Our Mission in Iraq

by | Nov 26, 2003

Can we finish our mission in Iraq? Or do we need to withdraw? It all depends on what the meaning of the word “mission” is. If our mission was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, then we’re done. If our mission was to remove Saddam Hussein and install an American-friendly government, then we should stay […]

Can we finish our mission in Iraq? Or do we need to withdraw?

It all depends on what the meaning of the word “mission” is.

If our mission was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, then we’re done.

If our mission was to remove Saddam Hussein and install an American-friendly government, then we should stay until this is accomplished.

If our mission is to stay in Iraq until everyone in Iraq is safe, comfortable and happy, then we will be there forever.

Unfortunately President Bush has, at different times, spoken as if each of the three purposes listed above were our mission in Iraq. This suggests that he hasn’t yet made up his mind about what our mission actually is there. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the military are taking the heat for this indecision, because most of President Bush’s critics hate the military and relish the chance to attack the use of American force in self-defense.

We should not lose sight of the fact that the central purpose of the military is to protect Americans from violent thugs. It was clearly in the interest of American safety to get rid of Saddam Hussein. However, it’s not clear–and was never clear–that the Iraqi people are able and willing to install a democratic government based upon the principles of individual rights. Our role should simply be to wish them well and to put them on notice if they fail to install a government respectful of individual rights, we will again topple it in order to protect our safety. We will offer our help if they will take it, and when it suits our interests.

President Bush, in his indecision over this matter, has allowed his enemies–both foreign and domestic–to set the terms of debate according to their own anti-military, anti-American agenda. As a consequence, any future withdrawal of American forces will be touted as a sign of weakness. Consequently, we are now more vulnerable to terrorists despite the fact that we successfully removed one of the world’s most brutal dictators in a matter of weeks.

Don’t blame our floundering in Iraq on lack of military capability or planning. Blame it on a lack of confidence in the fact that the purpose of American force is to protect Americans from violent dangers–nothing more, and nothing less. We did not go to Iraq to save the world or to save the Iraqis. We went to Iraq to remove one of the world’s many remaining dictators from power, for our own sake. This is a mission accomplished and we should take pride in our willingness to protect ourselves from the threat of violent dictators.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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