. Bush’s aggressive air raids were labeled as “preemptive strikes” by our military spokesmen and mainstream media. Admittedly America had not been attacked by Iraq or even threatened with attack, but President Bush aimed to prevent any possible future attack by Iraq by attacking them first, that is by initiating force against Iraq. Such preemptive attacks without true justification were rightly labeled an aggression by those of us Americans who understood that the initiation of military combat against another nation is aggression not defense.
In January 2003, as a JBS member I asked my friends, neighbors and relatives how our president’s behavior differed from that of the Japanese emperor’s behavior on December 7, 1941. Such a question was often greeted with disapproval. People had been prepared to support another war on Iraq through media hype and repetitious viewing of slogans like “SUPPORT THE TROOPS,” as if launching our troops into an unconstitutional, undeclared, unnecessary war was somehow supporting them. Making observations about the misuse of our military also was often greeted with disdain. But who was supporting the troops and who was not? With hindsight we can look back and ask was it those of us opposing “preemptive war” or those favoring such aggression on Iraq?
Was President Bush’s behavior in 2003 similar to Emperor Hirohito’s in 1941? Hadn’t America launched surprise bombing raids on Iraqi military installations without a formal declaration of war just as Japan, 62-years earlier, had launched air attacks against our military installations in Hawaii without yet offering their declaration of war, a declaration they rendered the following day. Maybe with emotions in America less high strung over 9/11 we can ask the questions and make the parallel observations today and Americans will be able to see those parallels and wonder why our constitution was again violated by Congress and another president where war was concerned.
March 17, 2003, President George W. Bush, as his father had done in 1991, launched a full scale attack on Iraqi forces. Like his father, George W. Bush pointed to United Nations Security Council Resolutions for his justification for launching a war upon Iraq. President Bush also claimed that “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was being conducted to find the “weapons of mass destruction (WMD)” that Iraq had built against United Nations demands that such weapons should be turned over.
As American and UN “coalition forces” advanced during April 2003 into Iraq under cover of our superior air power THE NEW AMERICAN magazine pointed out that if Saddam Hussein had access to the feared WMDs those weapons were not being used against our invading army. The magazine asked, are there actually WMDs if they are not being used against our invasion forces?
Soon our troops were triumphant over Saddam Hussein’s armies and entered Baghdad. Saddam Hussein and his military leaders were forced into hiding. On May Day 2003, from aboard the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, then President Bush announced the end of major combat operations. Supposedly Iraq’s 26-million people were now free and now our forces would locate and confiscate those feared weapons of mass destruction that the UN inspectors had warned must be there. But as 2003 wore on no such weapons were found. Then, in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2001, and 20012, during the Bush and Obama administration the WMDs still were not found. So how was that mission accomplished?
Yes Saddam Hussein had been deposed and hung, but the mission was to find and confiscate for the UN those WMDs that were supposedly posing a threat to the western world, right? Those weapons were not found. Not the nuclear weapons, nor the chemical weapons, nor the biological weapons that President Bush and Vice President Cheney had so worried America over.
In May of 2003, those of us who had opposed President Bush’s launching of a war on Iraq watched as the Iraqi capital experienced riots, looting, vandalism and a renewed polarization of Iraqi citizens along religious-tribal lines and a growing violence. Were the people of Iraq actually liberated by OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM we asked, but again our questions were not met with ears prepared to hear them. Mostly Americans continued to cheer for the war as they had been taught that anything less was unpatriotic.
In Jack Kenny’s April 2011 article “WHAT HAS THE MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” in THE NEW AMERICAN, he pointed out that soon the glow of supposed victory began to fade as televisions displayed scenes of “government offices, libraries, and museums being looted and vandalized and as chaos spread through Iraq.” He pointed out that those reputed weapons of mass destruction were never found. “The message on the banner that hung over the President’s triumphant speech was quoted again and again with more than a hint of irony. ‘Mission Not Accomplished,’ TIME magazine said on its cover in September 2003.”
The Iraqi people began to see that coalition forces were not liberating forces, but were forces of military occupation of their country. They who had not been allied with al Qaeda suddenly found common cause with the terrorists and guerrilla warfare against the foreign forces occupying their country was launched in earnest. Our nightly news began to tell us of attacks by “insurgents.” We began to see flag draped coffins coming home after roadside bombs killed American soldiers.
After nine years of continuing combat and thousands of American losses in Iraq; after America has indebted itself and bankrupted itself, Americans finally see that indeed we were caught in a long-term military quagmire just as JBS members and THE NEW AMERICAN had warned they would be as the war was being contemplated by Bush, by Congress, by the UN, and by the press in 2002. While The JBS views up front were ridiculed, their prediction and observations have proven to be true and they are vindicated.
So was the mission accomplished in Iraq by either President George W. Bush or President Barrack Obama? Was the mission a clear mission with clear goals? What was the mission in the eyes of our leaders that they were willing to expend our treasure and our sons’ lives upon?
We know from WikiLeaks, that estimates of the number of civilian deaths in Iraq during our “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and “Operation Enduring Freedom” have numbered between 100,000 and 600,000 people. The former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, as Jack Kenny pointed out, “had reason to wonder, as he expressed in one of his memos, if we were not creating more terrorists than we were killing, since estimated insurgency strength climbed from 15,000 in November 2003 to 70,000 in June 2007.” (Page 16, April 18, 2011 issue of THE NEW AMERICAN)
Jack Kenny reminded America what the mission had begun as. He wrote: “But what was the mission in Iraq? It began as a quest for ‘regime change’ in Baghdad, a goal that became official U.S. policy when Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998. Then came the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the announcement by President Bush of a ‘war on terrorism.’ In his State of the Union Address the following January, Bush identified Iraq, Iran, and North Korea as an ‘axis of evil,’ though 15 of the 19 hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia, a nation counted as an ally in the war against terror. But the ‘axis’ nations either had or were pursuing ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ the President said.”
So was regime change in Iraq beneficial to America? Have we installed new leaders that are our allies or allies with Iran? Since we never found the WMDs was even that mission accomplished?
But there are other outcomes that no one in the media except THE NEW AMERICAN seems to want to mention. There has been an increasing set of massacres carried out against Christian people in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East as a result of U.S. Foreign Policy and the interventionist wars we’ve been engaged in throughout the region including Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and recently Libya. Not to mention our government’s support of revolutions in Egypt, Libya, Syria, etc.
Writer Alex Newman recently published an article titled “CHRISTIAN MASSACRES- A RESULT OF U.S. FOREIGN POLICY” that well describes the results in Iraq due to our wars there and the regime change George Bush’s foreign policy resulted in. It is as if the mission that was accomplished was the destruction of the Christian community in Iraq after 2,000 years of existing in that area and a growing hatred for Christians across the Middle East.
To look at the results for Christians in the Middle East visit:
Hold a BS degree from USU with a double major and an Associates degree from UVU. Works in political education field.
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