THE war in Iraq is officially moving to an end. Six years after Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled, several coalition members have ended their missions in Iraq - including Australia, which pulled out its troops 12 months ago - and the US is preparing to wrap up its military involvement in the country.
Many still ask: Was it worth it?
If we examine the question from an American, British or Australian perspective, then it would be difficult to present an answer that could convince all critics. For the coalition members this was a war of opportunity, not a war of necessity. Going to war or not was never an issue that could affect the existence of a coalition member, nor was winning or losing.
For Iraq and its people however, this war was the beginning of a struggle for rebirth, a very difficult but necessary one, for sure.
People of my generation who were born in democracies may take the freedom they enjoy for granted. This is certainly not the case for me or my people. I was born a decade after the murderous Ba'ath Party grabbed power in Baghdad in the sinister coup of July 1968. To us, the war brought an end to that 35-year-long nightmare and the beginning of an era of freedom, thanks to our friends in the coalition.
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Plus, Michael Totten had his doubts. As he explains below, he was in Baghdad just as Mr Bush's surge strategy was getting underway and he found it very unsettling. So much so that getting away from the city to Anbar Province was a relief. (If any of you know anything about post-liberation Iraq you'll know the significance of that.)
But not now - this excerpt is from Little Green Footballs:
Totten: The Future of Iraq, Part II
Michael J. Totten has posted the second part of his look at The Future of Iraq. A must-read, for the kind of reporting the mainstream media no longer does.