19 March (because of the time change, it was the early hours of 20 Mar in Iraq) is the anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 8 years ago, our troops began a worthy and critical mission, to take out the vicious and dangerous Saddam Hussein.
It was a swift and intense campaign, but our troops were brilliantly successful at destroying the defending Iraqi Army, with almost no significant civilian casualties. It was a textbook victory, taking only 3 weeks. Every intelligence agency in the world was sure that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). He’d used them against Iran a decade earlier and had used them in his own country against the Kurds. And a few days before our invasion an Iraqi convoy crossed into Syria and went to their WMD storage area. Over time lots of indicators of WMD were found, but no in-tact weapons. Somehow, the name-callers on the left still can’t admit that Bush was right—they’re still into Bush lied. He didn’t.
While we sent enough troops to win the war, there weren’t enough to win the peace. The next several years were tough, and unfortunately, the peace and security that followed our initial victory was short-lived. Elements of al-Qaeda, as well as common criminals and radical extremists, and, yes, Iran, started turning the Shiites and Sunni’s against each other, and carried out attacks to turn the different factions of Iraq against each other.
Thousands of innocent Iraqis died in the bombings and shootings as different factions in Iraq warred, and our troops did their best to create security and protect the population.
Eventually President Bush argued for The Surge, and sent in the troops that General Petraeus said he needed to enforce security and get the support of the Iraqi tribal leaders. It worked.
Our troops can and are coming home honorably, victoriously, as they should. Yes, there is still Afghanistan.
There were always some who called for retreat, for cut and run, and they were wrong. Congratulations to our brave troops for a job well done—and for the ones yet to do. The Radical Muslims still hate us.