Victory over the naysayers, at home and abroad

By Christopher W. Holton
Monday, May 5, 2003

Standing on the deck of the supercarrier USS Abraham Lincoln last week, President Bush declared an end to "major combat" in Iraq.

After his speech a clearly emotional Bush toured the audience of naval aviators and sailors. Watching him do so, I felt so proud of our president. I used to get this feeling a lot when Ronald Reagan was in office. I have not felt it since--until last night. Ronald Reagan made me feel good about the presidency. He made me realize that we should all be proud of America. Whereas Jimmy Carter made us feel ashamed in so many ways, Reagan made us feel proud. Bill Clinton certainly brought shame to the presidency. Now George W. Bush is bringing the presidency and America back.

In a short time, the US military dispatched one of the world's most brutal regimes of the past quarter century. The naysayers were so sure that it would be a long and brutal war. They were sure that the Iraqis would fiercely defend their homeland against foreign invaders. They were sure that terrorists would strike at us because of the invasion. They were sure Baghdad would be another Stalingrad.

They were wrong on all counts.

After the campaign started and didn't end in thirty minutes for the commerical break, the naysayers started questioning the plan, totally ignoring that fact that our former allies in Turkey took half the plan away from General Franks and Secretary Rumsfeld in the first place. Nevertheless, just as soon as the weasels started squealing, the campaign picked up momentum and Saddam Hussein's brutal regime collapse and Iraqis celebrated its demise.

The naysayers were wrong on all counts.

They've been wrong for a long time in fact.

Take a look at some of the vital equipment that made this campaign possible.

The M-1 Abrams tank once again proved itself the best tank in the world. Twenty years ago, naysayers from places like the Center for Defense Information wanted to scrap the entire Abrams program.

The M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle saved lives and took the fight to the enemy in Iraq. It wasn't long ago that some Hollywood clown made a movie about the Bradley because it was so "bad." Tell that to the soldiers inside who are still with us today despite hits from Russian and Chinese-made RPGs, which literally bounced right off the Bradley's armor.

The B-1B Lancer bomber proved its worth too. It is quite possible that this aircraft delivered the blow that may have in fact sent Saddam Hussein to meet Satan (sorry Saddam, no Allah for you, brother). Jimmy Carter killed the B-1. Luckily for America's fighting men and women, Ronald Reagan rescued the program.

Big aircraft carriers made their presence felt as well, just like they did during the campaign in Afghanistan. For years, their critics have been trying to send them to the scrapyards, but every time we get into a scrap, 4.5 acres of sovereign US territory unfettered by unreliable allies always seems to deal one of the first blows to the enemy.

Then there is the Marine Corps. Many have thought it obsolete and redundant for years. Had George McGovern had his way, there would be no Marine Corps today. Many critics of the Corps claimed that the Marines would not be able to fight an extended campaign deep into enemy territory away from the shoreline. Just like in Afghanistan, the Marines proved them wrong in Iraq. This was the furthest advance inland of any US Marine force in the Corps' history.

And the Marines just might deserve even extra credit for their ability to advance as fast as any unit in the theater. The Marines weren't riding on modern, well-armored Bradleys. They were getting by with 25-year old amtracs never meant to operate in this manner. And then consider that the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Air Assault divisions both, individually, have more helicopters than the entire US Marine Corps.

But the entire US military force performed nothing short of brilliantly in Iraq. There is still work to be done. But don't listen to the naysayers. This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines may in fact be the greatest generation. There is nothing they can't do.

Christopher Holton is the Publisher of and serves on the World Tribune Board of Advisers.

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