Victory in Iraq: It Keeps Going and Going and Going...
Charles Peña, in his latest essay
, lists some of the opportunities when the U.S. could have declared victory in Iraq and handed control of the country back over to the Iraqis:
- In May 2003, after three weeks of military operations, President Bush declared "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" while standing in front of a "mission accomplished" banner aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
- In December 2003, Saddam Hussein -- the former dictator of Iraq -- was captured.
- In October 2004, the Iraq Survey Group reported that there were no stockpiles of WMD in Iraq.
- In January 2005, Iraqis had their first general elections to choose representatives for the interim 275-member Iraqi National Assembly tasked with drafting a constitution.
- In October 2005, the Iraqi constitution was ratified.
- In December 2005, a 275-member Iraqi Council of Representatives was elected -- marking the formation of a permanent, sovereign Iraqi government.
- In June 2006, the most wanted man in Iraq -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and believed to be responsible for most of the suicide bombings in Iraq, as well as the execution of American Nicholas Berg -- was killed.
Yet there is still no sign that we'll be withdrawing troops from the region anytime soon. I guess when victory isn't defined clearly (or at all), it can go on indefinitely, and you never find yourself in the awkward and embarrassing position of having to concede defeat.
Labels: Foreign Policy, War