Tag Archives: Iraq war

With Little Fanfare, The Iraq War Ends

Photograph: Ali Al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images

Today, with just a simple ceremony conducted at Baghdad airport, marked the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Defense Secretary Panetta spoke at the ceremony praising the sacrifices made by the men and women of the armed forces.

“No words, no ceremony, can provide full tribute to the sacrifices that have brought this day to pass,” Panetta told the troops. “To be sure the cost was high — in blood and treasure for the United States, and for the Iraqi people. Those lives were not lost in vain. They gave birth to an independent, free and sovereign Iraq.”  Approximately 1.5 million Americans had served in Iraq. Nearly 4,500 had died and 30,000 had been wounded.

“You will leave with great pride — lasting pride,” Panetta said. “Secure in knowing that your sacrifice has helped the Iraqi people to begin a new chapter in history.”

Yesterday in a ceremony at Fort Bragg the President welcomed soldiers returning from Iraq. It was to mark the end of the war in Iraq fulfilling a campaign promise he made in 2008.  He  praised the the soldiers telling them they were “the finest fighting force in the history of the world“.

Even as the U.S. military continues to leave Iraq there are those in Washington who are not convinced that Iraq has the ability to sustain itself and fight of what some consider the inevitable influence from Iran. Many also fear the country could plunge back into sectarian violence.

Senator John McCain criticized Obama, taking note that he opposed the surge which was a major factor in controlling the violence in Iraq. He stated it was “a bit presumptuous” for Mr Obama to take credit for the conflict and referred to the President’s visit to Fort Bragg as his “victory lap“.

Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq told CNN that he was “shocked” to hear U.S. President Barack Obama greet al-Maliki at the White House on Monday as “the elected leader of a sovereign, self-reliant and democratic Iraq.” He said Washington is leaving Iraq “with a dictator” who has ignored a power-sharing agreement, kept control of the country’s security forces and rounded up hundreds of people in recent weeks.

 “America left Iraq with almost no infrastructure. The political process is going in a very wrong direction, going toward a dictatorship,” he said. “People are not going to accept that, and most likely they are going to ask for the division of the country. And this is going to be a disaster. Dividing the country isn’t going to be smooth, because dividing the country is going to be a war before that and a war after that.”

Book Review: "9 Miracles- One Mother's Amazing Journey Home After Seeing Her Son Off To War"" By Leigh Watson

Yesterday, my family and I made a trip to our local Family Christian Bookstore. We had actually gone last weekend, but the store closed just moments before we got there. We were a bit frustrated, but decided we would try again this weekend. It’s just too hectic during the week for luxuries like the bookstore.

As we walked in the door, we were greeted by a lady sitting at a table. She introduced herself as Leigh Watson, and told us she was a local author who was there for a book signing. She gave us an overview of what her book was about, and my mind began to whirl!

She had me from the moment she opened her mouth. I could see by the cover of the book that it was about our military. She confirmed this fact within the first few words she spoke, telling us that it was about her journey of seeing her son off  when he went to Iraq in the war. She said “9 Miracles- One Mother’s Amazing Journey Home After Seeing Her Son Off To War” was not about her sons journey, but her journey, and the miracles that happened to her.

I told her we would take a book, and she addressed it to our family. After a few more minutes of pleasantries, we thanked her, and went on our way to do our shopping.

Author Leigh Watson

Just a few moments later, I told my husband to watch the kids for a minute, I would be right back. I just had to talk to Leigh again! I had so many questions! I could not even concentrate on my own shopping, because I was so intrigued by her story. I honestly do not remember all that we talked about, but I remember distinctly that she told me the book itself was a miracle, because she never wrote anything down- not even a shopping list!  We visited for several more minutes, and once again, I went on my way, rejoining my family.

We finished our shopping, and went to check out. As we were waiting in the check out line, my children began talking to her. She gave each of my children a bookmark, which of course thrilled them to the gills!

We made our purchase, said our good-byes to Leigh, and headed out the door.

Right next to Family Christian Bookstore is Home Depot. We had to run in to pick up a few items there as well, so as I was driving across the parking lot, I asked my husband if he wanted to just run in and get the few items we needed, and I would stay in the car with the kids. He was agreeable to that arrangement, to my delight!

As he ran in to do our shopping, I opened my book and began to read.

The synopsis, as written on the back of the book, is as follows:

When Leigh’s husband is unable to accompany her to see their Air Force son, Luke, off to Iraq, Leigh mentally prepares herself to make the trip alone, knowing she will have to be strong for Luke’s sake.

