On March 31, 2004, 4 American contractors working for the private military contracting company Blackwater, on a mission to resupply Eurest Support Services (ESS), a food catering service, were killed and pulled from their vehicles. Their bodies were beaten, burned, dragged through the streets and finally left hanging from a bridge. This inexcusable barbaric display took place in the city of Fallujah and preceded the first and second battles of Fallujah during which more American lives were lost in an effort to liberate the city from extremists and eventually the country of Iraq from a brutal President, who showed little regard for the lives of his own citizens and threatened stability of the Middle East.
Operation Iraqi Freedom began on March 17, 2003 and the end of major military operations was announced on May 1, 2003. On December 14, 2003, following the December 13 capture of Saddam Hussein, Jen Banbury posted an article about the Iraqi reaction to the capture of Saddam entitled, “God Has Given Us Victory.” The following is an excerpt from that article.
I’m hearing gunfire right now, early Monday morning in Baghdad — loud, echoing bursts of big-daddy automatic weapons, followed by smaller repeating pistol shots trying to keep up. It’s been going on since early afternoon and will likely continue through the night as the celebrations over Saddam Hussein’s capture ebb and flow across the city. All over Baghdad people who hated the dictator are making the biggest noise they can. This day is huge for them — emotional, victorious. Everyone hopes it represents a turning point. An Iraqi man I spoke to this evening said, “It’s the beginning of a new life tomorrow. Wait for a week and see: With the main terrorist gone, the resistance will stop.”
However, following the jubilation came years of rebuilding during which the U.S. invested more lives and money in hopes of stabilizing the country prior to departing. According to icasualties.org, total Iraq coalition military casualties between 2003 and 2012 amounted to 4804, 4486 of which were U.S. military casualties. In addition were the deaths of numerous U.S. private military contractors, most of which were (and are) former U.S. military personnel who chose to continue their service to their country after separating from the military. In mid December, 2011, due partially to conflicts with Iraqi leadership on the intricacies of a status of forces agreement and pressures within the U.S., U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq.
Last Friday (1/3/2013), according to an article published in the Washington Post, extremist militant forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) recaptured the city of Fallujah and, according to the same article, ISIS’s influence is growing.
For some reason U.S. citizens and diplomats unfamiliar with Middle Eastern culture refuse to understand that we have taken every opportunity to project weakness to the region rather than strength, which is the only thing that will be understood. I am not suggesting that we risk any more U.S. lives or spend another dime on Iraq (or Afghanistan). What we should have done in Iraq and what we should do in Afghanistan is present a final status of forces agreement for the existing government ratify. If they do not accept the agreement, after all the blood we have shed and money we have spent attempting to lift them out of the dark ages and make them a free and contributing member of the 21st century world, we leave. But, we leave them with this message…
Dear President So and So,
The previous government of your country became a threat to the world and the world responded. We have returned your country to you and have invested lives and wealth to stabilize your new nation, train your government to lead, and your military to defend. We have made an offer to extend this mentoring, which you have rejected. You, most likely due to immaturity, believe you are ready to take on the challenges of the modern world on your own. You are most likely wrong, but we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
However, know that should your country become a threat again, regardless of your level of personal support, we will hold you among those responsible. Our difficult decision will only be whether you live to see us roll through your county with so much force of violence as to guarantee that it will never be a thereat again, or if you die first.
And, a personal note to U.S. leadership…
Dear person or persons representing the failure of universal suffrage;
Anyone who has practiced withdrawal understands that you pull out as soon as the feeling is right. To linger longer could have unintended lasting effects.
The Educated Public
Note: We will see this again in Afghanistan.
Thanks for stopping by.
Sunday, January 4, 2014