Iraq has become a U.S. success

Stephen Ontko

For roughly six years, Iraq remained a difficult topic to defend, the popular American psyche prematurely concluding that the war was pointless, futile and wrong. But with three weeks having passed since Iraqi provincial elections, Iraq has now become a godsend for regional and U.S. security.

These most recent Iraqi elections prove how mature Iraq has come in such a relatively brief period of time. They indicate the dissolving of the sectarian fission that led to bloodshed between Sunnis and Shias in place of a national Iraqi identity.

A Feb. 3 column by William Shawcross in The Guardian noted the legitimacy of the elections, whereby all 712 Iraqi constituencies had international observers.

Kimberly Kagan and Frederick W. Kagan went on to note in a Feb. 5 column in the Wall Street Journal the Iraqi High Electoral Commissions’ collaboration with the U.N. and a great diligence in standardized and fair elections.

Security played no small role in the success of the elections either, as Bret Stephens said in his Wall Street Journal column Feb. 3, four U.S. troops died in combat in January, while 12 died in accidents. His statement that the “war is over” should be seriously considered.

Shawcross goes on to mention the results stemming from the success of the fair and safe elections. He mentioned that all of the Islamic factions lost influence, and especially promising was the militant anti-American Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr losing his share of the electorate from 11 percent to three percent.

This all comes with an increase in Iraqi nationalism, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s supporters being quite successful on election day. Al-Maliki’s Dawa party eliminated the word “Islamic” from its title, and Maliki has greater support after defeating the Shia militias.

Contrary to the spirit that entails these victories, liberals argued that Iraq was a quagmire, that there was no end in sight (that we were in an indefinite/perpetual war).

Among those who we should have no thanks for preventing Iraq from becoming another Vietnam is Sen. Chuck Schumer, who as the Washington Times reported on Feb. 17, 2007, said, “Just like in the days of Vietnam, the pressure will mount […] and the vast majority of our troops will have to be taken out of harm’s way.”

Or as well as Vice President Joe Biden and his backing of the Iraq Study Group plan to split Iraq into three entities. This would have caused more sectarian fighting than was previously seen and would have increased Iran’s power. Biden, however, would have been more content with this than actually pursuing successful U.S. policy, with CBS reporting Dec. 26, 2006 that Biden opposed the surge, which would never have allowed the election in Iraq to take place if he was successful in opposing this, too. But all of this was averted thanks to this election in Iraq and Bush’s perseverance.

As Obama was ascending to the highest public offices with little experience or accomplishment to back him up, President Bush was the one who took the great risks and political capital to defend America.

While the only strategy for dealing with the difficulties of Iraq Obama could think of was blame Bush and claim his solutions such as the surge were “doubling down” on his eight years of “failed” policy, Bush was the one who said “yes we can” obtain democracy in Iraq.

It would appear that whenever Democrats aren’t busy taking the wrong lessons from history, they are on the wrong side of it.

The success of the War on Terror is compounded with the newly successful Iraqi democratic state. As a stable, democratic and free state, the radical extremism that is so often sheltered in the Middle East is now exposed in an environment of inquiry and debate. Hence, our victories in Iraq prove far more than tactical, as a model of an Arab democratic state Iraq will be a vital force for the U.S. in the war of ideas against Islamic supremacists.

It is a sad fate when the triumphs of a hard-fought strategy in Iraq come to fruition once those responsible for those successes leave office. Yet, what will speak more than the difficulties of political sensibilities will be the enduring leadership history will afford, and the vindication of policies that are difficult proposals, but that confront rather than cower from the forces that threaten American life.

Stephen Ontko is a senior economics major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].