Part of the Left’s hatred for President George W.
Bush has involved a historical blurring of the war in Iraq. The latest case is
the allegation that American troops, when they liberated Baghdad in April 2003,
were not welcome as liberators. This inaccurate appraisal was leveled again on
Tuesday evening by Barack Obama for the second time in consecutive presidential
debates. Both times, Obama criticized John McCain for predicting that Americans
would be greeted as liberators in Iraq.
I cannot confirm whether McCain said that. Either
way, though, the undeniable truth is that we were welcomed as liberators. I
know this very well, because I, like everyone over the age of five, lived
I recall a June 27, 2003 piece by Nicholas Kristof
in The New York Times, titled, “The Man With No Ear.” A few weeks after
the apparent cessation of war, Kristof visited Iraq. Like The Times, he
adamantly opposed the war. Now, he had to come to grips with the undeniable
freedom wrought by the liberation, and the gratitude that Iraqis felt for
George W. Bush. One Iraqi told Kristof: “A thousand thanks to Bush! A thousand
thanks to Bush’s mother for giving birth to him!”
Kristof admitted he did not expect that reaction.
He tracked down a man named Mathem Abid Ali. For deserting the Army, Ali’s ear
was amputated. “Children looked at me, and turned away in horror,” he told
Kristof. But now, at last, Ali was free. He told Kristof: “I’d like to make a
statue in gold of President Bush.”
Kristof admitted that such facts “got in the way”
of his plans for his column. He conceded that it was important that doves like
himself encounter Saddam’s victims and their joy at being liberated by American
troops. Doves “need to grapple with the giddy new freedom that—in spite of us—pullulates
from Baghdad to Basra,” wrote Kristof.
When Iraqis weren’t talking of forging gold
statues to George W. Bush, they were running around the streets literally
praising God for him. Here, too, I could give example after example, but I will
stick with another from the popular press, this from the London Telegraph,
May 21, 2003:
Juad Amir Sayed, an Iraqi
Shiite Muslim, lived in the village of Karada, 90 miles southeast of Baghdad.
At age 24, he had buried all of his books in a flour sack, burned his identity
card, and constructed a tunnel and three-by-five-foot concrete cell under the
family kitchen. He entered that cell on December 2, 1981 and lived there for
the next 22 years.
Juad dug a tiny
three-inch diameter hole deep into the ground from which he sucked water. This
was his well. A smaller peep hole provided a ray of sunlight during the day.
His only company was a Koran and a radio with headphones that he kept tuned to
the Arabic Service of the BBC. His bright moment came near the 20th
anniversary of his confinement when he heard a speech by President Bush on the
September 11 attacks. “Mr. Bush gave a speech in which he said the terrorists
of the world would be hunted down,” recalled Juad. “The next time my mother
brought me food I told her of my conviction that [Saddam] would not last.”
Juad assumed that any
hunt for terrorists would naturally include Saddam Hussein. Fortunately for
him, the American president agreed.
Once American troops
arrived, Juad entered the light of freedom for the first time in over two
decades. “I believe that Allah worked through Mr. Bush to make this happen,”
said Juad. “If I met Mr. Bush, I would say, ‘thank you, thank you, you are a
good human, you returned me from the dead.’”
Those are simply a couple of anecdotes from
newspapers. Has everyone forgotten about the images they saw on their
I spent two hours with about 50 students on the
morning of April 9, 2003 watching CNN coverage of Iraqis and U.S. Marines in
Firdos Square tearing down a statue of Saddam Hussein, which was then
desecrated, spat upon, smacked with shoes, and ridden like a donkey through the
streets of Baghdad. As Howard Fineman wrote in Newsweek, affirming what
no one doubted, it was George W. Bush “who toppled that statue.”
Doesn’t anyone remember this? Are the biases of
liberals so personally crippling that they purge their own memory banks?
Every president has a “finest hour.” For JFK, it
was the Cuban Missile Crisis. For Jimmy Carter, it was Camp David. For George
W. Bush, it was April 9, 2003.
Of course, shame on President Bush and his
administration for not constantly reminding us of this. Certainly, the press
hasn’t bothered. And now, yet again, because of the Bush administration’s
failure to communicate to the larger public, the president’s enraged opponents
have been able to inaccurately portray another highlight from the Iraq war. The
left has been so successful in eviscerating George W. Bush that even this
amazing day of freedom in his presidency has been somehow turned upside down.
The fall of that statue in Baghdad on that day
should be the visual equivalent of the fall of the Berlin Wall for this
president and his presidency. It is not. It is now a negative used by the
Democratic presidential nominee!
Now, all that said, here’s a critical
rest-of-the-story: George W. Bush eventually became unpopular in Iraq, as did
the occupation/reconstruction, especially in the 2005-6 timeframe. No question.
The situation deteriorated. But that’s a different argument. The fact is that
we were indeed greeted as liberators.
Here again, we have another exhibit in the Hall of
Hatred erected to George W. Bush. The left has become so anti-Bush that it
can’t make simple distinctions between fact and fiction. And now, worse of all,
this latest false charge has become a talking point for the left’s presidential
nominee, where, yet again, it is uncontested.