Victory in Iraq Day

November 22, 2008

We won. The Iraq War is over.

I declare November 22, 2008 to be "Victory in Iraq Day." (Hereafter known as "VI Day.")

By every measure, The United States and coalition forces have conclusively defeated all enemies in Iraq, pacified the country, deposed the previous regime, successfully helped to establish a new functioning democratic government, and suppressed any lingering insurgencies. The war has come to an end. And we won.

What more indication do you need? An announcement from the outgoing Bush administration? It's not gonna happen. An announcement from the incoming Obama administration? That's really not gonna happen. A declaration of victory by the media? Please. Don't make me laugh. A concession of surrender by what few remaining insurgents remain in hiding? Forget about it.

The moment has come to acknowledge the obvious. To overtly declare a fact that has already been true for quite some time now. Let me repeat:
And since there will never be a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue in New York for our troops, it's up to us, the people, to arrange a virtual ticker-tape parade. An online victory celebration.

Saturday, November 22, 2008 is the day of that celebration: Victory in Iraq Day.

What do you need to do to participate? Simple. Just make a post on your blog announcing that the war is over, and declaring Saturday, November 22 to be Victory in Iraq Day. That's it.

If you want to write a short post (or a long essay) analyzing the nature of our victory or cheering the troops for a job well done, great; but if you just want to make a simple announcement of the victory, that's fine as well. Anything will do. Just come and join the celebration to mark the day.

Keep reading below to find: evidence that the war is over (for the doubters); an historical discussion of previous postwar occupations and guerrilla violence; a list of blogs which have already joined the VI Day movement; free banners and graphics for you to download and put on your blog, if you so choose; and an invitation to submit your own "victory graphics" for posting here.

(If you would like to comment on VI Day, you can do so here.)

Observations and statistics agree: The fighting has ceased, the war is over

I have felt for many months that we had already won the war, but I was spurred to action by this report from Michael Yon:
"THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON:" Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. "There's nothing going on. I'm with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I'm with haven't fired their weapons on this tour and they've been here eight months. And the place we're at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there's nothing going on. I've been walking my feet off and haven't seen anything."
This email giving a first-hand account from Baghdad was posted on November 17 at Confederate Yankeee:
Just touched down 3 +/- hours ago at Sather AB [in Baghdad]. Dude... INSANELY changed doesn't begin to describe this place. I've land[ed] in Baghdad under fire before and watched random acts of anti-aircraft fire overhead as the locals would try and unsuccessfully utilize old triple a flak guns... I've seen Baghdad under lock and key so to speak throughout 04 and 05. NUTHIN and I do mean NUTHIN can begin to describe the change. Quick observations included the fact that the city was all lit up where it had never been before. Try standing on the runway and not having to worry about random acts of rockets, mortars and suchlike. Try no body armor seen on anyone anywhere since I've been here... This place is so laid back its stupid dude... I'll post more to you and my blog later... but as Yon said "We Won." I'd have to add "In Spades!" to that.
This post at the Mudville Gazette confirmed my conclusions.

On the political front in Iraq, victory has broken out as well. On Sunday, November 16, Iraq's cabinet approved a security agreement with the U.S. which top analysts and pundits are saying is the closest we'll ever get to a bureaucratic declaration of victory and of the war's end. Hugh Hewitt, for example, says:
The Battle For Iraq Has Been Won. Will The President-elect Preserve The Victory?

Yesterday's vote by the Iraqi cabinet to approve a status of forces agreement confirms what most reasonable people had concluded this summer --that the battle for Iraq is over and the country is stable and secure even though its enemies remain in small enclaves within the country and across the border in Iran. It has taken five years and come at a high cost in American lives lost and in thousands of wounded soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

It is, however, a crucial victory in the war against Islamist extremism and for stability in the Middle East.
The News & Observer newspaper came to the same conclusion three months ago, and many of the points are still valid:
Somebody has to write this. The United States has won the war in Iraq.

I'm compelled to proclaim victory because, these days, winning wars has become politically incorrect in Western societies. So much so that some political leaders opposed to the war refuse to recognize the definition of victory or to utter the word.

More than five years after the invasion, I still come across people who say they don't know what victory in Iraq means. That's on purpose. Feigning ignorance allows them to deny the obvious political and military progress that has been made and continues to be made each day.

The truth is, President Bush has been consistent in defining victory. Bottom line, it's leaving behind a functional and democratic Iraq capable of defending itself from internal and external threats. Iraq is on an irreversible path to meeting those goals.


There is no doubt that much work needs to be done in Iraq, particularly in political and cultural reconciliation. But for all the moaning about Parliament's failure to reach political benchmarks, Iraqis have achieved more political unity in their country than our Congress has in ours. A peaceful and stable Iraq is no longer in question. It's only a matter of time.

So the next time I come across an Iraqi War veteran, I'll not only thank him or her for their sacrifice in defending my freedom, I'll also offer congratulations for winning a war.
The full article (see the link) outlines many convincing facts about the state of victory in Iraq. The only thing missing is announcing the date of the war's end. Which this post rectifies.

UPDATE: A month after the fact, the Washington Post finally woke up to reality and themselves announced at the beginning of January, 2009 that the Iraq War is over, though in typical mainstream media style, they still insist it is not a "victory" and that our overwhelming success had no "legitimacy":
The War, in a Sense, Is Over. But a New Struggle Begins As Citizens Ask the Inevitable Question: What Next?

BAGHDAD -- Maybe it was the only shot heard for days in a neighborhood once ordered by the cadence of gunfire. Perhaps it was the smiles at checkpoints and the shouts of Iraqi policemen navigating the always snarled traffic. "God's mercy on your parents," they beseeched. "God's blessings on you." Maybe it was the music box still playing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" at a kiosk overflowing with Christmas tree decorations and heart-shaped red pillows.

For anyone returning to Baghdad after spending time here during its darkest days two years ago, when it was paralyzed by sectarian hatred and overrun by gunmen sowing despair, the conclusion seemed inescapable.

"The war has ended," said Heidar al-Abboudi, a street merchant.

