The War is Over and We Won
The recent headline on our editorial is lifted from the title of the anti-war documentary, "No End in Sight."
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, the Iraq War is over and we won.
We won it early, the day the Baathist government of Saddam Hussein fell with not a crash but a whimper.
After that, it was a mop-up operation and it remains one. The difficulty with this endeavor was never the winning of the war, it was the winning of the peace. Getting rid of Saddam Hussein and his henchmen, proved far easier than even the most optimistic hawks could have hoped for. The Not-So-Grand Bluffer proved not to have all the WMD that he pretended to have hidden from UN weapons inspectors.
He got called and he had squat. American and allied forces rolled over his supposedly scary and loyal troops like butter.
The war was won. The mission was accomplished. Then the hard part started.
The difficulty, as all reasonable people knew from the start, was in building the first Arab democracy in the Middle East. And it remains so. Getting people from different religious sects and tribes who have been oppressed and ruled over for centuries to govern themselves is no small trick.
It takes money (ours), blood (mostly theirs) and time.
Five years later, a democratic central government is in place. But more importantly, with the brave and necessary help of U.S. Armed forces, community organizations in cities across Iraq are building semi-democratic institutions from the ground up.
This remains a work in progress. After five years of hard work and bloodshed there is an end in sight. That end is not the withdrawal of all U.S. troops, any more than that was the goal of the war in Europe during WWII. The goal is a stable, non-threatening, and reasonably democratic Iraq.
It wasn't that before we invaded. It is a lot closer to that now that Saddam is dead and his oppressive regime gone. And today, according to recent polls and despite much knashing of teeth by liberal editorialists, a majority of Americans believe we will ulitimately prevail in Iraq.
It took America years of political wrangling and debate to fashion a contitutional government. And that was without gross interference of our neighbors and terrorists bent on our distruction.
Coming out of the constitutional convention of 1787, Ben Franklin was asked what type of government he and his fellow had devised for the country. "A republic," he replied, "if you can keep it."
There are plenty of defeatists and peaceniks in our communities who literally hate the idea of success in Iraq. They hate it because it would mean democracy will have been brought there on the barrel of a gun. And they don't like guns. They conveniently forget that is how our ancestors won the right to rule themselves.
Whether invading Iraq to depose a brutal dictator was worth the cost in time, blood, and money only time will tell.
But, according to the men who are there, men like Gen. David Petraeus, the withdrawal of all our troops could allow al Qaida and other terrorist groups to stage a comeback. Until, the Iraqi government is capable of dealing with these groups on their own, we should ignore the bleatings of the Cindy Sheehan Left and stay the course.