Along the way, she encounters extraordinary people and incredible circumstances that could only be defined as heaven-sent. Rejoice, how as one exits- another appears, carrying her on the wings of mercy all the way home.

I finished the first chapter just as my husband was getting back into the car. Leigh had already brought tears to my eyes- in the very first chapter!

The rest of the day was quite busy, so I did not have the opportunity to sit down to read anymore for the day.

This morning, I woke up at 7:30 am and picked up my book. By 8:10 am, I had completed the book. I needed this book at this time in my life more than Leigh could have known!  More importantly, God knew I needed this book! If the store had not been closed last weekend, we would have completed our shopping then, and would not have been back this weekend. In fact, as I told Leigh, this was only the second time we had come to this store, preferring instead to shop online. God had other plans for me this time. He knew that this book was something that I needed. He knew that I needed to meet Leigh. And He knew this is a book I probably would not have chosen to buy, had I not met the author personally.

While I know that God Is God- He is real, He is with me every second of every minute of every day- sometimes I tend to forget that He is concerned with even the tiniest details of my life. Just as He was with Leigh at one of the saddest points in her life, He reminded me that every day He is with me, just as He was with her that day! He has used “9 Miracles” to speak to my heart. He has reminded me that all the things I have been preoccupied with recently should be handed over to Him.

Rather than sitting around wringing my hands, worrying about my children, the choices they are making, the choices they will make in the future, I need to focus on raising my children in a Godly home and let God do the rest. Yes, without a doubt we are going to have our rough times. Yes, we are going to have our tribulations. But as the new Newsboys song says,

“You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There may be pain in the night
But joy comes in the morning
And when the oceans rage
I don’t have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails”

His love never fails. The trials I am facing right now are painful, but indeed, joy will come in the morning, because His love never fails! “9 Miracles” is proof of that fact! Without a doubt in my mind, Leigh’s story is proof that God cares for us more than we can ever know. Her journey was, indeed, an amazing one!

One thing that sticks out in my mind from my conversation with Leigh was the fact that she said she was not a writer. She told me, and she writes in the book, that the entire book was written in two sittings. This just amazed me! God was definitely in the writing of His “9 Miracles”!

If you are someone who likes to tear apart the sentence structure of a book, disect the technical side of things, and critique the literary experience, this is not the book for you. While it may never be a “literary masterpiece” to the scholars of the world, the Master of the Universe doesn’t need all that.  Leigh Watson is most definitely the instrument in the hands of The Master who loves His children. If, however, you are just an ordinary person who believes in miracles, this is a book you must read! And if you are someone who does not believe in miracles, I challenge you to read it anyway! Maybe… just maybe, God will speak to you as well! And if you dare to allow Him, He will work miracles in your life. You simply have to believe, and place your trust in Him.

I literally read the book from beginning to end in less than 45 minutes. It was as if I was sitting there with Leigh, over a cup of coffee, with her telling me the story in person. I teared up more times than I can remember, and actually cried a couple of times, out of just pure amazement at my God’s love and mercy!  I know that He loves His children- there is no doubt in my mind of this! However, to read the specifics of how He lovingly took care of Leigh shows me that yes, He may have created heaven and earth, and everything that is, but He still loves every single one of His children as if we were the only one in the world!

My older three children had asked if they could read the book. After I finished the book this morning, I called them into my bedroom and they all piled into the bed. I told them that rather than each of them reading the book, I would read it to all of them, so even the younger two children could hear the story of God’s miracles. We finished half of the book this morning, and will most definitely finish it tomorrow.

If you would like to read a book that is very easy to read and very inspiring, you will want to read this book! In Leigh’s words, “Everyone needs 9 miracles!”

Order the book “9 Miracles- One Mother’s Amazing Journey Home After Seeing Her Son Off To War”

 

U.S. Kicked Out Of Iraq


Now the truth about Obama’s Friday (October 21, 2011) announcement about the Iraq war ending is beginning to come out. President Barack H. Obama announced that “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” that troops would be coming home by year’s end. That is, IMHO, a serious strategic blunder. But Obama did not ask for my opinion, so U.S. troops will be leaving iraq. The primary effect of the announcement is to end any chance of a substantial U.S. troop presence in Iraq after the end of the year. It was an acknowledgment that Iraqis had refused to agree to a key U.S. condition for remaining American troops: immunity from Iraqi law, that any U.S. military forces to stay would have to be shielded from prosecution or lawsuits, that precipitated the announcement.