The war in Iraq is indeed over, at least the conflict as it was understood during its first five years: insurgency, communal cleansing, gangland turf battles and an anarchic, often futile quest to survive. In other words, civil war -- though civil war was always too tidy a term for it. The entropy, for now at least, has run its course. So have many of the forces the United States so dangerously unleashed with its 2003 invasion, turning Iraq into an atomized, fractured land seized by a paroxysm of brutality. In that Iraq, the Americans were the final arbiter and, as a result, deprived anything they left behind of legitimacy.

Not to say that there is peace in Iraq. As many people are killed today as on any day in 2003 and
2004. [Note: This statistic is patently untrue -- see below.] Nor is there victory.

If you don't want to rely on anecdotal evidence or political analysis, carefully study the official casualty statistics for U.S. troops in Iraq (see the chart to the right) and you will notice that they have reached extremely low levels, so low that they no longer even come close to rising to the level of "war". Also note that the totals on this chart include all military fatalities, including accidents and "out of theater" deaths. Of the 14 reported deaths in October, for example, only 7 were actually incurred in combat. So the totals you see here, as low as they are, still far overstate the very few fatalities from action in Iraq. It is now more dangerous to walk the streets of most major American cities than it is to be stationed in Iraq. For example, Chicago, just a single city in the United States, all by itself experienced twice as many shootings and killings of Americans as did the entire nation of Iraq over recent months:
125 Shot Dead In Chicago Over Summer
Total Is About Double The U.S. Troop Death Toll In Iraq

CHICAGO (CBS) -- An estimated 125 people were shot and killed over the summer. That's nearly double the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq over the same time period.
What more need be said? Of course every death and injury of a U.S. soldier is a tragedy and I would wish to see a long string of zeros on that chart over the upcoming months. But being stationed in a nation and a region that has a long history of hostility to the U.S. and an equally long history of violence means that our troops will always face some danger there. Yet "danger" does not equal "war." Whatever lingering violence still exists is Iraq is now nothing more than a series of disconnected terrorist attacks, which have become completely ineffectual in changing the hearts and minds of the populace, or re-igniting another civil war.

[Update: As of March 3, 2009, if you click on the same official casualty statistics link as above, in the subsequent three months, the number of casualties in Iraq remained at extremely low bare-minimum levels, conclusively confirming that this "trend" is now a permanent state of affairs.]

Columnist Ed Morrissey on November 19 points to another kind of benchmark which indicates the war's end: the fact that the Iraqi government in now engaging in infrastructure building projects that would only be possibly in peacetime:
Victory in Iraq: The Baghdad Metro

Eighteen months ago, the capital of Iraq worried more about whether it would survive than traffic control. Now that victory over terrorism and sectarian violence has all but arrived, Baghdad has big plans for its future.
Iraq needs to fix its sewer and electrical services before attempting anything on this scale, but the plan demonstrates an optimism about the future that has erupted in its capital. They're already planning a traditional surface-level commuter train to help alleviate car traffic, which has grown overnight into a major headache. Roads and bridges closed due to violence have reopened, and people are once again on the move as Baghdad returns to life.
Representative governments have to deliver on their promises. That accounts for at least part of the optimism seen in Iraq, and for the sudden outbreak of big dreaming by Iraqis. They have their future in their own hands for the first time in decades, and the sudden liberation has fueled their imaginations. This, indeed, is what victory looks like.
Who gets to decide when it's over?

Indeed, everywhere you look, someone has highlighted yet another detail which, cumulatively, demonstrate that "peace has broken out all over" Iraq.

Each person has their own criteria as to when the war was won: Some say we won the war long ago when we defeated the Iraqi Army in three weeks. Some say we won when the Iraqi government tried and executed Saddam Hussein. Some say we won when Iraqis voted democratically to elect their own leaders. Some say we won when we established control over the entirety of the country last year, eliminating the last remaining insurgent strongholds. Some say we won six months ago when the last remaining organized resistance evaporated.

On the other hand, there are those who are saying (in response to this essay) that we have not reached that magical benchmark. The Iraqi parliament may have passed the security agreement solidifying Iraq's post-war stability, but some people say we should wait until the U.S. Senate approves it before we declare victory. Others say that the war won't be won until casualty levels literally drop to zero. Other say we haven't won until all troops are gone from the country. Others wait in vain for an official announcement.

There is no consensus. And there never will be. Still, the cut-off point between "war" and "not war" has to be drawn somewhere, and if we don't draw the line ourselves, I guarantee it will NEVER be drawn. Because the Left and the media want to make sure that even ten years from now, when perhaps one US soldier is killed per year in an otherwise completely stable Iraq, that still won't qualify as "victory." Because their overarching goal is to to make sure that the war goes down in history as a defeat, no matter what.

My opinion is: This is as good a time to declare victory as we're ever going to get. All signs point to "Yes." If you don't agree, that's perfectly fine, you can ignore this essay. But if you think this is long overdue, then climb on board.

If we won, why are there troops still in Iraq?

Does our victory mean that I advocate the immediate withdrawal of all troops from Iraq? No. Wars may be won but postwar occupations generally don't end crisply and cleanly like that. Troops often stay around to rebuild or to maintain the peace for years, even decades. Hell, the United States still has several military bases and many troops "occupying" Japan and Germany who have been there continuously since the end of World War II in 1945. We have two major Air Bases in Korea leftover from the Korean War. The Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba is a remnant of the Spanish-American War and has been there for over a century; the U.S. military also "occupied" the Philippines at Subic Bay for nearly a hundred years as a result of the Spanish-American War. More recently we continue to have a presence in Bosnia at Tuzla Air Base as a consequence of our role in the Bosnian War of the 1990s. What all this means is that it is standard practice in the aftermath of nearly every overseas war in which the U.S. participates for us to keep some troops there on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

Do I advocate that the domestic government of Iraq continue to assume more and more of a role in its own defense and internal security? Most definitely yes. Do I wish to see U.S. troops going on fewer and fewer patrols and handing over more and more duties to the Iraqi army as time goes by? Yes. Do I wish that there would never be another suicide bombing in Iraq by demented jihadists seeking futilely to destabilize the country? Of course. Do I wish that there would never be another act of violence in Iraq? Naturally. But these things take time. So, even though the war is over, American troops are likely to stay on the ground in Iraqi bases in some capacity for quite some time -- months, years, possibly even decades if circumstances warrant.

