Hoover Daily Report

Letters: Iraq Represents a U.S. Achievement

via Wall Street Journal
Monday, August 30, 2010

The Wall Street Journal

AUGUST 30, 2010

Iraq Represents a U.S. Achievement

Bret Stephens's "The Twenty Years' War" (Global View, Aug. 24) against Saddam Hussein's Iraq notes the many justifications of the war, such as removing a uniquely aggressive Arab tyrant and discrediting a cult-of-personality style of Arab politics that stemmed from Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser.

One unintended consequence for the U.S. was winning a counterinsurgency against a determined foe. Al-Qaeda declared Iraq the "central front" against the U.S. after the invasion. Not only did al Qaeda lose the conflict, but the U.S. also won one of the most difficult types of warfare. This victory is seldom mentioned but it is significant especially in light of both the mixed results in the Vietnam War and the future insurgencies that we will be engaged in as we combat terrorist-based insurgencies around the world.

Defeating an insurgency ranks high in exorcising the Vietnam syndrome and providing lessons and insights on how to wage war on shadowy insurgents.

Thomas H. Henriksen
The Hoover Institution
Stanford, Calif.