Liberals and mainstream media went nuts a week or so ago on the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, and their comments brought to mind a remark by the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts."
Liberals may be the exception, and in their 10th anniversary recollections, they used their "facts" to suggest that the United States should not have invaded Iraq, that Bush was a war-monger, that the war was a waste of blood and money, and that President Barack Obama is a hero for pulling our troops out of Iraq in December 2011.
Such a clever rewrite of history comes too soon, though. A lot of us were around in 2003, and we remember.
We remember the run-up to the war. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein refused to abide by the cease-fire agreement at the end of the first Gulf war in 1991, he tried to shoot down our planes and he refused time and again to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors.
We also remember that he ignored numerous U.N. Security Council Resolutions, including Resolution 1441 on Aug. 11, 2002. It found Iraq in "material breach" of previous resolutions and gave Saddam a "final opportunity to comply" with his disarmament obligations. Saddam thumbed his nose at the U.N.
Something else to remember: Saddam Hussein was an unpredictable and savage dictator who used imprisonment, torture and assassinations to consolidate and retain power.
In the late 1980s, he used chemical weapons to kill thousands of Iraqi Kurds (civilians), and in the Iran-Iraq War, he used chemical weapons to kill tens of thousands of Iranians on the battlefield.
He grew meaner as time went on, and when his army invaded Kuwait in 1990, his soldiers looted the country and committed atrocities on the civilian population. When his soldiers were forced to retreat, they torched Kuwait's oil fields.
There can be no doubt in anyone's mind that the world is a better place today because Saddam is dead, executed by his own people.
More facts: Saddam and Osama bin Laden shared a bitter hatred of the United States, and at one point, according to the 9/11 Commission, Saddam offered bin Laden "a safe haven" in Iraq. The commission adds, "Bin Laden declined, apparently judging that his circumstances in Afghanistan remained more favorable than the Iraqi alternative." (Page 66 of the 9/11 Commission Report.)
Another fact: Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.
Liberals love to point out that none (almost none) were found during the 2003 invasion, and they jump to the conclusion that all of the talk about WMDs amounted to a Bush administration ruse for war. The liberals are wrong.
Saddam had WMDs - he used chemicals on his own people and the Iranians, remember - and he was refusing to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors. Why not cooperate? Because he still had WMDs, in violation of the 1991 cease-fire agreement.
So what happened to the WMDs? Saddam and the Russians airlifted and trucked them north, into Syria, just before the invasion. Various sources, including an Iranian general who defected, verify the movement of the weapons.
Now for an inconvenient 10th anniversary truth for those who supported President Obama's retreat from Iraq.
Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, asks, "What is there to show for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq 10 years ago? Many are quick to insist that Iraq is better off than it was under Saddam, but that is a low bar, given Saddam's genocide against the Kurds, mass slaughter of Shia who rose up against him, and unspeakable brutality against anyone perceived to challenge his rule.
"Sadly, one cannot say a lot more. Despite the massive military and financial commitment, and the sacrifice of thousands of Iraqi and American lives, the United States left Iraq a weak foundation for democracy."
Thank you, Mister President.
George Moore is a retired journalist. Positions he's held during his 35-year career include newspaper reporter, editor and publisher and executive director of the MontanaNewspaper Association. He and his wife, Marilyn, reside in Randolph County.