But yes, eventually many troops will have to start coming home one way or the other. I am not opposed to an incremental "drawdown" of forces as responsibilities diminish -- which has already started to happen under the Bush administration and will likely continue under an Obama administration. What I do oppose is a reckless immediate evacuation of all American troops in Iraq as some sort of political "reward" from Obama to his antiwar supporters. That would send the wrong message to Islamic extremists around the world that the Americans were somehow "driven from Iraq," which would not actually be the case. Even if we did leave Iraq entirely, it would be in victory, not as a retreat.

Since our troops did in fact win the war, they ought to have a victory parade or national celebration upon returning. But I suspect that, as has been happening up until now, the troops will just drift home mostly unannounced and uncelebrated when their "tours" are over. Which is the very reason why we need to declare a Victory in Iraq Day.

If the Iraq War is over, why do we still occasionally hear reports of violence or casualties?

A common misperception of warfare is that when a war is "won," all fighting immediately stops, and that all members of the losing side passively lay down their arms and surrender. While that does happen on occasion, much more frequently the fighting continues as a low-level guerrilla war or insurgency for years afterwards by the diminishing die-hard loyalists of the losing side. Even wars with crushing conclusive victories and official declarations of surrender saw continued fighting long after those wars were officially "over." After World War II, which was won as conclusively as any war was ever won, some Germans refused to acknowledge defeat and continued to operate as guerrilla assassins and saboteurs. Anti-Semitic massacres in Europe continued into 1946 long after the Nazis had been defeated. In the Pacific Theater, Japanese "holdouts" on various islands kept up their battle posts against the Americans for years and years after Japan surrendered, some well into the 1970s. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, several pro-slavery guerrilla terrorist organizations and groups of individuals continued fighting against the Union for more than a decade. The same is true of many other wars. It especially happens in modern "police actions" (such as the Iraq War) which have no actual formal "Declaration of War" and thus no official moment of surrender or ending point. (Remember that the United States has not actually declared war on anyone since 1942.)

So, just because there are still occasional suicide bombings (which are becoming rarer and rarer with every passing month) and occasional sniper attacks or IED explosions (also becoming increasingly rare), that doesn't indicate that "the war is still being fought." It just means that there are a handful of die-hard extremists who refuse to give up -- which is exactly what happens after most wars. The last remaining pro-Saddam, pro-jihad or pro-Iran holdouts in Iraq are no different than any other post-war holdouts, and just because there are still a few left doesn't mean that the war is still happening, any more than the existence of the Japanese holdouts meant that WWII continued after 1945. Wars end, whether or not every single extremist or die-hard acknowledges it and lays down his weapons.

What counts as "being at war"?

Many other countries have ongoing issues with rebels, insurgents, guerrillas, or whatever you want to call them; simmering civil unrest. But we do not consider those countries to be at war, even though their situations are not really any different than, and are in some cases even worse than, the situation now in Iraq. Tell me: Do you consider Mexico to be at war? Yet they have an ongoing insurgency by Zapatistas in the state of Chiapas. The Philippines? They've been grappling with an Islamic insurgency for decades. Is Thailand at war? Millions of tourists don't seem to think so, but a violent rebellion by Muslim separatists in the southern provinces sometimes produces more casualties than there are in Iraq. India? They're not at war -- are they? Turkey, Sri Lanka, Colombia: The list could go on and on. In each case, the country in question is not considered to be "at war," yet it endures simmering insurgencies and/or terrorist violence that in some cases exceeds that now found in Iraq. If these countries are not considered by anyone to be "at war" -- which they are not -- then neither is Iraq.

But where's the official announcement?

The only reason that the war has not been declared "over" is that the media, which was generally opposed to the war and opposed to any of President Bush's policies, doesn't want to give him and his supporters the satisfaction of having been right. The media wants U.S. troops to return home, but only on condition that they do so with their tails between their legs in defeat -- not as victorious liberators, which would invalidate five years of subtle and not-so-subtle anti-war propaganda on the part of the left-leaning media. The Bush administration for its part has not declared victory for two probable reasons: first, because they fear that by so doing they would only increase the call by the media and liberal Democrats to "bring the troops home now"; and also by so doing they might invite some last-ditch spectacular terror attack by the few remaining jihadists in order to embarrass the administration. And the incoming Obama administration will certainly never announce victory, since Obama spent over a year campaigning for the Democratic primary as the anti-war candidate. So both sides refuse to say the war is over. Even though it is, in fact, over.

It is up to the American people to declare victory. Which is exactly what we are doing right now.

There never will be an "official" announcement from the government or the media, so you can stop waiting for it.

This is the official announcement.

(The short section below with the "virtual ticker-tape parade" was originally posted at the top of this essay for one day only on November 22, 2008 itself, to celebrate the actual event. Now that VI Day is over, I've kept the ticker-tape parade but moved it down here.)

Victory in Iraq

On this November 22, 2008, join us in observing Victory in Iraq Day.

Let us honor the sacrifice, dedication and sheer determination of American, coalition and Iraqi troops who have brought freedom to the nation and people of Iraq.

Although our governments have chosen to not name any official day marking the end of this war, we the people have taken it upon ourselves to commemorate November 22, 2008 as the day of victory over the forces of tyranny, oppression and terror in Iraq.

Join fellow bloggers and other members of the public in this virtual ticker-tape parade for our brave troops, to celebrate their success, to remember the fallen, and to declare, in the words of President John F. Kennedy (RIP):
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
You may comment on VI Day here.

