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U.S. troops need to stay and protect the civilians of Iraq

On May 1, 2003, President George W. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in a Lockheed S-3 Viking, fully adorned in a military flight jacket, to give an impassioned, confident speech, announcing the end of major combat operations in the Iraq war.

A big banner was raised in the background stating “Mission Accomplished” to accentuate this claim as the President was greeted to thunderous applause, a laudation that at the time was almost universally shared by most Americans.

Yet here we are almost three years later.

Our men and women are still fighting in Iraq, the insurgency is showing no signs of slowing down, and outright resolution seems to be nowhere in sight.

Most polls show that around two-thirds of Americans are now supporting immediate troop withdrawal and even some within the Republican base are uttering similar sentiments, turning against their oft-celebrated leader.

Things have just not been going George W. Bush’s way because the situation in Iraq is an absolute mess.

Yet, despite opinion polls and nebulous jargon obfuscating most of the news media’s coverage of the war, there is absolutely no question that we are still doing the right thing in Iraq.

Our efforts are helping to ensure that the world will be a safer place not only for Americans, but also for the Iraqi people.

Yet over the course of the last three years, many Americans have forgotten exactly what is at stake in this war and why it was waged in the first place.

For those of you that fall into this category, let me refresh your memory.

The U.S. was given unanimous authorization to disarm Iraq by United Nations Resolution 1441, which stated explicitly that Iraq had to “Disarm, disclose or face serious consequences.” Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein felt it necessary to give the international community the middle finger as he had done countless times before. So we went in and disarmed him as mandated by the U.N.

We also went into Iraq due to alleged intelligence reports that claimed that Saddam Hussein met with Al-Qaeda and was trying to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

These reports supposedly provided a direct link between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda. Well, last week the White House disclosed a huge stack of pre-war documentation, which confirmed that Saddam Hussein did indeed meet with Al-Qaeda representatives and that he was trying to obtain chemical and biological weapons.

And we cannot forget the numerous accounts of torture chambers, rape rooms, and other forms of abuse that Saddam Hussein inflicted upon the Iraqi people.

Even if none of the above arguments were true, the fact still remains that Iraq is safer now than they were under Saddam and that they deserve the chance to live in a free country.

Yet despite these facts, a plurality of individuals in this country want us to pull our troops out right now and end this war.

This would be a cataclysmic mistake.

If we pull our troops out now, we will leave all of the innocent Iraqi men and women at the whim of the insurgent terrorists that occupy Iraq.

Perhaps worse is the possibility that Iran would occupy the country and establish terrorist training facilities to further its opposition to U.S. policy. Iraq would become a breeding ground for terrorism, effectively allowing the reinvigoration of Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups.

Intelligence experts are now predicting that these events are a very real possibility if we were to pull out of Iraq.

Have we all forgotten about September 11, 2001?

It seems as though many people, in their incredulity on the war have not considered the possible ramifications of pulling out before the job is done. If we cut and run in Iraq, the terrorists will occupy that country, and we will put ourselves in danger of future attacks.

This president understands these stakes and, as such, has decided to determine the proper course of action by watching the activities of our enemies instead of the activities of the latest CBS Poll.

This verisimilitude is the mark of a great leader and I fully believe that years from now, when this conflict is but a distant memory, people will look back on this president and this conflict in a new light, with a deep understanding that we did do the right thing and that the world is a better place as a result.

So whether you agree with the President or not, there is no question that we must finish the job, no matter how long it takes. Believe me, I want our boys to come home, but if we leave now, the terrorists win. Period.

The same terrorists that are blowing up and cutting off the heads of our brave men and women. The same terrorists that murdered thousands of Americans on September 11. The same terrorists that would do it all again if given the chance.

Should we really give them that chance?

Send comments to Dan at [email protected].

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