Wow, the anniversary of the Iraq War came and went, with no pontification from me. I suppose the world will survive.
After all, there's not much for some one like me to say. I mean, we're committed and I know what side I am on. So, making inane statements like "this is Viet Nam" that simply emboden the enemy isn't an option. Regarding operations, I certainly don't know near what our commanders do. So, in spite of the fact that every military operation in the history of the world could have been done better if only the PFCs had been in charge, I will refrain from sharing my superior knowledge on the subject.
As for those who look back now, kick the dirt, and say "The world would have been much better off if I had been calling the shots," my retort is: Indeed, the world is full of clip-on-badge-wearing bureaucrats whose greatest achievement is their SAT score. Those who have never tried anything bold don't understand, and generally envy, those who do.
So, let us stipulate that the mission hasn't gone with the ease that we confort-addicted Americans are accustomed to. And further let us agree that we didn't foresee all the evil and difficulties that were ahead of us three year ago. Okay, you're right. I had no idea that crazed jihadis would saw off the heads of Americans while cameras rolled. You got me. And let's even go farther and say that, yes, we would have done some things differently for an operational standpoint, such as not disbanding the Iraqi Army.
Yes, Virginia, hindsight is 20-20. So, what?
Then, let's also state the positives which are also apparent if we would but look: First, our military has been remarkable, and casualties have been held to historic lows for such an operation. Next, whether one agrees with the objectives or not, the Iraqis are establishing a democracy that will in all likelihood not threaten America or support terrorism. That this is happening in the middle of the Arab world would have been as unthinkable as the Berlin Wall coming down in the mid-80s. Now, look at the world. There are other clear indicators of hope ... in Libya, in Lebanon. So, there is reason for optimism. Not polyannaism, but optimism.
And American casualties are down of late. Thus, it appears that the war critics now harp on the "civil war" mantra. I thought this was what they wanted, no? Iraqis killing other Iraqis? This was success to them a few months ago. Ah, but the full-time critic is never held to account. He has only things to tear down. Building is far too complicated and frustrating.
Part of the problem here is that much of the progress going forward is really out of our hands. Ultimately, Iraqis will have to fend off jihadis and establish a working democracy. We have given them the opportunity, and now they must seize it.
The perpetual anti-American critic spends all of his time arguing about the limitations of America and then refuses to admit the truth of this proposition when it doesn't suit his political ends. America can't cause or alleviate all of the suffering in the world.
And America can't make Iraq a success. Ultimately, all we can do is give Iraq a fighting chance. We are more than doing that. All the while, American security has been enhanced as the jihadi template of the weak infidel has been smashed over and over. It seems that more than Burger Kings stand in the way of the global caliphate.
America has a lot to be proud of, in particular of its amazing, resourceful young troops. God bless them and give them continued success.
But for the perpetual critics ... to those who offer no support, not even advice, only criticism, hand-wringing and regret ... their pontifications are as lost as they.
Pontification lost, indeed.