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Friday, April 11, 2014

11 Years Ago: U.S. Declares 'End of Fighting' in Iraq

Yes, we all remember the Mission Accomplished speech on the carrier, but that came in early May, 2003.   It was on  April 14, 2003, three weeks earlier, that U.S. commanders declared that the fighting was over.  Polls showed that most Americans agreed we had won easily and the war was over.  But check out this prescient letter to the editor buried in the NYT, in response to Rumsfeld's claim that looting and chaos showed that freedom was "untidy" but the future in Iraq was bright:
I believe that looting, lawlessness and continuous danger are the result of winning an ill-conceived war. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and the Pentagon have fielded the finest troops and the best equipment in the history of the world.
As wars go, this one was won with lightning speed and relatively few civilian and military casualties. Every maneuver was carefully orchestrated.  But the planning for postwar Iraq was practically left to chance. The Iraqis, whom we liberated, have to deal with looting and lawlessness. The troops who are stationed in Iraq are in constant danger. We have still not established law and order in Afghanistan, which we ''liberated'' in 2001.
Perhaps the way to defend the United States is not to attack all the countries that harbor terrorists, but rather to be part of a worldwide coalition to catch and bring terrorists to justice.
Chestnut Hill, Mass.
 Greg Mitchell's new book Iraq and media malpractice is "So Wrong for So Long." 

1 comment:

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