June 28, 2005

Iraq - Something to Keep In Mind

An interesting column from the Wall Street Journal

The history of the Vietnam War could repeat itself in Iraq if the Beltway class decides to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Yet we are winning the global war on terror by the only measure of success that matters: Terrorists have not successfully pulled off another attack on American soil since Sept. 11, 2001. We are also succeeding in Iraq and at pressuring much of the Middle East to move toward accepting the antidote to the hate-filled ideology that spawns terrorists: democracy and freedom. Partly our success can be seen by what's not happening in Iraq today. There are no more mass graves being filled. Nor is there a cruel dictator sitting atop one of the world's largest armies and wondering how best to acquire the weapons of mass destruction that might throw back Western forces. We also don't have to worry about Saddam Hussein handing off such weapons to terrorists from his prison cell. With Saddam out of power, an elected provisional government is now working on the nation's constitution. There will be more elections in the near future, including a referendum on the constitution. On the military side of the war, U.S. forces have lost fewer than 2,000 people in more than two years of fighting in Iraq--an outcome that would have been dismissed as utopian before the invasion. Meanwhile our forces are armoring up and developing tactics and weapons to defeat insurgents. Even as the enemy is still pulling off deadly attacks, insurgents are finding Iraqi recruits harder to come by. Many of the "insurgents" aren't Iraqi at all but are terrorists from foreign countries. This is a welcome development--jihadis who head for Baghdad aren't heading to Brooklyn. It can also only go on for so long, especially now as the Iraqi Security Forces are growing in number and in their ability to lead counterinsurgency operations. It's telling that recruits to the ISF and tips on what the insurgents are up to are on the rise--both of which are used by the U.S. military to measure Iraqi resolve.

I have been a supporter of the Iraq War and see no real reason to change my view.
Yes, it is true that there evidently are no "weapons of mass destruction" that have been found in Iraq. WMD's was only one of many factors that Bush cited in making his case for war. Do I think Bush lied? No. In order for his claims that Sadaam had WMD's to have been lies, Bush would have had to know that Sadaam, in fact, had no such WMD's and continued to make claims that he knew were false. Everyone - Republicans, Democrats, France, Germany, Russia, the U.N., etc. -believed that Sadaam had WMD's and that Sadaam was not complying with the U.N. inspection requirements.
At the end of the day, I believe that the United States is better off without Sadaam in power. Sadaam clearly funded terrorists throughout the world (including within the Palestinian territories and the United States - anyone remember the first World Trade Center bombing?). Sadaam was responsible for the deaths of millions and was, by far, one of the greatest threats to stability of the volatile Mideast.
We often hear that things could have been done better in the implementation of the post-war plan (assuming there was one). In all fairness, however, is there really a way that you can plan for a guerilla war against terrorist fighters that live amongst the civillian population, choose not to openly confront our military (except for roadside bombs) and target Iraqi civillians through the use of suicide bombers? I am no Eisenhower or MacArthur, so I will leave that to the military types...
The only way you can defeat the Islamic terrorists is to kill them. In order to do that, the United States needs to seek them out. If the conflict has widened due to an influx of such terrorists in Iraq, then I think that is not necessarily a bad thing. At the end of the day, I would rather have our Armed Forces fighting them in Iraq than have the terrorists preying upon our civillians in the streets of New York, Washington D.C. or Omaha.
The news out of Iraq is not always pleasant (no doubt that the anti-American press loves to dwell on the terrorist attacks and not necessarily the successes). Clearly, we have a way to go. However, there is no reason to pull out the white flag and run like many in Washington would love to do... It would only send a signal to the Islamic terrorists that the U.S. does not have the backbone to protect itself or to fight terrorism. It is important to remember that Osama Bin Laden, in fact, often cited the U.S. as being cowardly in his recruiting efforts prior to 9/11 (e.g., Somalia - the minute Clinton ran into resistance, he pulled out).
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