Daily Wisdom

March 19, 2006

Operation Iraqi Freedom - Plus Three

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Today is my birthday, and the third anniversary of the beginning of hostilities in Iraq. For those of you who have already sent me E-cards and E-mails... THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! It is wonderful to have such good friends.

I am forced to admit however, that on the opening day of hostilities in Iraq, when I heard that a bomber had been dispatched to bomb a location where Saddam Hussein was suspected to be, I thought... "What a great birthday present that would be!" Mind you, it was fleeting. It's not good to wish for anyone's death -- not even that of an evil dictator like Saddam. And, as we all soon found out, it was not to be. Saddam is still around, and still a pain in the rear... but at least he's not in power.

After three years of hostilities, it's hard to say with any certainty that I think this war was a good birthday present. Considering the deaths of 2318 Americans, 103 Brits, 27 Italians, 18 Ukrainians, 17 Poles, 13 Bulgarians, 11 Spaniards, 3 Slovakians, and 1 or 2 each from Australia, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Netherlands and Thailand... one cannot say "Thank You" for such a present. It comes at too high a price. And considering that thousands of Iraqis have died as well, and thousands more Coalition forces and Iraqis have been wounded, it certainly gives one reason to pause and consider whether this war was the right thing to do.

Despite the tragic loss of life and despite the maimed and wounded, I believe however, that I think it WAS the right thing to do. Let's consider for a moment the results to date...

  • Saddam Hussein (brutal dictator) -- No longer in power.
  • Uday and Qusay (his brutal sons) -- Dead.
  • Saddam Hussein -- Captured and standing trial.
  • Majority of Iraqi "Most-Wanted" -- Captured or killed.
  • Status of 26 million Iraqis -- Freedom.
  • Mass graves -- No longer being populated.
  • Rape rooms -- No longer in operation.
  • Torture chambers -- Out of service.
  • Pay-offs to Palestinian homicide bombers -- Ceased.
  • Government support for terrorists like al-Zarqawi -- Ceased.
  • Government support for terrorists like Ansar al-Islam -- Ceased.
  • Pay-offs to UN officials (Oil-For-Food program) -- Ceased.
  • Pay-offs to Europeans (Oil-For-Food program) -- Ceased.
  • Pay-offs to Russians (Oil-For-Food program) -- Ceased.
  • Missile attacks on American over-flight pilots -- Ceased.
  • Threat of Iraqi WMD programs -- Ceased.
  • Schools -- Rebuilt or being rebuilt.
  • Hospitals -- Rebuilt or being rebuilt.
  • Power Stations -- Rebuilt or being rebuilt.
  • Water Plants -- Rebuilt or being rebuilt.
  • Constitution -- Written and being implemented.
  • Elections -- Three major elections conducted to-date.
  • Politics -- Almost as bad as America.
  • Coalition Forces -- Respected and thanked by most Iraqis.
  • Coalition Forces -- Respected and thanked by most Americans.
  • Iraqi Army -- Taking on more responsibility.
  • U.S. Military -- Giving Iraqis more responsibility.
  • Iraqi Economy -- Growing and vibrant.
  • Recent Visitors -- Things are better than the media portrays.
  • Current Situation -- Still dangerous.
  • Sectarian Violence -- A sad reality, but not widespread.
  • Civil War -- Not happening according to recent visitors.
  • Poll of Iraqis -- Extremely optimistic about the coming year.


  • When compared to other wars in U.S. history, this war is far from the worst...

    WarDeaths
    Revolutionary War4,435
    War of 18122,260
    Mexican War1,733
    Civil War140,414
    World War I53,513
    World War II292,131
    Korean War33,651
    Vietnam War47,369

    I think history will look back and say that this venture was a huge success. In the meantime, it is painful to endure. My deepest condolences go out to the families of those who have been lost or injured. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to all those who have served with honor. May God's richest blessings be upon you and upon the Iraqis who have benefited from your service. And may God Bless the United States of America.

    14 Comments:

    At 3/19/2006 6:30 PM , Blogger Marc with a "c" said...

    Very thoughtful and insightful post, Hawkeye. It's good to see everything in perspective, both the reward and the cost. Thank you.

     
    At 3/19/2006 7:39 PM , Blogger onlineanalyst said...

