Monday, January 8, 2007

Op-Ed Response: "Bring Them Home" vs "Let Them Win"

The Austin-American Statesman has given up on Iraq:

... The best way forward in Iraq is to start pulling out U.S. troops ...
Along the way to their conclusion, they partake in poor logic, misunderstanding of facts, and strawman arguments:
  1. "There are Islamic terrorists involved, too, but take them all out and there is still a civil war." This ignores the repeated provocations of the Al Qaeda insurgents to stoke violence, culminating in the Samarra golden Mosque terrorist bombing of February, 2006, that finally cascaded into the sectarian violence that is observed today. The authors of the bombing were foriegn terrorists associated with (now dead) Zarqawi's Al Qaeda in Iraq group. Three years of terrorism fanning flames of violence finally led to sectarian bloodshed. If the terrorist insurgency in Iraq ended tomorrow, the militias would stand down, Iraq would be more peaceful and Iraq's democratic Government would be secure.
  2. "The risk of pullout is still more violence, but that very threat might also prompt the various factions to reconsider how they might fare without U.S. troops serving as a firewall." Our enemies and the forces of chaos would fare well, while our friends would fare poorly. It's disappointing that the Iraqi Government and people have not been strong enough to take over security. Training has gone well enough that most of the Iraqi army can stand on it's own, but Iraq's military cannot stand alone to stem the violence. The 'bring them home' approach is to let Iraq drown - in blood.
  3. "Some good has come out of the invasion. Saddam has been overthrown and executed, and the Iraqis held their first election." Actually Iraq held 3 national elections: One to form the Constitutional Assembly, one to approve the constitution, and then the national elections.
  4. "Keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, however, appears to be aggravating the sectarian violence that has the country in a death grip." When our troops go in force into neighborhoods, they are pacified. It's not the presence of our troops but the absence of reliable Government troops that is the biggest hole for Iraq's security.
  5. "If the president insists that this nation must remain fully engaged in Iraq, then he ought to lay out the full price of doing so ... Yet he's already ruled out any tax increase." Iraq spending is less than 5% of total Federal Government spending. What about the other 95% of Federal spending? The Medicare drug bill cost much more, did they contemplate that or do they ever criticize domestic spending on the basis of the lack of tax increases to pay for it? And what of the fact that the Bush tax cuts have led to a surge in growth that in effect created a situation where many of hte tax cuts paid for themselves by making future Govt liabilities more tolerable.
Rather than abandon Iraq, we should pursue all possible options to secure Iraq and win a victory. The question then is whether the US can or will do what it takes to win. Some proposals for victory show that it is attainable, albeit difficult. Eliot Cohen and Bing West propose:
We prefer an offensive strategy based on three ironclad principles: take the offense immediately against the death squads in Sadr City, who are now unsettled; arrest and imprison on a scale equal to the horrific situation (or at least equal to New York City!); and insist on a joint say in the appointment of army and police leaders.
We knocked off a terror master and genocidal maniac, Saddam Hussein, and are daily knocking off terrorist wannabes in a small war that will dictate the course of Middle East politics (democracy vs dictatorship) for the next generation and thereby dictate if and how soon we can win the war on terror. This seems a more necessary mission than optional wars like Kosovo, Haiti, Somalia or Bosnia.

Let them win.


carl said...

Yours is a great analysis of the benighted editorial in Sunday's Statesman.
These people have no idea what the war is about.
It started as a preemptive war because of some 17 UN resolutions on weapons inspection promising dire consequences had no effect and various intelligence agencies (not only ours) suspected WMD's. There is credible evidence that Saddam's WMD's were shipped to Syria, so only a small fraction were found that were dismissed in the press as outdated.
"The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war.."
Now, Iraq has become a battlefield in the guerrilla war with extremist terrorists. It is an opportunity to learn how to deal with this different type of warfare.
If we leave Iraq, as the editorial suggests, we leave a battlefield, not the war. We have head from the leaders of our enemy that they strive for killing infidels or demanding unconditional submission in their strategy for world dominance. No diplomacy can help under these circumstances.
Mc Cain is right -- we need their defeat now with massive force or will be forced to try under more difficult circumstances in the future.
The Statesman is wrong!

Anonymous said...

"If we leave Iraq, as the editorial suggests, we leave a battlefield, not the war."

True. The war in Iraq is a part of the war on terror. To abandon Iraq not only hurts Iraqis, but will significantly harm our long-term national security.