Click on the following links to see a few of the best, most informative and most heartwarming Victory in Iraq Day posts from around the world:

Gateway Pundit
Confederate Yankee
Buuuuurrrring Hot
The Surfing Conservative
Stop the ACLU
Theodore's World
Public Secrets
The Wide Awake Cafe
Winefred's Well
Lighthouse on the Right
The Cool Blue Blog
Raja Rants
The Blog of Record
Fearless Dream
Macker's World
No Clever Pseudonym
Paul Ibrahim

Join the VI Day movement!

Do you agree with the concept behind VI Day? Then post a VI Day entry on your blog.

Once you've posted it, email me the link! And I will post a link back to your blog here on this page.

Make sure to make at least two different postings: Make one now to announce your support of VI Day and to spread the word ahead of time; and make another one on November 22 itself, to celebrate!

(Blogs of all political orientations are invited to join: Even if you're a progressive blogger and only want to announce an end to the war as a way to accelerate the homecoming home all troops, you are welcome to link to and/or mention VI Day too.)

One last note: If anyone is planning to hold a "meatspace" (i.e. real world) party or celebration to mark VI Day, send me the details and I will post them here as well.

Here is the official list of blogs that have so far agreed to mark VI Day on November 22, 2008:

                        Victory in Iraq Day: Participating Blogs

Gateway Pundit
Little Green Footballs
Pat Dollard
Flopping Aces
Because No One Asked
Dog Opus Blog
Oh No, Another Conservative Blog
Who Is John Galt?
Politically Incorrect
Gathering of Eagles (national)
Gathering of Eagles New York
Gathering of Eagles North Carolina
Stop the ACLU
The Surfing Conservative
Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group
The Wide Awake Cafe
The Foxhole
Lighthouse on the Right
Arming Liberty
Uncle Sam Ate My Baby
Down Is Up
Foreign and Domestic
WOT Daily
The Blog of Record
Serr8d's Cutting Edge
Army Wife: Rants from Ft. Livingroom
Hamilton, Madison, and Jay
Chandler's Watch
Rochester Conservative
The Daily Blogster
I Call BS!
Macker's World
Something should go here, maybe later
Nice Deb
The Bronze Blog
The Irascible Chef
Sharp Right Turn
Tman In Tennessee
Thunder Pig
Sith by Sithwest
Marooned in Marin
Thoughts Enroute
More Weight
The Jack Knows
Red State Rumblings
High Plains Blogger
Air Force Pundit
Fallback LGF
Liberty for USA
Diary of a Madman
The Rumbler Report
D.C. Thornton
Lock and Load
Fat Angie
Oedipal Beatdown
Conservative Action Network
A Herd of Turtles
Penny's Potpurri
Sayyad al Wahabiyya
Brain-Surgery With Spoons
American Syndicalist Party
Public Secrets
Toxic Taxation
Berman Post
The Inquisition
Pax Parabellum
CrossFit Camp Pendleton
Freedom Watch
American Truths
Destination OBX
Fearless Dream
Theodore's World
The Cool Blue Blog
Life With Monkeys
Woody's Place
Wild Weazel
The Atheist Conservative
King's Right Site
We are the Grizzwolds
E3 gazette
GunTrash's Multifarious Blog
mama winger's potluck
the "silent" majority no more!
The Working File
Habits Not Peculiar
Six Meat Buffet
Nobama Forum
The Spirit of Man
Alcove One
paradigm defenestration
The Weeks Review
9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America
Mage's Plane
The Liberator Today
Mount Virtus
Quoth the Raven
Jay Maynard
Armed and Dangerous
Chronicles of Wasted Time
A Red Voice in a Blue State
Confederate Yankee
The Jawa Report
Ed Driscoll
Facebook group for Victory in Iraq Day
Barking Moonbat Early Warning System
Exurban League
Noblesse Oblige
Protein Wisdom Pub
Black & Right
Johnson County Republican Party
Winefred's Well
Still Unbounded
The Liberty Boys
Atlanta ROFTers
This is Scooter Country
The Crescent Moon
From My Position...On the Way!
Letters to a Dying Dream
Blogs for Victory
Conservative Diggs
Erica Marceau
Pirate's Cove
Let's Get It Right
Cmblake6's Weblog
What Bubba Knows
Psycmeister's Ice Palace!
Stable of Zionist Hore #2
Conservative in Seattle
Right Side News
Karridine Delivers
Zim's View
I Am, Therefore I Think
Patriot Missive
USS Neverdock
Dan Cirucci
The Conservative Contessa
The Four Rs
Wake up America
The C-Square
Sarge Charlie
Red-Hot Right
Echoes in Eternity
American Infidel
supporting the troops
One Model Place
The Dumber Ox
The Lightning News
2nd Exposure
Lindy's Blog: Where Mom is Always Right
Comics Pundit
No Clever Pseudonym
Free Frank Warner
The Digital Hairshirt
The Blue Pelican
Nothing But the Facts
Environmental Republican
Irons in the Fire
no blood for sauerkraut!
The Individualizer
Nebulous Continuum
Take Our Country Back
The Conservative Radical
Zion Beckons
Soldiers' Angels Germany
Paul Ibrahim
jweaks on Squidoo
Marie's Two Cents
The Other Club
The Anchoress
Beyond the Veil
Michigan Taxes Too Much
Once More Into the Breach
Stix Blog
Freedom's Candle
Citizen Dain
Raja Rants
Papa Mike's Blog
Wheat & Weeds
Eye On The World
Eugene Rant
There and Back Again
The Minority Report
The Autopsy
All Those Wires!
Shadowcaste Center for Advanced Conservative Studies
E Maua Ola i Moku o Keawe
Defend America
McDonald 2012
Star Position
Infidels Are Cool
The Big Picture
Wis Faest Wordum
Modcon Central
Dude, Where's the Beach?
The Ten O'Clock Scholar
Florida Community Association Law
What Is Hip

(Update: I've been inundated with emails and links, far more than I can handle! The list of blogs you see here is incomplete; the full list totaled well over a thousand.)

Call for submissions and designs

[Update: Call for submissions now closed. Thanks to all artists for their excellent designs.]

Are you good at creating graphics? Want to participate? This is an open call to all designers and artists who would like to create buttons, banners or other graphics and widgets for people to announce Victory in Iraq Day on their blogs and Web sites. I'm no graphic designer myself, so I'll post outstanding submissions here for everyone to download.

