Monday, April 09, 2018

What Descended on Liberated Iraq

The article on the fall of the Saddam regime starts out fine, recounting the joy in Iraq of seeing Saddam go. But then the second sentence ends.

What am I to make of this?

After the US-led invasion of 2003, Iraq, freed from nearly a quarter century of dictatorship, descended into violence.

Sectarian clashes and jihadist attacks divided families and killed tens of thousands of people, leaving behind wounds that have yet to heal and a lagging economy.

No, Iraq did not "descend" into violence.

Saddam's minions organized and started fighting by blowing up people in an insurgency and terror campaign.

Syria continued to funnel in Sunni Arab jihadis from around the world who had once joined Saddam's Fedayeen but who then joined the terror campaign.

Al Qaeda decided to make Iraq their main front and downgraded the Afghanistan fight in favor of fighting in Iraq.

And Iran decided to back pro-Iran Shias like Moqtada al-Sadr who began waging their own terror and insurgency campaign.

Those are the reasons there was more violence after the American Coalition destroyed the Saddam regime. Those are the reasons for the death and economic harm.

And after a lull following the defeat of all these actors, ISIL returned from Syria which was falling from civil war to multi-war; and Iran returned under the guise of Shia militias by infiltrating some of them. Violence is again going down following the defeat of the ISIL caliphate.

America liberated Iraq and enemies of the Iraqi people decided to inflict more violence on the long-suffering Iraqi people. And to America's credit, we stood with the Iraqi people to defeat all these threats despite the cost in lives and treasure that winning required America to pay.

And without America, Saddam or his sick spawn sons would still be killing while keeping Saddam in power with his Sunni Arab minority government that exploited Shias and killed them, while seeking opportunities to reconquer the Kurds who escaped Saddam's grip after the Persian Gulf War of 1991. Perhaps that would have been achieved by now.

So you're welcome. Iraqis have a chance to live without bloody, cruel oppression. They have a chance to have democracy and rule of law. They have a chance to have a peaceful and prosperous country.

Yes, the Iraqi man who is the focus of the article framing the issue 15 years after the fall of Saddam's regime has good reason to regret the fighting. If I had lost three sons, I'd surely think enduring Saddam would have been better than paying that kind of price. But the fault isn't America's liberation of Iraq--which his sons survived, I'll note. The man's sons died in the violence that enemies of Iraq inflicted on the Iraqi people to reverse liberation and the chance for freedom.

And the Kurdish politician who complains America had no plans for the day after Saddam fell is wrong. America planned to give Iraqi the chance to freely choose their future. But fighting and dying to defend that chance got in the way as enemies bitterly opposed letting Iraqis vote for their future and get on with their lives.

Let's hope that the defeat of ISIL starts the path of de-fanging the pro-Iran militias and finally getting back on the job of building a better Iraq that can live in peace with democracy and rule of law.

Building is always harder than destroying. And mullah-run Iran still looms over Iraq, as does Turkey. So the defeat doesn't mean Iraq is out of the woods yet.

The people around the world who condemn America for liberating Iraq and standing with the Iraqi people in their darkest hours as enemies descended on Iraq to prey upon innocent people and reverse their liberation best pray they never need that kind of salvation from America.