    Well expressed insights. Problem solvers weigh choices and consequences, pros and cons. You have succinctly presented those points.

    Happy birthday (once more with feeling!)

     
    At 3/19/2006 8:19 PM , Anonymous West Coast Liberal said...

    hahaha, what a joke. $400b (and counting) and more than 2,000 American lives (and counting) to get rid of a guy who posed no more of a threat to American lives than influenza.

    There is a saying that there is always a worse road than the one you're traveling on. What is worse than having Saddam in power and continuing to torture innocent Iraqis? The answer: What you see right now, Shiite-Sunni violence.

    Before the war, 3 Republicans with a ton of military and foreign policy experience warned of full-blown civil war. One of them said that it would happen, another expressed fears that it might happen, while the last one said that if we did not handle post-Saddam affairs right, it could happen. The words of Brent Scowcroft, Colin Powell and Chuck Hagel respectively were ignored by a moron named Bush with no military and hardly any foreign policy expertise.

    The result: A screwed up situation that frankly no one, Democrat or Republican, has any idea how to handle. Jack Murtha's plan is as bad as Don Rumsfeld's. John Kerry's proposal to solve the Iraq quagmire is as bad as Dick Cheney's.

    West Coast Liberal

    PS Flu complications kill about 36,000 Americans each year. How many has Saddam killed? Or rather, I should phrase the question as, how many would he have killed with his imaginary WMD??

    PPS Happy birthday though I truly wish that you would have had a better birthday present than to be presented with the reality than the situation in Iraq is only going to get worse.

     
    At 3/19/2006 10:17 PM , Blogger Marc with a "c" said...

    You go the Cliff's Notes for your comment, liberal? Geez, man just start your own blog.

     
    At 3/19/2006 10:19 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Marc,
    Thanks for stopping by. I apologize for not getting to your place more often. You've had some great posts.

    OLA,
    Thanks. It's a shame that progress often demands such sacrifice.

    WCL,
    In a way, it's good to know that the flu kills more people in a single year than the War in Iraq has killed in three years. I know... that must sound strange, but I think you catch my drift.

     
    At 3/20/2006 3:56 AM , Blogger camojack said...

    Like I said before, they should've just dropped a grenade into that "spider hole"...

     
    At 3/20/2006 7:26 AM , Blogger MargeinMI said...

    Happy belated birthday, Hawkeye!

    In my personal opinion, I DON'T think that Saddam's torture and murder of innocents was better than what's happening today. Sheesh. Sunni's and Shiites have been fighting for centuries. It's not a result of GWB's actions. Take just one little step into what the future would have been had his sons gotton into power. They were more twisted than Saddam, if such a thing is possible. Yes, there is still fighting there, but at least now the country has a chance to determine its future, an option the didn't have under Saddam.

     
    At 3/20/2006 12:32 PM , Blogger Maggie said...

    Happy Birthday to a wonderful person,Hawkeye.Although belated,it does not diminish the heart felt good wishes for you.You are a good friend.

     
    At 3/20/2006 7:33 PM , Anonymous west coast liberal said...

    Hawkeye,
    Since flu kills more Americans a year than the no-objective Iraq war has in 3 years, wouldn't it be more feasible to spend that $400b in medical related matters that would better serve the American people?

     
    At 3/20/2006 8:51 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    Marge, Maggie,
    Thanks for the birthday wishes. I really appreciate it. It's extra special coming from good friends like "you'se guys".

     
    At 3/20/2006 8:59 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    WCL,
    I never said that the war in Iraq had no objective... YOU did. Would $400 billion dollars better serve Americans than Iraqis... I don't know, maybe if you're selfish.

    Let's see. $400 billion ÷ 26 million Iraqis freed = $15,385 per Iraqi freed.

    So let me ask you. What do you think YOUR freedom is worth? Is it more or less than $15,385?

     
    At 3/22/2006 3:14 AM , Blogger RAM said...

    Happy birthday Hawkeye!!!

    WCL: I wonder how many people are bored to death by you each year?

    That is the REAL tragety!

     
    At 3/22/2006 10:10 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

    RAM,
    Thanks for the birthday wishes!

     
    At 3/25/2006 1:46 AM , Blogger radar said...

    Sorry I missed your birthday, been doing the sick thing, unfortunately. Wonderful post though, that.

     

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