Words, terms and phrases you may want to incorporate into your design include:

Victory in Iraq Day

November 22, 2008

Victory in Iraq

VI Day

...and anything else you think might be appropriate! I'd like to see banners that say simply "Victory in Iraq," and others that include the date; and other smaller graphics that could fit on a blog sidebar.

Send all submissions to:

To download any of the graphics below, simply right-click (Windows) or control-click (Mac) on the images of your choice and choose "Save image as" or "Download this picture."

Just received this new banner from designer Bryan Taylor:

Start downloading! I think this one will be quite popular. Here are two smaller versions, if your blog has a narrower column:

And for anyone who wants to emphasize the role of not just the U.S but the entire coalition in Iraq, contributor "uptight" has created this version of the banner with British and Australian flags as well:

Here's an excellent submission from Paul Szoldra of Paul Stanley Media:

Bloggers are encouraged to use it!

Our next submission comes from "Serr8d":

Here's a VI Day button for use in blog sidebars -- in a variety of styles and sizes -- from Patrick at Dog Opus:

And here is a beautiful atmospheric image from Gathering of Eagles: NY:

Remember -- all these designs are free for anyone to use.

Below you will find "Victory in Iraq Day" banners in various sizes for use on your blog, if you would like:

Why November 22?

Several people have written in to ask what is significant about November 22; why was it chosen as the date for VI Day? The answer is: There's nothing militarily significant about this day. There are no major events related to the Iraq War that happened on November 22. It's just a convenient day, chosen essentially at random. Some date must be chosen, and this is just as good as any other, since there is no actual distinct date of surrender or of the war's self-evident cessation.

Others have written in to ask: Won't VI Day conflict with the anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, which happened on November 22, 1963? Well, I suppose it might, to those who mark that anniversary. But Victory in Iraq Day is not intended to be an annual holiday, celebrated on November 22 forevermore into the future; it's a one-time only event, a declaration right now that the war is over right now. Not every end-of-a-war day becomes a national holiday. In fact, only November 11, Armistice Day for WWI, is still remembered as a national holiday (now called Veterans' Day). Does anyone in America still throw a party on May 7 or 8, the days on which the Nazis surrendered, known as VE Day? Not that I now of. And the day on which WWII finally, totally came to an end was August 15, VJ Day, on which Japan surrendered. Yet there is no national holiday on August 15. And I'd wager that 95% of Americans couldn't even tell you why August 15 was historically significant.

Considering all this, that even the victory in WWII did not become an annual holiday, it's almost certain that VI Day will not become an annual holiday either -- and thus will not conflict with any annual services marking Kennedy's assassination. VI Day is a one-time only celebration.

Even so, there's nothing about the nature of VI Day that is disrespectful to Kennedy's memory. Ponder these words taken from Kennedy's inaugural address, and think of them in reference to the Iraq War, and I think you'll agree that Kennedy would approve of the concept behind VI Day:
Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans--born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage--and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

The nay-sayers, the doubters and the mockers

Not everybody agrees with the idea of Victory in Iraq Day. The most common arguments against it (and my responses) are:

- What if the violence flares up again next year or in the future? We'll look foolish.
A: If violence flares up in the future, that will be part of a new conflict, a different war. I'm not pretending to be able to predict the future; all I know is that the war we had been fighting is over. I sincerely hope that Iraq has peace for years to come; but yes, there could be fighting in the future, though it will not inherently be the continuation of this war. On occasion throughout history, in fact, after wars end, new subsequent wars spring up in their wake. The Vietnam War, for example, started in 1946 in the turmoil after WWII, and continued under various names until 1975. Yet do we consider the Vietnam War part of WWII, just because it was partially caused by it and immediately followed it? No. Similarly, the Russian Civil War grew out of WWI, yet they too are considered separate wars.

So if, in the future, some new conflict arises, we won't need to feel "foolish" for having declared victory in this war; it just means that a new war has broken out. Iran and Iraq have had terrible relations dating back to 1979, often erupting into skirmishes or full-scale war; and if Iran (or its proxies) tries to invade Iraq again in 2010 or 2013, that will be a new war; not this war. And if homegrown Ba'athists or jihadists spend years plotting a coup and then try to ignite a new civil war in 2011 or beyond -- once again, that will be a separate conflict. Not this war.
- The Iraq War was astronomically expensive. How can you call that a victory?
A: Just because a war was expensive doesn't mean it is therefore a defeat. Wars can be expensive and successful. In fact, most of the time a country must devote a majority or even all of its resources to win a war; I can't think of a cheap war that was brought to a successful conclusion.

In comparison to previous wars, as a percentage of GNP, the Iraq War was actually not particularly expensive, nor burdensome on the home front. From 2003 to 2008, did we have to grow "victory gardens"? Did we have to scrounge old tools to give to government scrap metal drives? Did we have a military draft? Were there shortages? No, no, no, and no. Yet in previous wars, we did endure all those things. Dollar-wise the Iraq War seemed expensive on paper, but American society continued to hum along, which can not be said of most previous wars.
- Some of the original justifications given for the invasion six years ago were bogus.
A: This issue has been argued over and debated for six solid years, and nothing I say in one short paragraph is going to convince anyone one way or the other at this point. Saddam Hussein egregiously violated U.N. Resolutions and other doctrines set in place during the Clinton administration; The U.S. Congress authorized the invasion. Period. Like it or not, agree with the reasons or not, the war happened, whether or not Democrats in Congress later had buyers' remorse. For the purposes of this page, it doesn't matter how the war started; what matters is how it ended.
- You're just reveling in the blood-soaked horror of war. War is always bad. There can never be victory in death.
A: This is the boilerplate anti-imperialist/anti-American/Marxist narrative, and, frankly, barely even merits rebuttal. The people who say this are only saying it to weaken the United States' resolve. When other countries or insurgent groups fight to promote a left-wing ideology, war is suddenly perfectly OK with them. War is only "morally wrong" when it is conducted by the United States or other capitalist Western nations. In response, I give this famous quote from George Orwell: "Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other."
The most common way for blogs to express disapproval of, doubt over, or disinterest in VI Day is to simply not mention it. Which is perfectly fine. But a few sites have linked to this page, only for the purpose of criticizing it, or mocking it. Which is also perfectly fine. To be even-handed, here is a list of the sites that want us to not mark VI DAY; judge for yourself if you agree with their rationales:

(Standard left-wing anti-war spin.)

