Sunday, March 24, 2013

Operation Iraqi Freedom: Mission Accomplished

This week marked the ten year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq that toppled Saddam Hussein's brutal regime.  Gideon Rose wrote an article for Foreign Affairs arguing that OIF is, "..the most egregious American foreign policy failure since Vietnam."  People opposed to the invasion invoked Vietnam even before the first coalition troops crossed into Iraq, and the WMD were not found. The comparisons became almost a cliche as the days of the invasion gave way to the years of reconstruction, IED attacks and street fighting.

Mr. Rose could not be more wrong about Iraq because even though it was frustrating, brutal and expensive in both treasure and precious blood it succeeded in wrecking Saddam's regime and in helping an elected, sovereign government be born. Mr. Gideon should review his history if he believes this shares any similarities with the decision to leave South Vietnam to be conquered by the Communist North.

In 2007 President Bush ignore the cries to pullout of Iraq as we did in Vietnam and instead ordered the surge of forces and counter insurgency strategy led by General Petraeus.  This final push, along with the improving Iraqi forces and the Sunni Awakening were enough to break al-Qaeda and the other enemy forces.  Ironically, Mr. Rose would have had his Vietnam in Iraq if President Bush had listened to the experts who counseled precipitous withdrawal and defeat. It is time the naysayers accepted yes for an answer: yes, mission accomplished. The Obama administration and future administrations have the responsibility to see that it stays that way.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Benghazi: Shame on the President

It has been more than six months since the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th, but it seems there are still as many questions as answers.  The reason for this is that President Obama has successfully deflected questions and convinced many reporters in the months before the 2012 Presidential election that there was no there - there.  However, at least 2 questions remain: Why did the White House immediately blame the attack on protests that escalated into an attack. Also, why did the White House send U.N. Ambassador Rice on numerous Sunday talk shows to repeat the claim even after intelligence officials had told the White House information pointed to a coordinated terrorist attack?

The latest revelation is that as many as 33 survivors of the attack that killed the ambassador and 3 others are being pressured not to talk to Congress and the media.  Republican senator Lindsey Graham has stated he managed to speak to several survivors and that they wanted to talk, but were seeking assurances they would be protected from repercussions.  The House of Representatives should immediately call for public hearings and a renewed investigation along the lines of the work that was done that produced the 9/11 Commission Report. Shame on the President for dishonoring the dead and the survivors by trying to let the issue die away without his administration taking responsibility.