Peace through victory - the American way.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Whither Iraq?

Now that the Democrats have taken the House and the Senate what will they do about the war? One thing that's not too promising is the statement by the Democrat's leader, Nancy Pelosi, the next Speaker of the House, that Iraq is not a war to be won, but a situation to be solved.

It's bad enough that so many Dims seem to think the war against terrorism is not a real war. Now apparently, their leader believes even the war in Iraq is not a war. Whatever. It's ironic evidence of the denial Dims are in about the current state of the world. For all the talk about the President being in a state of denial at least he recognizes that America is fighting a war.

So what is next for Iraq? Washington is waiting for the Iraq Study Group report to give everybody political cover to do something. If the report leads to a bipartisan consensus on how to achieve success in Iraq, it will be useful. But if the report just gives Washington cover for America to wash its hands of Iraq and fully withdraw from the country, it will be a tragic mistake and a repeat of the mistake we made in Vietnam.

The mistake of Vietnam was not getting involved. The mistake of Vietnam was abandoning our Vietnamese allies. That abandonment led to more violence in Southeast Asia in the immediate aftermath of South Vietnam's fall and to 30 years of oppression in Vietnam.

More important, Vietnam started a pattern of American conduct which has emboldened the Islamist Jihadists fighting us. In their view, they don't have to defeat us militarily. All they have to do to win is bloody America enough so that America withdraws on its own. Witness Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, and now Iraq.

If America "redeploys" out of Iraq and leaves the Iraqis to their own devices, it will be trumpeted as a victory by the Islamist Jihadists, it will embolden them to fight us harder, and it will attract more followers to their cause. The risk to America is great at this time. The recent election of the anti-war Democrats reveals that America is losing its resolve and listening to its fears.

Despite this there is one hopeful sign in this article. Retreat disguised as redeployment may be giving way to a true redeployment strategy that will not abandon Iraq.
"In calling for a timeline for U.S. troop reductions, some Democrats have advocated a parallel increase in the number of U.S. military trainers to improve the quality of Iraqi security forces. Some have called for maintaining substantial numbers of U.S. ground forces in nearby Kuwait – or perhaps at major bases in parts of Iraq, such as the Kurdish-dominated north, that have lower levels of violence.

Under this scenario, the U.S. troops would generally be pulled out of harm's way in Iraq, but could act as a 'quick-reaction force' to reinforce Iraqi security personnel if overwhelmed by insurgent attacks." (Here.)

If we're going to redeploy it's better to keep troops in Iraq. If we redeploy all of them elsewhere, there's no way we'd ever send them back in again. We owe it to the Iraqis who relied on us, especially the Kurds, to stay. But especially we owe it to ourselves to stick this out. If we retreat from Iraq it will reinforce our enemy's perception that America is a paper tiger and embolden them to attack us elsewhere. You want more terrorism? Then abandon Iraq.

-tdr

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