Argghhh!!! / The Armorer
(A well-reasoned counter-argument.)

Freethought Forum
(The original posting is neutral about VI Day, but most of the commenters don't like the idea.)

Stageleft: Life On The Left Side
(Aggressive left-wing mockery of the laughable notion that we did anything other than lose catastrophically.)

Recent photos from Iraq

The following photographs were all taken within the last few weeks in Iraq, and give a flavor of what life there is now like for many of our troops, and for Iraqis. Feel free to repost any of these pictures on your own blog.

And here are a few well-done political cartoons:

Best of the VI Day blog posts

This section features quotes from some of the most outstanding VI Day posts on other blogs.

Dog Opus Blog:
You may have noticed over the last half year or so that our largely ghoulish media's mind-numbing obsession with lurid reportage from Iraq has ground to a jarring halt. Seriously, it's conspicuous by its absence. Well, the reason, of course, is because we've won. Despite considerable efforts of cynicism, spite, and sometimes downright hatred from parties at home and abroad, our outstanding troops have resoundingly defeated the barbaric child-killing jihadi menace, and have secured an entire nation. They've performed magnificently, with consummate professionalism and honor. This is what American troops have always done. To the disgraceful few who rooted against them, this is a painful fact, but to me, it's yet another opportunity to feel pride and to show appreciation for the people I look up to as heroes.

This warrants, at the very least, a day of recognition, don't you think?
I have been an advocate of a victory parade or some other acknowledgment of the victory we have won in Iraq. First because everyone who served there deserves it and second because the incoming President tried his damndest to lose the war and should not be allowed near a celebration.
An inspired idea to lift our hearts and reaffirm our conviction that the national "narrative" being promulgated these many years by our betters on the left side of the aisle inside the Beltway and their fellow travelers in the Fourth Estate is a tangled web of lies and half truths, the product of a relentless campaign "to tarnish the Republican brand." Get that jackboot off your neck, fellow bloggers, and celebrate the truth that will make us free!
Because No One Asked:
Have you noticed that we're hearing less news from Iraq? Fewer alarmist articles? Can you guess why?

We won.
The Surfing Conservative:
The mainstream media has been silent. Ditto for the Democrats on Capitol Hill...and the incoming presidential administration. However, the facts on the ground do not lie, the United States has prevailed in the Iraq War. The "war" is over. Consolidation of that victory on the political and security front is all that remains for the United States and its Iraqi allies. All measures of success clearly point to the fact that the United States has achieved the political and military objectives that it has sought to do. Having followed the Iraq War from a personal and professional standpoint since its inception, I watched as the US military struggled through the early years in what appeared to be an unexpected quagmire, facing insurgencies from both Sunni and Shia guerrillas and their international terrorist allies. But the changes that began two years ago have turned the tables in Iraq decisively, to the point now where we can legitimately claim to have achieved "victory" in the war. Here are some quick facts that support the claim to victory:

- Al-Qa'ida in Iraq has been defeated, only tattered remnants remain in areas of north and eastern Iraq and have little indigenous support.
- Al-Qa'ida Central has ceded the battle in Iraq and is now concentrating on Afghanistan and Pakistan
- The domestic Sunni insurgency has been largely co-opted or destroyed
- Shia firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's army of thugs and terrorists has splintered and been largely bludgeoned into submission.
- Baghdad, which had devolved into bloody chaos during the height of the insurgency and sectarian violence, is now quiet.
- The Iraqi political paradigm has been shifted from authoritarian rue to multiparty democratic competition; Parliament, not the battlefield, is now the primary venue for political competition between the various ethnic and sectarian blocs.
- Iraq's economy has rebounded because its oil industry has been revitalized, due in large part to the precipitous drop in insurgent/terrorist violence.
- Order has been restored in al-Anbar province and areas in southern Iraq once ruled by Sadr's thugs
- American casualties are at all time lows, reflecting a dramatic drop in both insurgent/terrorist violence and the effectiveness of those attacks.

Movement is now afoot in the blogosphere to declare November 22nd Victory in Iraq Day (V-I day). I had actually been thinking for some time to write an in depth column, based on what I've read in Michael Yon's blog as well as the wealth of information I've seen from a variety of other sources, along the same lines. I think it's important for everyone who has followed the war to get the message out to the American people that we have succeeded in Iraq, despite what the mainstream media and the Democratic leaders in Washington would have you believe. It is important not just for a sense of national pride, but also for historical accuracy to prevent the historic legacy of the Iraq War from being hijacked by revisionist historians and liberal politicians. So, mark your calendars...and more importantly, thank a soldier, sailor, airman, or marine for their sacrifice.
Oh No, Another Conservative Blog:
This isn't written in jest nor do I jest in posting Zombies blog. This is a serious subject and we, as Americans have earned the right to have victory declared. We owe it to our fighting forces to declare victory in Iraq. They fought, bled, and died for it. And succeeded in bringing peace to Iraq even though all the leftists in the world were prophesying defeat at every turn.
Who Is John Galt?:
Blogger Zombie has taken upon itself to do what our current President should have done.

Declare Victory.

We have enforced the UN mandate. We have deposed, tried, and executed Saddam Hussein and brought justice to his henchman. We ended Iraq's chemical and biological weapons programs. We have exposed the mass graves. We have made it possible for a representative government to form. We have made possible free and fair elections. We have trained new Iraqi security forces. We have sent untold terrorists to their virgins. Stores are open, girls are learning, there is a future.

War's over. We, the supporters of liberty, won, and so did the Iraqi people. Our troops have done the impossible.

