Friday, April 21, 2006

Ten myths about the Iraq War shot down in flames

Read the whole thing here (with many charts and graphics - dial-up users beware!). Summary below:

Test Number One: The Iraq War is not going well because American military casualties are too high.

False: Each fatality is painful and each life precious; however, given the risk in war, a statistical analysis shows that casualties have been low for a major war.

Test Number Two: The Iraq War is not going well because, as a result of creating more terrorists than we are destroying, American civilian casualties are too high.

False: There have been zero civilian casualties in the United States since the Iraq War began.

Test Number Three: The Iraq War is not going well because Iraqi civilian casualties are too high.

False: The Coalition intervention has dramatically decreased the rate of civilian casualties in Iraq.

Test Number Four: The Iraq War is not going well because the U.S. military in particular has destroyed the infrastructure and killed many Iraqi civilians.

False: Over two years of combat since the fall of Baghdad, much of it urban warfare pursuing un-uniformed combatants concealed within the civilian population, with less than 1,000 civilians killed as a result of U.S. action is a spectacular humanitarian record.

Test Number Five: The Iraq War is not going well because it has cost too much money.

False: The War in Iraq has cost 1.875% of GDP, one of the most inexpensive wars in American history. By contrast, the Revolutionary War cost over 476.2% of GDP.

Test Number Six: The Iraq War is not going well because, even it though it has a low cost relative to other wars, it has hurt the U.S. economy.

False: The United States economy, by all conventional measures, is performing extremely well.

Test Number Seven: The Iraq War is not going well because the economy of Iraq has been destroyed and the future is grim.

False: The International Monetary Fund describes Iraq as an increasingly stable economy with deficits "much lower than expected and a bright future." Such a future was impossible under Saddam Hussein.

Test Number Eight: The Iraq War is not going well because the idea of establishing a democracy in the Middle East is unworkable.

False: Within two years, the Iraqi people have written a constitution and held successful elections.

Test Number Nine: The Iraq War is not going well because it has no relationship to the War on Terror.

False: The War on Terror is bigger than Al Qaeda. Since Black September and the Iran hostage crisis in the 1970s, terrorism has been an extreme Islamic cancer that has reacted to Western weakness with increasingly bold attacks (see Buy the Mean Dog). And Al Qaeda also happens to be in Iraq, having declared it the "greatest battle of Islam."

Test Number Ten: The Iraq War is not going well because the "occupation" has been bungled.

False: The post-war period never goes smoothly. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but history teaches that the period following war is as challenging as the war itself…

Conclusion: Anyone who is intellectually honest can see that the Iraq War is going well by historical standards. The risks are great: trying to establish a stable democracy in the Middle East may or may not succeed. But what a bold and compassionate undertaking that, at this stage, deserves the enthusiastic support of the American people.

The individual "tests" above can and will be challenged, but the overall landscape of our success in Iraq cannot be rationally refuted. Consider, for example, these same tests applied to World War II (1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10 could all be answered TRUE) and you will see that the Iraq War does not deserve its calamitous reputation.

Those who will explode in anger at the tests and evidence above – and there will be many – reveal more often than not a hatred of George W. Bush and/or a distrust of American strength. Those people are a lost cause. But reasonable people who have been influenced by a virulent media campaign may be inclined to view this war of liberation in its true light. The soldiers fighting there today hope that you do.


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