Have You Forgotten?
We thought it might be helpful to those painting facts as revisionist spin and calling people habitual liars to be reminded of the history concerning the Global War On Terror and our military operations in Iraq.
A good place to begin is with President Bill Clinton’s address to the nation on December 16, 1998:
The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.The “world” reacted to Clinton’s limited military strikes against Iraq with the same tired rhetoric we hear today. But let us not forget, regime change in Iraq, with the intention of replacing it with a democratic government, was the stated policy of the United States under the Clinton administration. As we know, all of the various good faith diplomatic and military strategies employed by the Clinton administration failed to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from power.
The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.
The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.
Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.
Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.
And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.
The stalemate between the United States and Iraq continued, prompting President Bush and the Congress to act. It might be helpful to read the text of the Joint Resolution of the Congress (H. J. RES. 114) of October 2002, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq and the long list of stated reasons for the military action. The resolution was passed by the Senate 77 to 23 and passed by the House 296 to 133.
Next, it might be helpful to revisit what the American people thought, specifically the people of New Jersey, on the question of going to war with Iraq in 2003. The U.S. began Operation Iraqi Freedom on March 20, 2003. From March 25 - 30 Quinnipiac University conducted a poll of New Jersey voters about their position on the war and here’s what they found.
New Jersey voters supported the U.S. war with Iraq 71 - 25 percent with Republican support for the war at 87 - 10 percent, independents 68 - 26 percent and Democrats 58 - 38 percent.People understood the goal was to remove Hussein from power in order to bring about a democratic Iraq. A March 2003 CBS poll, conducted prior to the start of the war, found that 54% of the American people felt Bush was more interested in ousting Saddam Hussein, and just 20% thought his goal was to disarm Hussein. So that old saw about Bush’s only annunciated reason for going to war with Iraq was because of weapons of mass destruction is baloney. The American people understood our mission in Iraq was one aspect of Bush’s strategy for fighting the GWOT.
By a 59 - 32 percent margin, New Jersey voters said there would be "a significant number of U.S. military casualties.”
A majority, 53 - 35 percent, expressed concern that in the short-term the war would increase terrorism in the United States. But a majority, 51 – 41 percent, also said in the long-term terrorism will be decreased by going to war with Iraq.
A majority of the American people understand that Al-Qaeda is just one faction of the islamo-terrorists enemies we face. This war is against the various terrorist groups and the states that harbor them, support their efforts and share their goal of destroying the west. The attacks of 9-11 were a wake-up call to confront the problem on all fronts and by all means.
President Bush has developed and implemented a global and long range strategy to defeat enemies that declared war on the United States prior to 9-11. It was Hussein who declared a "jihad" or holy war against the U.S in 1990 and it was Al-Qaeda that followed suit in 1998. An article by Peter Schweizer, Strategies or diversions?, explains the parallels between the strategy President Bush has adopted to win the GWOT and the one pursued by FDR in World War II.
President Bush has been criticized by the left for his strategy on the GWOT from the beginning. The same people who opposed the President’s strategy in October 2001, oppose it now. Four days into Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, the President was being asked if he had led the U.S. into a quagmire. Eight days into Operation Iraqi Freedom, the usual suspects said the military was bogged down and the Vietnam analogies began. Eighteen days later, the U.S. overthrew Saddam Hussein's regime. In December of 2003 we captured Hussein.
It has been non-stop criticism of the President from the left no matter what happens. Every obstacle or set-back in diplomacy or in a military operation is treated as proof the President’s strategy is flawed and should be scrapped. These critics demand perfection and immediate gratification, something that rarely occurs in war.
The President’s political opponents have treated us to all their reasons why the United States should not have taken the fight to Iraq – from Saddam Hussein didn’t attack us on 9-11, Iraq is a diversion from the main task of defeating al-Qaeda, it’s blood for oil, no WMD found, the war is unjust, more lives are being lost than saved and on and on. Now there is a growing chorus from Democrats to abandon military operations in Iraq. Yet, recent votes in the Congress have failed to back up those cut and run calls.
What the critics never supply is an alternate strategy for the GWOT and a plan for removing Saddam Hussein from power without the use of military force. Presumably, Bush should have stayed the failed course that brought us from one enemy front, 9-11 and a Saddam Hussein on another - growing richer by the year from the oil for food scam, harboring and supporting terrorists, while he plotted his next move against the U.S.
We believe the islamo-terrorists and their state sponsors are the ones waging an unjust war and that they are the ones killing people for no good reason. We also believe the actions by the United States and other countries to oppose the terrorist movement is logical and in the best interests of this country and countries around the world.
Disagree with the President’s strategy and execution of the GWOT, but stop trying to rewrite history and calling people liars just because the big picture confuses you.