It was ten years ago this week that the greatest adventure of my life so far began, which was when I landed in Iraq and began to do what I could to make the lives of those around me a bit better. This week, ten years later, has been heartbreaking for me as I have watched the most brutal form of jihad threaten to undo all that was done. If I were not a woman of faith, I think that despair would overtake me. I do know this: it will get worse before it gets better, but I have read the end of the book, and Iraq, and more importantly, the One true God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will win. Next to Israel, Iraq is the second most mentioned nation in the Bible, is the object of some remarkable prophetic promises, and there is a remnant that will not bow. They lived through Saddam’s terror, they lived through Al-Zarqawi’s terror, they lived out in the desert and the mountains waiting for the chance to be free, and I have no doubt they will get through this, though their numbers have already been savagely diminished.
There are several things to consider as to what could have been done differently, regarding Operation Iraqi Freedom, the first being tactical. If I were the one calling the shots, the thing I would have done would have been to have waited before Iraq was returned to the Iraqis in 2004. I do understand that the US did not want to look like conquerors or Crusaders, either to the Iraqis, the Coalition, or to the rest of the world. However, it typically takes about five years for “hearts and minds” to kick in, that is, having the chance to learn a new way, get stable, and grow. Saddam had done so much to cripple even the cognitive development of Iraqis that there would have been much less bloodshed if we hadn’t been in such a hurry to get out of there. On the flip side, announcing to our enemies that we were leaving and letting them know exactly when that would be was just stupid, or perhaps worse. What has happened was exactly what we expected as a result of such a blunder.
The other day, in LuVici’s, of all places, I had the privilege of talking with a man who asked to remain anonymous and who served under General “Stormin’ Norman” Schwartzkopf. He was in Desert Storm and is now retired. We talked at length about Saddam, WMDs, the revival going on behind the scenes as a result of people having dreams and visions of “Isa,” (Arabic for Jesus,) Iraqis and their desire to be free. He corroborated everything I have experienced and have written about. He also knows my husband’s cousin, Sgt Major Laverne Dose, who was involved in handling Saddam right after he was captured.
We talked about the fact that Saddam had the Iraqi Air Force ready to fly through Jordanian air space with planes loaded with chemical weapons bound for Kuwait and Israel, and the Desert Storm Coalition took them out right before they launched the operation. He told me that it was the Germans who sold Saddam the components of a nuclear bomb that were buried in the backyard of an Iraqi official. Saddam only needed a few more parts, and he would have beaten Iran to the nuclear capability punch. We chillingly discussed the sad truth that some who had written about such things were no longer with us, having mysteriously died.
But the most important part of the conversation for me was the fact that, after all that we had respectively experienced, observed and deduced from our time in Iraq, we both still know it was worth it to be there, and that evil will ultimately be obliterated. May we remember to pray for Iraq and Israel as ISIS/ISIL waxes prideful over the shedding of innocent blood and the resurgence of 7th century Islam.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner