Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Now Is Not the Time to Leave Iraq

Whether or not they intend it, many of the leading Democrats who will soon control Congress are contributing to the unraveling of the U.S. position in Iraq — and the Middle East generally.

Consider a recent column in a Lebanese newspaper, The Daily Star. The article, written by Syrian dissident Ammar Abdulhamid, was headlined, “Arab democrats are being abandoned.”

Since the election, Sen. Carl Levin and others have escalated their calls for a phased withdrawal from Iraq. Levin says Iraqi leaders should be told the United States would “begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months.” Otherwise, he said, Iraqis would never step up to their responsibilities.

Levin and the other withdrawal-at-any-cost Democrats are not interested in salvaging what can be salvaged from an admittedly deteriorating situation. They’re interested simply in getting out, and they recklessly discount the long-term costs of losing a war in the most strategically important region on the planet.

What they forget is that from the beginning, many Iraqis have been afraid Americans would leave them hanging — a fear that has hampered the ability of the new government to gain adherents.

Shiites haven’t forgotten what happened in 1991, when the first President Bush urged them to rise up against Saddam Hussein. They rose up, Hussein had them slaughtered, and U.S. forces did nothing to stop it. That history overshadows much of the present.

The war may have gone on for more than three years, but from the vantage point of one benchmark, it’s still early. The current Iraqi government, legitimated by an election, has been in power for what — eight months?

Yet already, many Democrats are eager to replicate their party’s performance in Vietnam, when the Democratic majority controlling Congress cut off funding for the war and left the South Vietnamese unable to repel the North Vietnamese invasion of 1975.

True, the Iraqi government is weak, inept and still unwilling to deal with the Shiite militias behind many of the sectarian attacks. But if we continue to support that government, it has a chance to improve. If we announce we’re getting out, it has no chance to survive.

The policy advocated by Levin would not encourage Iraqis to rally to their government. It would encourage them to abandon it, which would lead to the implosion of Iraq as we know it — and transform Iran into the dominant power in the region.

In short, we cannot afford to abandon this mission. In recent testimony before a Senate panel, the top commander in the Middle East, Gen. John Abazaid, agreed more troops are needed. But he wasn’t talking about American troops. He was talking about Iraqi troops.

A panel led by former Secretary of State James Baker is mulling options for Iraq. At the same time, the Pentagon is conducting its own review of how to proceed. The military is expected to push for an approach that at some point would mean a smaller U.S. force, but with more troops serving as advisers and more troops engaged in training Iraqis.

To be sure, the training-and-advising effort has come under criticism of late. Many former advisers say access to competent interpreters was spotty, support from U.S. commanders was thin, and training for the job was slapdash, according to published reports.

But in recent months, the program has been better organized, said Col. Steven A. Boylan, a spokesman at Fort Leavenworth. A regular-Army unit — the 1st Infantry Division based at Fort Riley, Kan. — has been assigned to handle the training. Boylan said 55 advisory teams are being trained now; 44 have been trained since June. Once they’re deployed, the teams undergo further training in Kuwait and Iraq.

Levin and his fellow out-now Democrats are right about one thing. Ultimately, any degree of success in Iraq depends on Iraqis — thus, the importance of the training-and-advising program. But Levin and others are deluding themselves if they believe Iraqis are more likely to cast their lot with the new government if they’re convinced the Americans are preparing to go home.


At 11:48 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

Duuuuh... Talk about the ultimate betrayal: Get them out from under a despot and abandon them. If we would REALLY like to see a civil war, that's the way to cause one.

As I see it, this whole mess is a failure to see and take out the enemy. The Kurds and Shiites are trying to play ball; it's the Sunnis who are causing trouble. They need to be taken out!

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all up to the Iraqis. I think they're feeling the pressure and should get on the ball.

If we leave Iraq and the Shiites and Sunnis continue to fight it out, we should leave it alone.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger benning said...

I know we must remain in Iraq, and probably for quite some time, until they can be considered stable, and Iraq considered relatively safe. However, I'm convinced that the military must completely change how it is working in Iraq.

They are still fighting this as if the enemy is a typical foe, with land to fight for, a population to protect, and some idea of a line beyond which they will not go. This is wrong. This enemy is new. Nothing like them has ever been seen before. To fight them, we cannot occupy and patrol while the enemy remains able to infiltrate and attack at will.

I believe that we must put more boots on the ground and scour the entire country for these vermin. We must take each one down hard - kill them if they resist - and stamp out any attempt to support them or their ilk. Bloody, expensive, and uncivilized it must be. Just as this enemy is. It's time to quit playing for the cheers of the world and do what needs to be done. And if/when we succeed in Iraq we must turn our attention to Syria and Iran. No flinching, no regrets, no nonsense.

I don't think it will be done.

At 2:49 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Youre so right..we can not afford to abandon the mission at this time..not to mention that the terrorists and Dems are not only in cahoots politically but financially as well!..I will get u the link AC.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good assesments AC.
In part the plan for withdrawl has always depended upon the stepping up of Iraq forces.
On another note, it is a shame the media does not report in most, about the re-construction efforts and the accomplishments.
And as you have pointed out,it's a young Government. It will take time.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

I also agree with your assessment AC. Good post!

I don't believe we will abandon them, but they truly must cease and desist with the infighting amongst themselves! For goodness sake, they've got Syria on one side and Iran on the next; you would think that would be enough enemies for anyone! Iraqis must unify or we don't have a chance in hell of accomlishing a democracy in Iraq.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Gayle said...

Oh, I also agree with Brooke, the Sunnis do indeed need to be taken out!

At 2:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Those who fail to learn from the Past are doomed to repeat it." - Famous Dead Guy quote

Cut and Run really works. Just ask the Vietnamese.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

benning...I agree. There are no good guys in war, only winners and losers. The Democrats are determined to put us in the loser column.

ftgf...the media has done a one-sided hatchet job on the work being done by our military. Schools and bridges don't make headlines but bodies do.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

Am I thinking of something else, or isn't that a fake AP story?

Not to say the Shiites are causing NO problems, but it seems that the Sunis are causing the lion's share.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket