Our best to Iraq

U.S. troops gave their best shot to give Iraqis a shot at what we've got

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The United States won the war. It’s up to Iraq to win the peace.

At much cost to both parties, the U.S. has given the people of Iraq the best chance they’ve had in modern times to enjoy both peace and freedom. But as they no doubt are already learning, the cost of both is immense.

No one knows that cost better than the men and women of our volunteer Armed Forces – the most capable, most honorable fighting force in human history. As the U.S. mission is solemnly brought to a close, Americans should remember them in their prayers as Iraqis should remember them for their sacrifice.

It’s been a difficult slog, and among the most controversial military engagements and political calculations in America’s lifetime. History will be the final arbiter, but from here – again, at great cost and with maddening imperfections – we see a very troubled, very problematic country that has been pulled out from the thumb of one of the planet’s worst tyrants. In its place we see cracks on the egg of a peaceful republic. What will hatch is anyone’s guess.

But if it’s more violence and a breakdown in civil society, history must know that it won’t be because of the United States. What the Iraqis do with their newfound freedom is their choice.

Nor should posterity let go unchallenged the manipulative canard that the justification for the Iraq War was a lie. That political refrain, chanted enough that it seemed to ring of truth, is debunked easily enough with the historical record: American and foreign politicians of every political stripe were convinced Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction – he’d already used them, in fact, against the Kurdish people – and needed to be removed. The list of Democrats who supported action against Saddam, and who were convinced he was a grave danger, is a veritable Who’s Who of the party.

“Saddam Hussein,” Democrat Nancy Pelosi once said, “has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”

The list goes on.

It is interesting that President Obama, one of the war’s chief opponents, now presides over its end. The situation gives rise to a fear among some that the pullout is more political than strategic.

We would simply pray that the time is right, and that our troops’ sacrifices, many forever to be untold, will have done them the honor they’ve done us.

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Haki
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Haki 12/17/11 - 02:39 am
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Sometimes varying views

Sometimes varying views aren't appropriate. To all the troops, thanks you.

RunningMan
346
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RunningMan 12/17/11 - 07:50 am
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One thing you are right about

One thing you are right about - The President along with many others like myself thought this war was unnecessary and more about politics than finding WMDs. We spent trillion of dollars fighting this war, and for what? The fact that he is presiding over its end is the right thing to do, not just for the IRAQ, but the US as well. And by the way, it was Bush that set the timeline in motion to end this war. The President simply just finished the job, as he has done in many of the events that Bush started. Not even a nice try in trying to justify an eight year war that almost drained this country financially, and the lost of so many Armed Service personnel and civilians.

seenitB4
91139
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seenitB4 12/17/11 - 08:07 am
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I'm glad our men are coming

I'm glad our men are coming home...If Iraq can't make it now it sho won't be our fault...
We need to put our resources on the good ole USA & get our mess cleaned up....

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/17/11 - 09:03 am
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The consensus among

The consensus among historians is that the U.S. war in Vietnam was unnecessary and a mistake. History will judge the U.S. war in Iraq similarly. I would like to know if all U.S. combat aircraft including drones are out of Iraq. I doubt it. Obama, Biden, and Panetta say the U.S. remains "committed" to Iraq. As many as 16,000 U.S. personnel including 5,000 or more private security contractors will staff the largest U.S. embassy in the world in Baghdad. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad will be equipped with a fleets of Blackhawk helicopters and mine resistant armored vehicles so the U.S. embassy staff can move around Iraq safely. It will cost at least $3.5 billion a year to fund U.S. embassy operations in Iraq. The U.S. has sold 18 F16s to Iraq and will likely sell Iraq another 18 of these war planes. Of course Iraqi pilots have to be trained in Iraq or elsewhere. Americans are naive to believe that U.S. military involvement in Iraq is 100% terminated. The U.S. national security establishment will do everything in its power to keep Iraq under its thumb.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/17/11 - 10:19 am
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United States has not

United States has not withdrawn from Iraq: "With so much attention on the removal of the US military presence from the streets of Iraq, very little was paid to the skies. Looking up, however, Iraqis will continue to see the US looming overhead. That’s because according to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the Iraqi government has granted the US permission to continue to fly Predator Drones over Iraqi airspace, nominally to look for Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants. The drones will fly out of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base." U.S. drone wars continue and expand. http://news.antiwar.com/2011/12/16/troops-leave-but-iraq-allows-us-preda...

