For Installment II in our very occasional “Tale of the Tape” series (click here for Installment I), here’s a quick, down-and-dirty comparison of the two wars to date.
But first, this video really sums all of this up better than I ever could:
Tale of the Tape:
|Name of Operation
|Operation Iraqi Freedom
|Operation Odyssey Dawn (Changed to “Operation Unified Protector” once the original U.S.-led coalition handed off operational control to NATO, another U.S. led coalition)
|Connotation of Name
|Freedom for Iraqis, duh
|OOD: I’m really not sure. Something about an enigmatic sunrise?
OUP: Probably sending the message that this U.S.-led coalition is unified, unlike the U.S.-led coalition that handed the mission off to it. But that’s just a guess.
|Commander in Chief
|George Walker Bush
|Barack Hussein Obama
|Nobody really seems sure, including the President. Perhaps regime change, though the administration has expressly ruled out using our military, already engaged there, for that
|Saddam Hussein’s regime and military forces who remain loyal to him
|Originally, Qaddafi’s Air Force and air defenses. Then, his armor and troops as well. Finally, as of 3/31, those who are fighting against Qaddafi, as well
|Rationale for War
|Iraq’s status as a state sponsor of terror, Saddam Hussein’s history of terrorism and genocide, including use of Weapons of Mass Destruction on his own people
|Preventing a “humanitarian disaster” in another country’s civil war
|Date the President Addressed the American People about the rationale for war and our objectives
|March 19, 2003, from the Oval Office (after a March 17 speech giving Saddam & sons 48 hours to leave Iraq to avert war, after the famous “Axis of Evil” State of the Union speech in which he laid out a case against Iraq)
|Does the off-site March 28 speech which addressed the former but completely ignored the latter count?
|Date offensive operations began
|March 19, 2003
|March 19, 2011
|Initial Phase of War
|“Shock and Awe”
|Establishing a No-Fly Zone and DON’T CALL IT A WAR!
|Size of Coalition
|5 initially; with full NATO involvement, plus the mysterious “Arab Partners” (read: UAE & Qatar), that number becomes 30
|Conventional wisdom on the coalition
|The U.S. is acting unilaterally!
|Utterly brilliant – particularly those “Arab Partners”
|Relevant Congressional Resolutions
|H.J. Res. 114 (passed 296-133 in House; 77-23 in Senate), authorizing President Bush to “use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate”
|None. The U.S. Congress has not yet been consulted about this military action.
|Relevant UN Resolution(s)
|UNSCR 1441, warning of “serious consequences” if regime was not forthcoming about weapons stockpiles; also, 17 previous UN resolutions whose violation the Iraqi regime had flaunted
|UNSCR 1973, which authorized all necessary force to protect civilians in Libya except for the insertion of ground forces
|UN Vote on Key Resolution
|Resolution passed 10-0, only because Russia, China, Germany, India and Brazil abstained from voting
|Other military operations ongoing at the time
|Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan
|Unfinished operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as tsunami relief operations in Japan
|Said “This will not be a campaign of half measures, and we will accept no outcome except victory,” and integrated ground and air campaigns in support of the mission’s objective
|Employed standoff weaponry (air power and TLAMs) and unsupported OGA/SOF personnel. Maintained an express commitment not to insert ground troops nor to bring about regime change militarily
| Involvement of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations
|Al Qaeda fighters streamed into Iraq from outside its borders, where they carried out some successful terrorist attacks before being turned on by Iraqis and demolished by coalition troops
|Interestingly, al Qaeda appears to be on the side we’re helping.
|Method of Bringing About Regime Change
|Combined air, land, and sea-based military invasion
|Dennis Kucinich’s reaction