Why We Fight
And not vague "seeing it through" types of answers concerned with nation-building as good humanitarians, but with more concrete national security reasons.
First, let's review the "mistakes" of the war. There was a plan for the postwar, namely that certain exiles would quickly take power being welcomed by the people. Events however turned out to make that plan worthless, as the exiles had no clout, so a new plan for the postwar had to be improvised. Also, no large WMD stockpiles were found, which is (incorrectly) given as the only "justification" for the war. These two facts are taken to make the whole effort a "failure."
It turns out, however, that many things happened to work in our favor as a consequence of the war that we even had no idea about -- they were the "unknown unknowns", as Rummy would say.
Some may not wish to give Bush credit for these things, since they weren't foreseen. That's pure politics. We benefit from them -- and hence the war -- nonetheless.
For example, we had no idea about the UN's Oil for Fraud program that was undermining the sanctions and funneling money to weapons, terrorists, and the corruption of Western politicians.
Which the war ended.
We had no idea about Libya's advanced, secret nuclear weapons program.
Which the war ended.
We had no idea about Dr. Khan's vast nuclear black market emanating from Pakistan and supplying Iran, Libya, and North Korea with weapons know-how and parts.
Which the war ended.
And most importantly, we had no idea how threatened the jihadists felt from the prospect of a free, democratic Iraq.
Which the war revealed.
One reason the "insurgency" caught the planners by surprise is nobody appreciated how much the al-Qaeda types as well as the Iranian clerics -- our deadly enemies -- saw the result of the war to be a Very Bad Thing for them.
That's why they're waging it so desperately!
This is a key point.
Being unforeseen, it's taken as a "failure", but the jihad the war encouraged just proves how right the whole enterprise is.
As Tilo Reber mentions at Belmont Club,
Yep, Bush has never understood the threat that democracy poses to Islamofascism. He really did believe that Islam was just another religion and that Al Queda was a small group of radicals. But that is what most people thought. And many still believe this today. Few understood then and few still understand today that Islam would be put in a position of having to fight for it's life on it's home peninsula. The fact that Bush did not understand this puts him in no worse a position than most of humanity. The left still doesn't understand it.Which is why we stay in Iraq for the time being, to mow them down in droves.
Bush himself now says it:
Bush: Terrorists converging on Iraq, US must staySome say we're just "making more terrorists as fast as we kill them." This is wrong.
Bush said foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Syria,Iran, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, and Libya were targeting Iraqi civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks.
There are 3 major elements we're facing in Iraq. The first is the "former regime elements" who are diehard holdouts. They have no future and they're getting what's coming to them. Their numbers are dwindling.
The ones that do seem to be in large supply are the "ali babas" (as the arabs themselves call them) -- a criminal element that doesn't mind taking a few hundred dollars from the terror masters to fire off a few potshot mortar rounds at us. There is a deep well of them, but their creation poses no threat to us outside Iraq's borders, they are not very effective, and local tribal sheikhs will rein them in as the new government takes control.
That leaves the real prize we never expected: the foreign al-Qaeda fighters.
There were upwards of 10,000 jihadists that trained at bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. There could be thousands more than that. Or at least, there WERE that many, until they all started swarming into the meatgrinder of Iraq where we have a free-fire zone and a geared-up military to take them on.
They do this because they know a free Iraq will be mortal blow to their ideology.
So we stay to send them to "paradise" as long as they keep coming.
What, you'd rather they had time to sit around and plan more suicide attacks against our own country?
Because as outlandish as that sounds, that's what they'd otherwise be doing, we now know.
And they aren't easily replaceable; these are trained pros whose lives are devoted to jihad. I'm sure we're encouraging some more who were borderline to take up the call, but it's best we get them out of the woodwork now, and kill them off while they have little experience.
But look at how al-Reuters spins this!
"The stakes in Iraq could not be higher. The brutal violence in Iraq today is a clear sign of the terrorists' determination to stop democracy from taking root in the Middle East," Bush said.What evil liars!
His comments came on a day when dozens of insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked police checkpoints in Baghdad.
More than 1,800 American troops have been killed in Iraq. The Bush administration's initial justification for the war was that Iraq posed a threat because it had stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. None were found.
Bush has increasingly tied staying in Iraq to the need to fight terrorism following the September 11, 2001, attacks. Critics say the administration is trying to shift justification for the war despite lack of evidence linking prewar Iraq and September 11.
For one thing, it is KNOWN Hussein was supporting terrorism in general.
For another, there are several open-source links between Hussein and bin Laden.
That his regime was having cooperation talks with al-Qaeda is not disputed. Why do we have to prove he drew up the plans for 9/11 specifically to take him out as a supporter of our mortal enemy? Did Bush not say "we will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them?"
Did Hussein not harbor arch-terrorist Abu Nidal as well as bin Laden lieutenant Zarqawi before the war?
Did not extant news reports just prior to 9/11 mention the curious fact that German officials arrested several Iraqi intelligence agents for planning attacks on American interests? Whether that was 9/11 itself or a different attack they were planning should be irrelevant.
And -- AND! -- there even ARE growing links between Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers: the Czech intelligence report that Atta met with Iraqi agents in Prague has not been withdrawn, and some of the other 9/11 hijackers are known to have definitely met with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Malaysia.
What more do they want?
How about attempted assassination of Bush the Elder?
How about violating the cease-fire agreement of Gulf War 1 repeatedly?
How about material breach of UN resolutions?
How about still to this day failing to account for tons of WMD the UN inspectors themselves believe was produced?
Not to mention the strategic goals of pressuring Iran and changing the whole dynamic of the Middle East.
That's why we went in.
And to kill al-Qaeda terrorists is why we stay.
And we'll "leave" (which really just means not having responsibility for security; we'll always have a reasonably large presence there, one would hope!) when the Iraqi security forces are trusted enough to have control of their own supplies, transportation, and intelligence, which we haven't given them yet until they have a real government.
This should all be obvious.
It seems like people won't accept these reasons, however, until Bush personally meets with them not once, but twice, to explain it (as Sheehan is demanding), using formal debating rules, with his performance judged by media pundits as to whether he "won" the debate or "made the case".
As if this were some sort of game.