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 10:04 am
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Will we please get this

Will we please get this right? The next time we fight a war, use our massive air power to bring them to their knees and do what we want including getting rid of dictators and terrorists. We need to fight wars with drones and missles destroying everything down to the stop signs. That's more economical, more effective and saves thousands of American lives.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 10:29 am
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The first sentence of this

The first sentence of this Editorial is incorrect. We did not win the war. Wars end when somebody surrenders, or when there isn't anybody left to surrender. Neither is the case with Iraq.

We haven't won a war since WWII. We didn't win in Korea, Vietnam, or even the first Iraq war. We didn't even win in Somalia. We haven't the guts to win a war any more. We spent trillions of dollars and sent millions of men and women off to fight and die for causes in which we didn't believe. And neither will we win in Afghanistan.

We leave Iraq as a purely political move, with separate sects of Islam still slaughtering each other, al qaeda still stirring the pot, and Iran waiting in the wings to swoop in and take over when we slam the door. We're leaving thousands of "civilian" personnel in place without a military force to protect them.

But as our experience in "quitting" wars grows, so grows our ability to quit and claim we "won" as we slink out the back door headed home with our tail between our legs once again.

faithson
5276
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faithson 12/17/11 - 10:37 am
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'The United States won the

'The United States won the war.'... because YOU say so... all evidence is to the contrary, but hey, who looks at the reality when it comes to journalism at the Chronicle.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 10:37 am
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Harley is saying the same

Harley is saying the same thing I said but much better than my succinct way. Listen to us. This is what we did. Me for 20 years, Harley for longer. We know what we are talking about. Don't fight ground wars anymore. Massive overwhelming firepower that WINS and ENDS the war permanently. No half-way measures. It will save more lives on both sides and create a permanent peace.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 10:40 am
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0
Why don't we become realists

Why don't we become realists about the mideast and get down to what it's all about? Tell the Arabs to do what they want, but continue to guarantee we can have oil at a reasonable price even if they hate our guts. If we don't get the oil, they lose a city or two.

itsanotherday
0
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itsanotherday 12/17/11 - 10:47 am
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Riverman: "Don't fight ground
Unpublished

Riverman: "Don't fight ground wars anymore. Massive overwhelming firepower that WINS and ENDS the war permanently. No half-way measures. It will save more lives on both sides and create a permanent peace."

Old friend, you are tilting at windmills as long as politicians drive the bus.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 11:08 am
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Riverman1 said "Don't fight

Riverman1 said "Don't fight ground wars anymore. Massive overwhelming firepower that WINS and ENDS the war permanently. No half-way measures. It will save more lives on both sides and create a permanent peace."

Just to be clear, I'm not dismissing the necessity or the wisdom of fighting a "ground war," at least not for necessary aspects of "winning." There are situations where only a ground force can win. For example, high value targets can be hidden beyond the view of even our best intelligence assets, or buried so deeply they are invulnerable to our air assets. In those cases, ground forces are still necessary. There is a school of military thought that you don't own it until you stand on it and have planted your flag on it. I agree with that belief.

But I also agree that most of the fighting can be done by bombing/missiles and through the use of Special Forces both on the ground covertly doing targeting or by short, fast moving, surprise attacks with very narrow missions as was the case with the demise of Osama Bin Laden.

We have the capability to fight and win wars like that, but we still lack the guts to do it. We get too wrapped up in the squishy "feel good" aspects of fighting wars and we decide to quit rather than fight. War is ugly. War is horrific. People die in wars, including soldiers, civiians, men, women, and children. If you can't accept those facts, you'd probably be better off surrendering up front.

itsanotherday
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itsanotherday 12/17/11 - 11:16 am
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Randy Cain: "The consensus
Unpublished

Randy Cain: "The consensus among historians is that the U.S. war in Vietnam was unnecessary and a mistake."

If what you say is true, and I believe it is, it is with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight. I daresay though, at the time the spread of Communism was a serious concern and our political leadership in good conscience thought that stopping it was the right thing to do. The problem was we didn't have the political cajones to get it done. A fleet of B 52's over Hanoi would have been a good start.

I also think you are correct that Iraq will be similarly judged, although we didn't have the same options as we did in Vietnam.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 11:53 am
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itsanotherday said "I also

itsanotherday said "I also think you are correct that Iraq will be similarly judged, although we didn't have the same options as we did in Vietnam."

I think history will judge our invasion of Iraq to have been an appropriate military and political response to a massive intelligence failure. Fighting the war with both hands tied behind our backs and the massive "nation building" efforts will probably be viewed less favorably.

