Marine Tells Us: Why I Went To Iraq

February 15, 2007

The Reason I Went to Iraq

Jeffrey K. Clifford

September 11, 2001 and the preceding attacks on Americans. The bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beiruit, Pan Am flight over Lockerbie Scottland, the Achille Lauro incident, Iran Hostage Crisis, the Kobar Towers Bombing, USS Cole Attack, the Embassy Bombings in Kenya to name just a few. It angered me to see the footage of people actually rejoicing in the streets in the Arab and Persian world after the 9/11 attacks. It angers me to hear people in that region speak highly of the murderer Osama Bin Laden.

The Arab and Persian regions of the world are the birthplace of the hatred that spawns the terrorist acts perpetrated against the United States. Afghanistan is one of their staging areas and we must fight the threat there as well as Iraq. The persons that attacked us on 9/11 were not from Afghanistan. They were from the middle east. We must fight this war on many fronts to include Iraq and Afghanistan to deter attacks on the U.S.

We know during Desert Storm that Saddam Hussein had large stores of chemical weapons (including Sarin gas a lethal nerve agent) because we found them and destroyed them at Iraqi Army weapons depots like Al Kamisayah. You have heard the outrage from certain leaders in Congress that we did not find weapons of mass destruction during Operation Iraqi Freedom when in fact we did. U.S Forces found a Sarin gas mine. I submit, where there was a Kiloliter there was likely once a Megaliter. Remember the same persons in Congress argued against the President's decision to go in quickly and delayed the attack for months. It is likely that during that period Saddam Hussein, sensing an impending attack spirited many WMD's out of Iraq to his neighbors Syria and Iran. Is it a coincidence that now suddenly Iran has the capability to begin making nuclear bombs? Where did they get that technology? Yes, Saddam went to war with Iran in the 1980's but they share a common enemy and that is the U.S.

Democracies don't foster or breed terrorists or terrorism. When Iraq is stabilized and democratized the totalitarian fundamentalist leaders in the region who sponsor terror will have to use their energy to maintain their power. Democracy is contagious and other countries in the region will ultimately democratize. In the interim their leadership will be so pre-occupied with preserving their power and dealing with the internal rise in democracy in their nations that they will be unable to focus their energies on attacking us through their trained terrorist organizations.

The leader of Alqaeda in Iraq has admitted that the U.S. has killed 4000 of his foreign ie non-Iraqi fighters in Iraq. These are persons who have left their home countries to fight the most well-equipped and well-trained military in the world. These are persons truly devoted to their twisted cause. If even a fraction of them would have come to the U.S if they were not drawn to Iraq then our efforts and sacrifice is worth it. Remember it was only 19 terrorists that killed over 3,000 victims on 9/11. Victim's who just wanted to go to work and provide for their families. Victim's who wanted to live and let live. America is safer because we are in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Djibouti and other areas in the world fighting the war on terror. We may never stop terrorism completely but we can deter it and we are doing that by fighting this war on terror on multiple fronts to include Iraq.

It is ironic that many of the persons in the United States who oppose the war in Iraq are from the left side of the political spectrum. They are the same people who are very vocal in their opposition to intolerance and bigotry against all based on race, creed, religion and gender. Well guess what, the terrorists that we fight are among the most intolerant people on the planet. They are as hateful as any member of the Ku Klux Klan or any other hate group. The terrorists hate Christians, Jews, and Muslims who practice Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance. They believe in the subjugation of women and act on those beliefs. Americans this is our enemy we should not be fighting eachother.

I also want to note that in addition to making America safer our efforts in Iraq will ultimately result in great benefits to the people of Iraq. 2/3's of the population are shiite and were violently oppressed by Saddam Hussein. Saddam also committed genocidal acts against the Kurds in the north and he was oppressive toward his own Sunni population as well. I have sat down and broken bread with many Iraqi's and they want to be free. They want a democracy. They are glad Saddam is gone and many are glad we are there to help them stabilize their country. One Moslem Iraqi Army soldier that I befriended gave me a Christian bible as a parting gift when my time in Fallujah, Iraq was coming to an end. That gesture sends quite a message. That there are many good people in Iraq who wish to tolerate and respect others who are different and wish to work in a cooperative fashion to bring democracy to Iraq. This will make a Iraq a better place and most importantly to me, it will make a America, where my wife and three children as well as my friends and fellow citizens live, a safer place.

I am a United States Marine Corps Infantry veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have lost friends in this fight against evil. I do not want their loss to be in vain. If you really want to support the troops help them win by supporting the war they are fighting.

Semper Fidelis, Jeffrey Clifford




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