Does that mean Iraq is a perfect example of parliamentary democracy? Of course not. Name a war that we won where the immediate postwar situation was all smiles and sunshine. Iraq has a long way to go, but it now has a fighting chance to get there.

In a sane world, President Bush would be organizing tickertape parades, days of thanksgiving, etc. He won't. Mr. Obama certainly won't.

We need to do it for them.
Gathering of Eagles:
The Iraq War is over! American and Allied troops have successfully overthrown a mass murdering dictator, liberated over 27 million people, and helped establish a working democracy in the heart of the middle east.

Join with us in celebrating this heroic achievement and honoring all who made it possible.
Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group:
"All of this fluffy-bunny feeling is a good mosque bombing away from backsliding." Thus sayeth The Armorer on "the muted sense of success" he and many others have that makes them uncomfortable with declarations of Victory in Iraq. VI Day?

The point that I was trying to develop over there before I used up my share of John's patience was that fear of being crucified for triumphalism and hubris should the enemy muck up one's predictions of success causes strategic communicators to give the domestic target audience unenthusiastic, hesitant, unconvincing, caveated, asterisked, weasel-worded CYA explanations of what (they think, but they may be wrong, don't shoot them they're only the messsenger) has been accomplished in Iraq, along with timid suggestions (just a thought, In Their Humble Opinion, YMMV) of possible future successes which just might possibly (Imshallah, don't hold us to it, the enemy gets a vote) lead to a generally positive conclusion to whatever the hell we've been doing over there for the last 5 freaking years.

This is part of a Morale Operation conducted by what were domestic oppositional elements, but who are now 59 days away from total control of the Executive and Legislative branches of federal government, including the Department of Defense. Those who are soon subject to being treated like Former Regime Elements see the downside career-wise of enthusiastically claiming victory in a fight the new Powers-That-Be wanted them to throw. They didn't take a dive, and they'll pay for that.

Reticence and humility are appropriate attitudes for losers. America won, or at least that tiny part of it that wasn't at the mall won. And they are owed, big time. Voluntarily muting our sense of success also mutes our visible displays of appreciation for those who bought us that success with their blood, sweat, and tears, reducing their psychic payoff and denying them and those of us who supported them and their mission a well-earned sense of pride in the accomplishment of a hard job.

What better way for a vanquished enemy to deny the victors their triumph than to have their sympathizers in the victor's polity give the enemy such a lop-sided vote that any last gasp mass-casualty atrocity they can pull off will be allowed to negate any and all claims of progress and make any claiming success out to be liars?

Damn shame bloggers have to take it upon themselves to declare victory, but count me in.
The Blog of Record:
Yes, there is still a lot to be done in Iraq - corruption is a big problem, - but the country is now free, secure, stable, and a key U.S. ally in the Middle East. And it is firmly on a path to becoming a democratic nation - proving wrong the Bush Administration's detractors from the Left, whose multiculturalism somehow didn't prevent them from arguing that efforts to "export democracy" to a country full of Muslim Arabs were ridiculous.

The world is a safer place now, and it owes this safety to the bravery and sacrifices of American troops and their coalition allies.

The war is over. Join the victory celebration!
Liberty for USA:
The battle most counted on by the terrorists was the battle of public opinion. Our dedicated and professional armed forces won that battle as well despite a constant countering by liberal groups including the media.

Well done, and thank you to all our troops!
Serr8d's Cutting Edge:
Yes, you see, we've won in Iraq, by all the standards that apply to winning a war. George Bush's hard-fought surge worked. General Petraeus proved his strategy, and our heroes in uniform carried out their orders and lived and died for us, for the victory. They deserve to have the honors, they deserve to know that they won.

If we leave the 'official' declaration of victory to the Main Stream Media, if they even bother, then guess who will get the credit for the victory? Certainly not the ever-hated George Bush, who by rights deserves that credit.

No, the credit would go to the Messiah, who, as you recall, voted against the surge, and at every opportunity has expressed his desire to cut 'n' run, to get out of Iraq, leaving the first and only Arab Democracy in the Middle East to flounder and fail.
The Wide Awake Cafe:
The Iraq War is over and we have won. Really.

America has won. ...

We have won the war even though there is nothing to be found about this fabulous news at MSNBC or ABC News or CBS News or CNN or even Fox News.
The eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome suffered gladly in some quarters of the media and the Democrat party has caused such deterioration that they are to the point that they would rather deny victory than admit the truth that the Commander in Chief and the troops have won the war.
Where are the ticker-tape parades Sissy Willis asks? The media which is now consumed in an all out search for a grandious presidential comparison to Barack Obama (who after all hasn't accomplished anything of note as of yet except being elected president) can't seem to take time to report this fantastic news.

Could it be that since Iraq is won and the Commander in Chief is still President Bush the media are waiting until Obama takes the oath of office in January before they declare that the war is really and truly won?
The Foxhole:
The folks at Zombietime have proposed a VI Day (Victory in Iraq Day). It's an excellent suggestion, especially since we won the war in Iraq awhile ago, and the MSM, par for the course, refuses to acknowlege or even give tribute to the American troops who achieved it.

I noted the victory back in August...
Someone has to do it, and it may as well be patriotic bloggers and Iraq War vets like myself.
Lock and Load:
OK folks, Zombietime has it right. Now that we have we achieved victory in Iraq, it's time to honor all the gallant military who made it possible. These young folks are America at its best....

Our Guys and Gals in Iraq have sacrificed and risked their lives to keep not only the Iraqis free, but by extension, all of us as well....

To all the troops who serve, everywhere and in everyway, THANK YOU.
Hamilton, Madison, and Jay:
Yes, you read that right. The war in Iraq is over, and we bloggers have decided, with the urging of Zombie and a whole host of others listed by him, that the 22nd of November will be remembered as the day we won in the theater of Iraq over the Islamofascist hordes that were determined to destroy the way of life we know, and to drag a fledgling democracy into the pits of Hell. We urge ALL bloggers to jump on board -- be you Left, Right, or Center -- and acknowledge this simple fact.