Nouri al-Maliki said, “When the Americans asked for immunity, the Iraqi side answered that it was not possible, The discussions over the number of trainers and the place of training stopped. Now that the issue of immunity was decided and that no immunity to be given, the withdrawal has started.” While it is true that some U.S. troops commit offenses, the vast majority do not. The hubris of Iraq and its people after the Hussein regime is breathtaking. After 4,478 killed and 33,169 wounded U.S. troops, not to mention the ouster of Hussein and his two sons, Iraq wants to provide its own security. And with Iran next door. Well, GOOD LUCK!

But back to Obama’s announcement. Richard Butrick at AmericanThinker states, “Prime Minister Maliki gives Obama the boot as White House spin meisters gin up face-saving rhetoric for Obama to recite. Obama then peddles their pablum about achieving ‘normalcy’ in relations with Iraq….” Says Obama, “”The end of war in Iraq reflects a larger transition.” “The tide of war is receding.” “On Jan. 1 [2012], the United States and Iraq will have a “normal relationship between sovereign nations, an equal partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect.” And we hear more from Senator John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee: “The United States is fulfilling our agreement with an Iraqi government that wants to shape its own future.”

I must agree with Mr. Butrick, that Obama’s war ending announcement is just so Obama can save face.

But that’s just my opinion.

Sen. Marco Rubio on U.S. Troop Withdrawal From Iraq

President Obama recently announced that all U.S. Troops will be coming home from Iraq in time for Christmas this year. What a wonderful holiday gift for the thousands of families and loved ones who have endured the hardships of having a relative/spouse/mother/father/ brother/sister facing the perils of war in Iraq. In President Obama’s statement about the troops coming home from Iraq, he said:

“I can report that, as promised, the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year,” Obama said. “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over.”

As many have reported, President Obama did not, however state the actual reason for the troops coming home and instead chose to promote this as a “promise kept.”  The real reason for the complete troop withdrawal is found in the fact that the Iraqi interim government refused to allow thousands of U.S troops to remain in Iraq beyond 2011 during intense negotiations over a period of several months. There is another fact that the President “forgot to mention” and that is the fact that all troops were mandated to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011 in the original agreement struck between the two countries under President G.W. Bush back in 2008. The Iraqi interim government decided to abide with that agreement instead of  allowing several thousand U.S. troops to remain in Iraq, as requested by the Obama administration.   Does anyone remember that, back in August of 2010,  President Obama made the following statement?

Over the next two months our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home,” Obama said. “The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.”  That statement was made  well over a year ago.

Senator Marco Rubio replied to the President’s speech in a strongly worded fact-filled statement:

 

Marco Rubio released a statement following President Obama’s announcement that all U.S. troops would be withdrawn from Iraq by the year’s end. Read an excerpt below and the full statement here .

 

The surge in Iraq ordered by President Bush and implemented by General David Petraeus, which began in 2007 over the objections of nearly every elected Democrat including then-Senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, brought security and stability to Iraq.  This success enabled the Iraqi government to focus on training and equipping their own forces so that they could take the lead in providing the security for their own country.  The competence, bravery and sacrifices made on the part of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces working with their Iraqi partners have enabled this transition.”

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton and nearly every other Democrat in Congress in 2007, during the debate about the surge in Iraq ordered by the President of the United States at the time, G.W. Bush… now want to somehow take credit for it’s success and the G.W. Bush-signed complete U.S. troop withdrawal agreement from Iraq that is now currently under way. This should be celebrated as a victory for the Iraqi people, and a joyous time for family reunions for the people who will see their loved ones finally home safe and sound, not a political reelection tool.

Welcome home to our brave troops and we are sincerely grateful to their families and loved ones! We thank you for your loyal service and dedication to America.

 

 

 

President Announces Troop Withdrawal in Iraq

The President of the United States announced today from the press briefing room, that all American fighting forces will be out of Iraq by December 31, 2011.  “After nine years, the US war in Iraq will be over”, President Obama stated and then hurried off the stage, taking no questions from the press.  This marks a truly definitive date of withdrawal for the troops in Iraq, which was a controversial promise he made during the campaign of 2008.

 

Many in the State and Defense departments wanted to extended the presence of troops (albeit a small amount) into the next year, but insisted that they continue to enjoy immunity from prosecution in Iraq.  This was rejected by the Iraqi government and Prime Minister al-Maliqi.

 

The announcing of the timetable for withdrawal raises questions of whether the Iraqi military and police forces are fully prepared to defend the fledgling freedom again Al-Qaeda and other insurrectionist groups.  Anti-democratic forces are likely to take advantage of the deadline to launch a new offensive in the country.  Only time will see if Iraq is ready to stand on its own two feet.