3 years in Iraq: what we’ve gained

Def. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld writes a piece for the Washington Post on the three year anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Snippet:

The rationale for a free and democratic Iraq is as compelling today as it was three years ago. A free and stable Iraq will not attack its neighbors, will not conspire with terrorists, will not pay rewards to the families of suicide bombers and will not seek to kill Americans.

Though there are those who will never be convinced that the cause in Iraq is worth the costs, anyone looking realistically at the world today — at the terrorist threat we face — can come to only one conclusion: Now is the time for resolve, not retreat.

Consider that if we retreat now, there is every reason to believe Saddamists and terrorists will fill the vacuum — and the free world might not have the will to face them again. Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis. It would be as great a disgrace as if we had asked the liberated nations of Eastern Europe to return to Soviet domination because it was too hard or too tough or we didn’t have the patience to work with them as they built free countries.

What we need to understand is that the vast majority of the Iraqi people want the coalition to succeed. They want better futures for themselves and their families. They do not want the extremists to win. And they are risking their lives every day to secure their country.

That is well worth remembering on this anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Amen. Many thanks to our fine men and women serving, who have served, and/or who will be serving again. Thoughts and prayers go out to them as well as to the military families who have lost loved ones not just in OIF, but in the global war on terror. Our world is a safer place because of the sacrifices you make. As long as we remain firmly committed to winning this war, the sacrifices made will not be in vain.

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