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Time Magazine's rush to declare defeat
By Samuel L. Blumenfeld
The October 6th issue of Time Magazine reached a new low in intellectual perversity. The editors were determined to turn our great victory in Iraq into a humiliating and horrible defeat. Its cover headline was a real bummer: "Mission Not Accomplished. How Bush Misjudged the Task of Fixing Iraq." The writers never defined what the true mission is or was. But Bush had made it clear after 9/11 that the mission was to rid the world of Islamic terrorism, and where better to start doing it than in the Middle East itself. That's the reason why we went into Afghanistan and that is why we went into Iraq. Bush has explained that this war will take years to win. The invasion and occupation of Iraq is only one phase of that war. So, of course, the mission has not been accomplished. The war isn't over yet!
It's as if Eisenhower's invasion of France should be considered a failure because the Germans attacked us at the Battle of the Bulge. Everyone knew then that not all events could be anticipated in an ongoing war. The same is true in Iraq. No one could have predicted exactly how the war would end, and it was expected that Islamic terrorists and Saddam loyalists would do all in their power to force us out. That has been their stated strategy since the beginning. And that is why many Iraqis are uncertain about American resolve. Yet, in spite of all this, our casualties have been remarkably low.
More people were killed in the bombing of the night club in Bali than in the entire war to liberate Iraq. As of October 5th, 88 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since May 1, about the same number that have been killed in Israel by suicide bombers during that same period. And, of course, far more people were killed in the World Trade Center attack than in the liberation of both Afghanistan and Iraq.
By the way, what does the "Task of Fixing Iraq" mean? What kind of adolescent writing is that? How do you "fix" Iraq? Iraq is being rebuilt from the bottom up because of the wreck Saddam made it. He spent billions on his palaces, but nothing to improve the infrastructure or the oil refineries. And if he didn't have the weapons of mass destruction which everyone thought he had, why did he prefer to live under the U.N. sanctions when he simply could have shown the inspectors that there were no WMDs?
So we've all been surprised by what we found or haven't found there, and in only six months we've managed to get a hold on the situation. First we had to convince the people of Iraq that we were there to stay until a real government, elected by the Iraqi people, was in place. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Baghdad, has done a superb job so far in getting Iraq back on its feet. He's been royally criticized for disbanding the old Iraqi army and starting over with a new one. What he was doing was making sure that all the old Baathists and Saddam loyalists were not given the opportunity to sabotage his efforts.
The people at the U.N. were not so smart. They kept the same security forces they had had during Saddam's regime. And it is believed that several of them helped the suicide bomber park his lethal truck right under the office of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the head man. So much for trusting the loyal troops of Saddam Hussein.
The occupation and rebuilding of Iraq is a daunting task that will take years. Why do the Democrats and their allies on Time magazine expect everything to be accomplished in six months? They are trying to persuade the American people that the Bush program in Iraq is an unmitigated failure. But success in Iraq will give us a valuable and strategic base in the Middle East from which we can continue our war against Islamic terrorism.
But all of that is lost on the pygmies at Time. They quote Marine General Anthony Zinni who said: "It reminds me of Vietnam….It's another Golf of Tonkin." I wonder what the General has been smoking these days. They refer to the $87 billion request of the White House for the cost of occupation and the rebuilding of Iraq as "eye-popping." Since when is war cheap?
We've been in Germany and Japan since 1945. We've been in South Korea since the 1950s. And we've been in Bosnia and Kosovo for several years, without any call for withdrawal. The truth is that we've only been in Iraq for six months, and our presence there has created the most important new reality for the Middle East in our time.
We should celebrate our enormous successes in Iraq, and thank God for the small number of casualties we have suffered thus far. I am forever awed by the courage and constancy of our soldiers who have shown their willingness to "get the job done," regardless of the risks. It is their spirit, their bravery that will enhance our security at home and give the Iraqi people a new lease on life.
Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education, including, "Alpha-Phonics:
A Primer for Beginning Readers," "The
Whole Language/OBE Fraud," and "Homeschooling:
A Parents Guide to Teaching Children." These books are available on
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