Is there still violence in Iraq? Certainly. But it is far safer to be a civilian in Iraq today than it is in Mexico. Would we -- and the Iraqi people -- be better off if the incredibly incompetent Obama administration had negotiated a status of forces agreement with Baghdad so U.S. troops could continue to train with and mentor their counterparts? Of course. But the ongoing debate by U.S. politicians and pundits over what could have and should have been done differently or better in the corridors of power in Washington or Baghdad obscures a most important fact. In Iraq, American valor, blood and treasure secured something unique in a part of the world that never has had a freely elected representative government.
Much is being said and written about Iranian intentions, aggression and influence in the region -- and how it can be deterred without U.S. "boots on the ground." American interests in Iraq are now the exclusive purview of Ambassador James Jeffrey and a contractor-supported staff of more than 16,000. Among them, our defense attache, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., head of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq. His agency now oversees the continued training of host nation security forces and the delivery of the more than $13 billion worth of military equipment that Iraq's government is contracted to purchase from the U.S.
None of this is good news for the ayatollahs in Tehran. And none of it would have come to pass but for the force of American arms borne by the best and bravest of this generation.
The parents, siblings, spouses, children and loved ones of the Americans who fell in Iraq and of those who were wounded should be told by the commander in chief that their sacrifice was not in vain. He ought to be the one to say that they fought a long and difficult campaign not for gold or oil or colonial conquest, but to offer others the hope of freedom. In so doing, they made our country safer and reminded us all that freedom is not free. To paraphrase the Apostle Paul in this Christmas season: They fought the good fight. They finished the race. They kept the faith. Thank them for their courage and service. They won.
Oliver North is the Host of “War Stories” on the FOX News Channel. On Sunday, December 18, at 9:00 EST, FOX will air the 100th episode of this award-winning documentary series: “A Tribute to our Heroes Who Served in Iraq.” North is also the founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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