Our invasion of Iraq should not be faulted. Everybody believed Saddam had massive stockpiles of WMD and that he was cooperating with islamic terrorists. The U.N. was convinced and had passed numerous reosolutions regarding Iraq's WMD, all of Europe was convinced, our own Intelligence agencies were sure of it, and so was the U.S. Congress. It was apparently an Intelligence failure. Intelligence failures happen.

Politicians start the wars, the military fights them, and liberals whine enough to roll the politicians into believing they're better off quitting than fighting. The brave military ends up the big loser and our Country remains in grave and growing danger from the enemy we have trained and emboldened.

People forget that when the 2nd Ranger Battalion scaled the cliffs at Pointe-Du-Hoc during the D-Day invasion they did it because Intelligence said a Battery of Artillery was on top of the cliffs that had to be taken out in order for the invasion to succeed. Our Rangers took horrific casualties climbing the clliffs as German soldiers killed them like fish in a barrel from atop the cliffs. After tremendous losses of lives and limbs by the brave Rangers they finally fought their way to the top only to discover that the Intelligence was wrong. There was no German Artillery Battery there. It had been moved to another location.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 11:59 am
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riverman1 said "Tell the

riverman1 said "Tell the Arabs to do what they want, but continue to guarantee we can have oil at a reasonable price even if they hate our guts. If we don't get the oil, they lose a city or two."

As it turns out, we don't need their oil after all. We have plenty right here at home. Of course the liberals have stalled us sufficiently to make it impossible to use right now, but we could be self sufficient in a decade or so if we really tried.

But the very same folks who won't let us win wars also won't let us use our own natural energy supplies. They prefer us dependent on those who hate us for our supplies, even with the knowledge that it's adding to the destruction of our economy, the skyrocketing of our debt, untold pain to the citizenry, and imperiling our National Security.

You'd think they want to see us destroyed. I surely do.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 12:14 pm
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Harley, of course THAT'S our

Harley, of course THAT'S our major problem. A large segment of our population is anti modern industry and transportation. They will obstruct anything that enhances our industrial capability. They want us living barefoot in villages running spinning looms with body power.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 12/17/11 - 12:32 pm
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US Exit from Iraq: 'This is

US Exit from Iraq: 'This is Not a Withdrawal, This is an Act on a Stage' by Martin Chulov | Guardian/UK | Fri, 16 Dec 2011 12:11 CST
http://www.sott.net/articles/show/238986-US-Exit-from-Iraq-This-is-Not-a...

Sargebaby
4693
Points
Sargebaby 12/17/11 - 02:10 pm
0
0
I'm with Riverman! Nuke em

I'm with Riverman! Nuke em all, let God sort em out!

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 03:49 pm
0
0
sargebaby said "I'm with

sargebaby said "I'm with Riverman! Nuke em all, let God sort em out!"

I don't think riverman said "nuke," though he may have implied it. I'm not sure.

If you're going to fight a "war" you'd better plan to win it. That means allowing your fighting forces to use whatever force and weaponry is necessary to defeat the enemy wherever and whenever they find him. It is possible for us to do that in all prior wars, but as we fight radical islam, the battlefield must be redefined. We may well find that it's impossible to separate radical muslims from friendly muslims and if that becomes the case, we'd better be prepared to address the situation soberly and realistically. And so should muslims.

Personally, I don't think that decision can wait much longer.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 04:08 pm
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0
Harley, there you go saying

Harley, there you go saying it better than me in my brief way.

I don't think nukes would be necessary, but I certainly wouldn't rule them out if we are going to fight in this powerful manner.

The way to separate the radical from those who respect others is to let THEM do it out of fear. After 9-11, I would have told Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Iraq and possibly Pakistan to destroy their radical elements immediately or one of their major cities would be destroyed. If one city didn't get the message across...Nagasaki.

Once we establish how we will handle matters, from then on you will see major Arab efforts to control their rabid, death wishing dogs which will make the earth a much better place to be as we orbit the sun together.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 04:27 pm
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0
Riverman, I don't say it

Riverman, I don't say it better, perhaps just more precisely. You're a racehorse and I'm more of a mudder.

And I think your description of what may be necessary in the war on radical islam may well be what's needed. One problem is that dying in a war against infidels is something muslims embrace, not fear. It turns out Mutual Assured Destruction is a strategy that won't work with Islamic dictators because the result would be fine with them. Of course the leaders would probably attempt to save themselves so they could manage whatever was left, but I think they'd love to sacrifice their citizenry to the cause and Ahmadinijad pretty much says so when he discusses war with Israel or the USA. We infidels consider dying for our Country something we'll do if we have to, many muslims consider it something they'd love to do whenever and wherever they get the chance.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 04:55 pm
0
0
Harley, I don't believe

Harley, I don't believe martyrdom is something thinking, influential, Iranians or any other Arabs actually want. No matter the talk.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 05:23 pm
0
0
Riverman said "I don't

Riverman said "I don't believe martyrdom is something thinking, influential, Iranians or any other Arabs actually want. No matter the talk."

