Lies are told so frequently in today's media/Internet-driven politics that they take on a reality of their own. In the Iraq war, it is impossible not to hear on a daily basis some variation of either "Bush lied" or "it has become a civil war" or "the surge has failed". These falsehoods are stated so routinely by the Left (and covered so dutifully by the media) that they have taken on a certain credibility. Unfortunately, this has been particularly true in the absence of the Bush Administration actively defending its own record on Iraq. Without a compelling counter-argument, lies can become the truths upon which people think, live and -- importantly -- act. I was reminded of this again yesterday as General David Patraeus again took on the Senate Democrats, including Hillary "willing suspension of disbelief" Clinton. Once again, in the face of facts of an improved situation on the ground in Iraq, the Democrats relied on lies and half-truths to discredit both Patraeus and the progress we have made there. It was yet another shameful performance from the liberals in Congress.
In any event, it is time -- once and for all -- to put to rest some of the biggest lies that the Left tells about Iraq:
1) Bush lied us into war. This is the most common lie perpetrated by the opponents of the war. There are reams of evidence -- including a number of bi-partisan reports -- that flatly contradict the assertion that the Bush Administration knowingly fabricated the case on WMD and Iraq in order to justify an invasion. In fact, all of the world's major intelligence agencies -- including those of countries against the war (Germany and France, for example) -- had evidence that showed that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons and was prepared to use them. This is irrefutable. Even the U.N. inspector, Hans Blix, who argued for more time for inspections, said that there were large stockpiles of WMD that remained unaccounted for. In the absence of evidence that Saddam Hussein had destroyed these weapons, it was logical to conclude that he retained a significant WMD capability. The United States went before the UN to enforce resolutions on Iraqi disarmament that had been passed in the wake of this evidence. It was not a U.S. intelligence fabrication. Bush didn't lie us into war -- we went to war because the U.S. believed that Iraq posed a real and present threat to our national security.
2) There was no Iraq-Al Qaeda connection. According to the federally-funded Institute for Defense Analyses, a review of over 600,000 captured Iraqi documents shows a clear link between the regime of Saddam Hussein and Islamic terror groups, including Al Qaeda. The report cites, for example, that "Saddam supported groups that either associated directly with Al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by Osama Bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or that generally shared Al Qaeda's stated goals and objectives." In fact, the report identifies myriad links between Saddam and global terrorism:
"The rise of Islamist fundamentalism in the region gave Saddam the opportunity to make terrorism...not only cost-effective but a formal instrument of state power. Saddam nurtured the capability with an infrastructure supporting (1) his own particular brand of state terrorism against internal and external threats, (2) the state sponsorship of suicide operations, and (3) organizational relationships and "out reach" programs for terrorist groups. Evidence that was uncovered and analyzed attests to the existence of terrorist capability and a willingness to use it until the day Saddam was forced to flee Baghdad by Coalition forces."
3) The Iraq war has not made us safer here at home. This is a lie that defies the obvious fact that we have not been attacked in the United States since 9/11/2001. While the war in Iraq has not been the only reason for this, it has contributed greatly by diverting substantial Al Qaeda resources to the battle against U.S. combat forces in Iraq. Al Qaeda's own leadership has confirmed the vital importance of the battle for Iraq. Iraq (and Afghanistan) is the primary battleground in the war on terror -- and the fact that we have Al Qaeda in our sights there (and on the run) has protected us from further attack here at home.
4) Withdrawing our troops immediately is in our national interest. Nothing could be further from the truth. The premature withdrawal of U.S. forces will leave a failed state in Iraq. It will result both in a humanitarian disaster and will create a vacuum into which Iran and Syria will flow. It will also dramatically embolden our enemies and give Al Qaeda a triumphant victory in their war to destroy the western world. The stakes couldn't be higher -- and our immediate withdrawal will signal that we don't have the stomach to win this very important battle against Islamic extremism.
5) If we leave Iraq, Islamic extremists will leave us alone. This is the kind of idealism that Neville Chamberlain would be proud of. It is also a lie that contradicts the clear statements of both Al Qaeda and related Islamic terrorist groups that are devoted not to a change in American foreign policy, but rather to our total and complete destruction. These groups seek a return to the Dark Ages and the creation of a caliphate that follows strict Islamic law. They've declared war on the United States, Europe and the West -- and our withdrawal from Iraq not only does not change this, but will provide our enemy with an important victory.
If we are going to succeed in this struggle against Islamic fascism it is critical that we not distort either our progress in Iraq or the stakes involved. The lies that are told on the Left are far more pernicious than any supposed lies told before the war began. It is high time that we set the record straight.