May 3, 2004

The opposite of flip-flop

I was pleased to see that President Bush still stands behind what he said after his carrier landing a year ago. What he said then was right and true:

...We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes…The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq...
What he said was the simple truth, and scoundrels have worked ever since to spin a lie, claiming he said that all fighting was done, and therefore "he lied."

Lorie Byrd writes:

Regardless of the conventional wisdom, I wish Bush would use that footage in a campaign ad, because everything he said on that carrier was true. What we accomplished in April 2003 in Iraq was unprecedented and to say it was wrong to congratulate the troops on a job well done is asinine. Especially when they had, in fact, accomplished the mission, regime change in Iraq, that President Clinton declared U.S. policy in 1998.
One thing I'm bitter about is that our military has not received proper credit for what was not only a stunning feat of arms, but also one of the great humanitarian deeds of our time. A more conventional campaign would have taken months, and the death toll would have been far far higher.

To simply bypass much of Iraq's military and population was extremely daring and risky. And we made it look easy, like the trapeze artist sailing through the air over the circus crowd. And because it looked easy most people never realized what a virtuoso performance they had witnessed. They didn't know what it was they had seen!

Instead, bitter joyless people filled the news with the looting of the Baghdad Museum (which in fact never happened) as if that was the only important thing going on. That our blitzkrieg had saved tens-of-thousands of lives meant nothing to them. That almost all Iraqi soldiers lived to see their families again meant nothing to them. In fact, the damn Museum meant nothing to them! They ceased their crocodile tears the instant it was no longer useful to bash Bush and defame our military. Frauds.

Not one of those pious prevaricators said, "I'm glad I was wrong, and the Museum treasures are safe." They just dropped the subject.

Someday Charlene and I will tour the Baghdad Museum. And remember with pride our President landing on an aircraft carrier. and the splendid "mission accomplished" of our forces. Accomplished so fast and well that many evils and destructions never had a chance to happen. Including perhaps a real looting of the museum, which might well have occurred if Saddam's regime had not been bewildered by the rapidity of their demise.

...Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear...
President Bush with crewmembers, USS Lincoln, May 2003

* Update: I should add that I am aware that there were losses among Iraq's antiquities. And I regret them exceedingly. But things might have been a million times worse. In the plan, 3ID wasn't to enter Baghdad at all. A messy urban battle was anticipated, with our airborne divisions fighting building by building. But we moved so fast the Iraqi defense never got organized. Our daring entry into Baghdad was an improvisation!

Posted by John Weidner at May 3, 2004 8:51 PM
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