Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Our mission in Iraq

I'm seeing a lot of revisionism from both sides on Iraq. I thought I'd reference the two statements President Bush made at the beginning that specified the mission and highlight certain elements. The two statements are his declaration of war (actually the statement to the US people that he was attacking Iraq) and the more detailed statement of three days later.

First to the revisionists on the left. There were, perhaps, various indicators from subordinates that this would be a short war. But the specific statement of the president in both messages was, "As long as it takes."

To the right, the president had four missions, total between the two messages, for the attack on Iraq.
1) To Disarm Iraq of its Weapons of Mass Destruction. (both)
2) To end Saddam Hussein's support for Terror. (second)
3) To Free the Iraqi people. (both)
4) To defend the world from grave danger. (first)
The third mission is explained in both the above messages. In the first, it's "To restore control of that country to its own people." In the second, it's "To help Iraq achieve a united, stable and free country." These appear to be equivalent statements, the second more fully expanding the first. "To restore control to its own people" also implies a democratic government.

I address the above to the rightist revisionists who claim WMD were but a tiny part of the mission. It is, however, one of two missions repeated in both statements. It is implicit in the fourth mission as well - unfree Iraqis are not in themselves a grave threat to the world. They were, at core, the primary reason given for going into Iraq. Arguments otherwise should explain why we have not and are not invading other nations for which missions 2 and 3 (substituting the appropriate names of leader and nation) but not 1 would be applicable.

By default we accomplished mission one. While we have removed Saddam Hussein from power, there is strong local support for terrorists. I suspect whether we truly complete mission two (and in the context of global terrorism, mission four) will be reliant upon successful completion of mission three.

The remaining missions can be restated, then as:
"We will establish in Iraq a democratically governed nation that is united, stable and free, to eliminate it as a danger to the world."


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