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Three Years Later
How Our Troops Come Home With Honor

[Carol Platt Liebau] 3/20/06

As no shortage of news accounts have reminded us, Sunday marked the third anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War.

It is, first and foremost, an occasion for gratitude. Many, many young soldiers have put themselves in harm’s way to make America more secure – and to liberate a tyrannized people from the hob-nailed boot of the dictator Saddam Hussein. More than 2300 of these brave souls have been killed; 17,000 have been wounded. A steep price.

On the other side, 25 million Iraqis now live in freedom. Because we have taken the fight to the terrorists, jihadists from all over the Middle East have flocked to Iraq, rather than having been given the time and security to plan attacks on the American homeland.

Iraq has held free elections – twice. Schools, hospitals and public infrastructure have been built or rebuilt. A legal system has been put into place. A parliament is meeting. As for military progress, Iraqis are conducting more independent operations throughout the country than coalition forces. Some 130 Iraqi battalions are in the fight, with 60 in the lead. And Iraqi units have primary responsibility for more than 30,000 square miles of their country. According to one of America’s top generals, U.S. forces should be able to relinquish 75% of the battle space to the Iraqis by summer’s end. In short, there is reason for encouragement.

Carol Platt Liebau - Senior

Carol Platt Liebau is editorial director and a senior member of tOR and CRO editorial boards. She is an attorney, political analyst and commentator based in San Marino, CA, and has appeared on the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Orange County News Channel, Cox Cable and a variety of radio programs throughout the United States. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Carol Platt Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found at [go to Liebau index]

Still, challenges lie ahead. As the mainstream media repeatedly warns, civil war is always a possibility. Even more ominously, there’s always the chance that the terrorists will be able to pluck victory from the jaws of defeat – not militarily, of course, but through propaganda designed to rob the United States of the will to persevere, disseminated either knowingly or inadvertently by Americans themselves.

Through the course of the war, the behavior of the opposition party has been disheartening. As the performance of Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin on yesterday’s Fox News Sunday emphasized, with few exceptions the Democrats have offered few substantive ideas and no helpful input on Iraq policy. Rather, their strategy has been to wait for problems to arise and mistakes to occur – both inevitably will in the course of fighting a war – and then to attack. So far, that tactic has yielded few fruits for the Democrats; its effect on the war has been even more pernicious, as every irresponsible attack on the President or the war effort only encourages America’s adversaries and emboldens its opponents.

Perhaps, in fairness, the Democrats have been loath to offer advice because their own predictions have proved no more prescient than some of the Administration’s. We hear much about the President’s mistaken assertion that there were WMD’s in Iraq at the time of the invasion. We hear significantly less about the flawed predictions emanating from the other side.

Remember some Democrats objecting to the war on the grounds that it would prompt Saddam Hussein to launch chemical or biological attacks? Or the prediction that the invasion of Baghdad would result in door-to-door fighting that might leave as many as 100,000 dead? Or the assertions that Saddam Hussein would set fire to the oil fields, or that the war would hurt the American economy?

The last three years have indisputably been tough. But the struggle will have been worth it if Iraq can become a stable Middle East democracy – other would-be terrorists in other countries will understand that there is an alternative to the explosive nihilism being peddled by the Islamofascists.

Times like this, three years after the war began, are the times that try men’s souls. The choice before is us clear: We will either stay the course and finish the job, or embolden our Islamofascist enemies by a premature withdrawal and retreat. The choice is ours.

But in the end, completing the job in Iraq to do is the only way for American troops to come home with the honor warranted by both their sacrifices and their courage. -one-


Columnist Carol Platt Liebau is a political analyst, commentator and tOR / CRO editorial director based in San Marino, CA. Ms. Liebau also served as the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review. Her web log can be found at

copyright 2006 Carol Platt Liebau


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