What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Iraq War: Two Years Later

Today is the second anniversary of the military action against Iraq, a preemptive strike for the purpose of fighting the war against terror. Oh wait, that's not the reason we went to war. It was to disarm Saddam Hussein of his massive stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, to prevent him from selling the arms to terrorist groups. We all know now that Saddam had no weapons to begin with (bring up this fact with any conservative and watch how they'll change the subject). Our death toll stands at 1520 Americans dead, and about 176 coalition troops dead. Iraqi civilian casualty numbers are harder to come by, but estimates run between 17,000 and 19,000.

In addition to the cost in lives, the war has cost us money (about $160 billion so far) and it has cost the United States credibility in the eyes of the world community. Of course any conservative will say they don't care about what the world community thinks, believing, apparently, that the United States has unlimited funds, resources and personnel to wage any war at any time. Which just isn't true. There are times when the assistance of other countries is needed.

Here's the full text of George W. Bush's announcement of military action on March 19, 2001. I'm going to emphasize some points within the text.

"THE PRESIDENT: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein's ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support -- from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.

To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.

The enemies you confront will come to know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military. In this conflict, America faces an enemy who has no regard for conventions of war or rules of morality. Saddam Hussein has placed Iraqi troops and equipment in civilian areas, attempting to use innocent men, women and children as shields for his own military -- a final atrocity against his people.

I want Americans and all the world to know that coalition forces will make every effort to spare innocent civilians from harm. A campaign on the harsh terrain of a nation as large as California could be longer and more difficult than some predict. And helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.

We come to Iraq with respect for its citizens, for their great civilization and for the religious faiths they practice. We have no ambition in Iraq, except to remove a threat and restore control of that country to its own people.

I know that the families of our military are praying that all those who serve will return safely and soon. Millions of Americans are praying with you for the safety of your loved ones and for the protection of the innocent. For your sacrifice, you have the gratitude and respect of the American people. And you can know that our forces will be coming home as soon as their work is done.

Our nation enters this conflict reluctantly -- yet, our purpose is sure. The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder. We will meet that threat now, with our Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines, so that we do not have to meet it later with armies of fire fighters and police and doctors on the streets of our cities.

Now that conflict has come, the only way to limit its duration is to apply decisive force. And I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome but victory.

My fellow citizens, the dangers to our country and the world will be overcome. We will pass through this time of peril and carry on the work of peace. We will defend our freedom. We will bring freedom to others and we will prevail.

May God bless our country and all who defend her."

If you haven't seen Angry Candy's powerful Remind Us presentation, take a moment to check it out, to remember the real reason why we went to war.


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