Friday, May 02, 2008

Mission Nearly Accomplished

Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of the infamous MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner on board the US aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln after our victorious troops took down the murderous regime of Saddam Hussein in Operation Iraqi Freedom. The insinuation that most people get from this scene is the war was over and the troops could start coming home, which was indeed a stretch to say the least.

Words often hurt and these have certainly brought its share of public scorn and Media ridicule to the hard-pressed Bush administration. Actions, however, are more meaningful and lasting, and President Bush's actions following this disappointing piece of propaganda are far more relevant to his legacy than a simple statement from a navy warship. While Bush and his administration was definitely surprised at the rise of the insurgency, fueled as it was by Al Qaeda, the fact that he did not back down and retreat before the terrorist offensive is far more important to the history of the War in Iraq.

His actions are all the more remarkable considering that retreat in the face of Middle Eastern radicalism has been the norm for past US presidents, both Republican and Democrat. President Carter began the tradition when in 1980 the disastrous Desert One Operation was called off due to poor planning and inadequately maintained military equipment. Next, a suicide bomber drove the Reagan Administration out of Beirut Lebanon in 1983, but not before taking the lives of 241 American Marines.

The first President Bush made a noble stand against Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War, liberating the tiny nation of Kuwait and greatly restoring the prestige of US arms. His refusal to finish the mission, and quick withdrawal of troops afterwards, kept a dictator still in control of Iraq and left more than a few headaches for his successors.

In Osama Bin Laden's own words, the humiliating Black Hawk Down episode in Somalia under the Clinton administration emboldened the terrorists down the road to 9/11. Probably distracted by the fracture of the Yugoslavian nation, not to mention various domestic and personal concerns, President Clinton was either unwilling or unable to began a full scale campaign to deal with Islamic Radicalism, and end this threat once and for all.

Since Bush's Iraq invasion of April 2003, the tide of war has risen and fallen, mostly in his favor, seeing as how Americans have elected him for a second term even in the midst of his Mid East woes. We have seen the election of a new democratic government there as well, the first in the nation's history. We have also seen many of our fellow Americans turn against the war, especially during the bad times.

The Surge of 2007 under General David Petraeus has without doubt restored the initiative to US forces. Though the insurgency is still strong, events recently in Sadr City with the Maliki government finally taking a stand against the rogue Mahdi Militia, bodes well for the new regime that it might soon stand on its own. The destruction of the radicals and the planting of Western values within the terrorist breeding grounds will last far longer and breed better fruit than a few ill chosen words.