Why do you think they willingly don vests stuffed with C-4 and nails then walk into a room full of wedding guests and set themselves off? Why do you think the learn how to fly commercial jets (but not to land them) and then fly them into office buildings full of innocent people?

I have absolutely no doubt they want to die for allah. It's why they're hollering "allahu akbar" at the moment of impact. Their religion commands them to do it and promises them a higher place in heaven for doing it.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 05:32 pm
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Harley, there are too many of

Harley, there are too many of their leaders hanging out in the decadent western play places for them to be promoting suicide seriously.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 05:46 pm
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Riverman said "Harley, there

Riverman said "Harley, there are too many of their leaders hanging out in the decadent western play places for them to be promoting suicide seriously."

You didn't answer my questions. It is grounded in faith. Islam promotes it and promises rewards for it. Fundamentalists preach it and exploit it.

Also, hypocrisy is everywhere....and I include Islam and the Catholic church in that "everywhere."

Sargebaby
4693
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Sargebaby 12/17/11 - 08:04 pm
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Mostly, the "nuke em" was a

Mostly, the "nuke em" was a joke, a borrowed phrase from a T-shirt I saw once. However, I tend to side with Riverman. As for hypocrisy, Harley, you nailed it!

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 10:42 pm
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Sargebaby said "However, I

Sargebaby said "However, I tend to side with Riverman."

Riverman is a fine person to side with, but I'm not sure we're at the point of taking sides on anything. I think he and I agree on almost everything.

What we're discussing now is whether Islam encourages its adherents to martyr themselves in furtherance of the religion. I say it does. Jihadist muslims are promised great rewards for martyrdom for the faith. Here, read it for yourself.......

"In Islam, jihad includes active, offensive military
operations of rebellion or conquest. Martyrs in Islam, then, are those who die in fighting Allah’s wars, not just
those executed for their faith.
Since martyrdom guarantees eternal life (Q 3:157-58, 169-71), admission to the presence of Allah (Q 3:157-
58), and great reward (Q 4:74, 95-96; 47:4), there is a tremendous motivation to die the death of a martyr.
And if ye are slain, or die in the way of Allah, forgiveness and mercy from Allah are far better than all they could amass.
[158]And if ye die, or are slain, lo it is unto Allah that ye are brought together. (Q 3:157-58)
Think not of those who are slain in Allah’s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the presence of their
Lord; [170]They rejoice in the Bounty provided by Allah: and with regard to those left behind, who have not yet joined them
(in their bliss), the (martyrs) glory in the fact than on them is no fear, nor have they (cause to) grieve. [171]They glory in the
Grace and the Bounty from Allah, and in the fact that Allah suffereth not the reward of the faithful to be lost (in the least).
(Q 3:169-71)
Let those fight in the cause of Allah who sell the life of this world for the Hereafter. To him who fighteth in the cause of Allah,
whether he is slain or gets victory soon shall we give him a reward of great (value). (Q 4:74)"

http://www.bbc.edu/journal/volume6_1/Jihad-Ingalls.pdf

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 10:34 pm
0
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Harley, I think most of them

Harley, I think most of them pay lip service to this martyrdom stuff. Sure there's a good number of the suicide Bay City Bombers, but not the majority and certainly not the intelligent leaders of those countries. Even Ahmadinejad and those Ayatollah characters want to see their kids grow up.

I understand Iran has something in the equivalent of their constitution that calls for them to destroy us heathens, but they were just playing to the crowd saying something like that. It's almost like an Ali G routine saying he wanted to drink the blood of every...whatever.

harley_52
24029
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harley_52 12/17/11 - 10:46 pm
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0
Riverman, I think you take it

Riverman, I think you take it all far less seriously than they do. There's ample evidence they're taught in schools from a very young age to take the serious view. As for Iran's leaders, I think they take it all very seriously as well.

Riverman1
87535
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Riverman1 12/17/11 - 11:07 pm
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Harley, many thought the

Harley, many thought the Japanese would fight to the death of all their people, too. That second mushroom cloud with warnings that Tokyo was next put the fear of the USA in them that over rode any Samurai Warrior feelings they may have had.

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