Our troops will remain there, albeit in a smaller number, to continue their duties providing security for the Iraqis. No complaining now as we've done this in the past. We did it in Germany, in Italy, in Japan, and in South Korea.
One last thing, and perhaps the most important one. PLEASE remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice not only for our country, but for a new nation; a free nation that finally has what was rightfully theirs. The Iraqis lived under a brutal dictator for over twenty years. He and his thugs are gone. those that remain have agreed to participate in rebuilding Iraq into a new, fresh democracy in the Middle East. Things are improving daily, and the violence from the animals is down considerably; almost to the point of barely being footnote worthy. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have done an outstanding job, and they deserve all the thanks and praise we can give them. And for those that did give all, no words -- no deed -- can convey how much we as Americans appreciate their valor and honor. To their families, I say we have a debt we can never repay, and we will miss you loved ones as much as you do.
The Irascible Chef:
I Smell Napalm...

And you know what that reminds me of in the morning?


And in the words of the famous Mark Levin, That's right! Victory!

We were about to be run out of Iraq by insurgents and our own Congress -- retreat-in-defeat was the bumper sticker slogan the Libs were happy to paste on their cars and what was very close to happening, but President Bush was not going to let that happen and he didn't. The new people in charge wanted it to happen, it would have added credibility to their point, kept them in power indefinitely. They wanted out whatever the circumstances. Imagine: Reid said we lost, Pelosi said we lost, that Murtha said we lost and so did our new President... They are all wrong! A few months later we have victory!
Army Wife: Rants from Ft. Livingroom:
This victory is further evidenced by the emails I receive from deployed friends stating "I'm bored". This is so counter to the ones I would get from my soldier (during his first and second deployment) stating "only x number of mortars today".

Thanks, guys. Be proud. Once again you showed up, kicked ass and peace erupted.
Sharp Right Turn:
Just for the record...

...this success came BEFORE Obama took office -- this needs to be on the record so that when Obama, the Democrats, and other cowardly liberals try to beat the drum that "withdrawal from Iraq came under Obama's watch" we can be clear that it came with a victory that was clearly evident before Obama took office. If not for President Bush and our military, the withdrawal the liberals so clearly seek would have come with defeat and surrender...that is a fact.

Victory came... because of the dedication, bravery, and professional fighting forces of the US Military...and the determination and understanding of a President who understands defending Freedom and our country!

Victory came... in spite of a Democrat party hell-bent on surrender and a liberals with no fortitude to stick with a fight for freedom and against tyranny.

Victory came... in spite of Obama's disparaging of our troops by accusing them foolishly of "air-raiding villages and killing civilians"...not exactly Commander-In-Chief material.

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System
The media was on Bush's case for years over his "mission accomplished" speech, even though what he said was utterly correct: that the really large scale combat operations in Iraq were over. But because of that "blunder," and the PMSM spending months playing up the "McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years" tripe, nobody wants to mention the obvious: that the fighting in Iraq is over. And it has been over for some time. Sure, there might be a couple little leftover splodeydopes with nothing better to do but push their little buttons. There might be a little action here and there for squad sized groups of soldiers. But it's a done deal, and it has been for several months. So in that vein, since Kate Smith has left us long ago and there are no other large women ready to sing, ZombieTime feels it's up to us to state the obvious. We might as well pick a date too, and use that to remind folks what has been so obvious that you haven't heard a word about it on TV. So let's use November 22nd. It's as good a day as any.

AQ in Iraq is smashed

Just about no foreign fighters are coming in from Syria or other countries anymore

The flow of Iranian weapons and fighters has been cut off or cut down to nearly nothing

Al Sadr is pretty much a non-player these days

The Iraqis have a freely elected government that is growing into the job better every day

Most of those mileposts that the US set have been met

the Iraqi army is pretty much up to the task, everywhere


So it's not early to make this call. It wasn't too early a couple of months ago, when Michael Yon first brought the subject up. And don't be fooled by a little bit of trouble here and there; go read what Zombie has to say about that.

It's over, over there.
Zion Beckons:
We can only conclude that the United States military in concert with the armed forces of Iraq may now declare victory. Since there was never an actual declaration of war, there can be no armistice. Since there was an essential agreement on the part of Iraq early on, there was no formal surrender. Therefore, since no one else will step up to make the declaration; Zion Beckons and hundreds of other bloggers have set aside [Satur]day, November 22, 2008 as the official "Victory in Iraq" Day.

The sitting government of the United States will make no such claim. The incoming new administration is highly unlikely to embrace anything which smacks of "victory." Obviously the press will make no assertion of success for the United States in Iraq since they have seen it as an illegitimate exercise from the onset. Therefore, as a veteran who has the capacity to recognize victory when it is apparent; and as a citizen of the United States, I join with those hundreds of web loggers who have followed the struggle, wept for the fallen, praised the troops, and rejoiced in the cessation of hostilities.

The claim of "victory" is predicated on several factors. The Iraqi government has made bold strides to accept the conditions of the turnover to their military arm. The head of their government, Saddam Hussein, has long since been captured and executed by proper Iraqi authority. The restoration of infrastructure, commerce, public services and a normal life style has been nearly completely restored in Iraq. Most important, the deaths of U.S. servicemen in theater have diminished to a point consistent with the normal attrition for a body of men that size. The casualty rate (killed) has dropped to less than half that of Chicago, Illinois since the first of the year. It is a proud day for the military forces, each man and woman, of the United States.

We congratulate the citizens and the government of Iraq on their new found freedom and their willingness to assume the responsibility for their own governance and security.
From My Position...On the Way!:
WE did it. We, the American Service Member, the patriots who supported us, the men and women at home who sent us everything from postcards to Kevlar Blankets, who never lost faith in us or our mission, won.

November 22 is VI day--Victory in Iraq. We, the people, declare it as such. We do not need an elected official to tell us we are victorious, nor do we need some booze-addled hack with a journalism degree to bleat it on the nightly news.
The United States has won the war in Iraq.

And since the treasonous, America-hating press won't say it, patriotic bloggers will.

Want to leave comments or feedback about this essay or about Victory in Iraq Day in general? Click here.

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