IS IT TIME TO GET OUT OF IRAQ?
OR SHOULD WE STAY & FINISH THE JOB?
By Alan Caruba
What do you do, however, when the people you want to help don’t want you to help? Or are fearful of helping themselves, if the price of doing so is their being killed by the enemies of their new freedom?
The Bush administration is making much of turning over sovereignty to the Iraqis on June 30, but it needs to be a true sovereignty, the right of Iraqis to run their own nation. The transformation will take awhile and we may well be there a long time. (We still have a military presence in both Japan and Germany.) We will have to guarantee that effort. It will be worth it. As I have written in the past, the road to the end of Islamic terrorism runs through Baghdad, Damascus, Riyadh, and ultimately, Tehran.
The United States of America either has the courage to fight on to the end in the very heart of the region that most threatens us, or we we do not have the necessary intestinal fortitude and shall suffer a much worse fate for our failure to fight this war to a decisive and satisfactory conclusion -- a conclusion that would be clearly and unambiguously perceived by the populations of the Islamic world as a total victory for the U.S.A. and its allies and as a total and disasterous defeat for the Fedayeen Saddam, the al-Sadr radical Shi'ites, and the international Islamic Jihadists.
It is no small irony that we have managed to do something even the Muslims could not do. We have united the Sunnis and the Shi’ites against us. We have given the entire Middle East an endless series of events with which to portray us as the new infidel “Crusaders” that have invaded their sacred lands.
At this crossroads in the Middle East wars, we know we have the firepower, but we don’t know if we have patience to see events through to a true victory. That is one thing of which the Arabs have plenty. Remember how Osama bin Laden waited from 1993 until 2001 to finally bring down the Twin Towers, after the first failed attempt? Consider how long the Palestinians and all the other surrounding Islamic nations of the Middle East have been waiting to destroy the Israelis? Over a half century!
We have liberated Iraq. Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime are gone. There is much resistance from a small percentage of the Iraqi population and some Islamic terrorists from other countries who have joined the Iraqi insurgents. Our military is stretched thin. In addition to our regular forces, we are using National Guard and Reserve units to fight a war in a country the size of California. We can’t even drive on Iraq's highways without suffering casualties. The insurgents know it. We know it. The enemy will test our resolve in every way possible.
Though I personally would have already bombed them until the rubble bounced, we have not invaded the “holy cities” of Fallujah or Najaf. These places are so “sacred” they stockpiled weapons in their mosques! For now our generals wait on orders that may well determine the future of the conflict in Iraq. In the Middle East, force is understood and respected. This observer does not see a peaceful alternative.
We are between a rock and a hard place, right now. The U.S.A. dares not be perceived, like the Spanish, as having left out of fear. I don’t think most Americans would find that acceptable. So long as we remain, however, we will be Iraq’s “occupiers.” This is unsatisfying to everyone, and recent polls in Iraq indicate the Iraqis want the U.S.A. to leave. It is doubtful, if not impossible, for the Iraqis to form a new, constitutional democratic government and to secure it without our support.
Senator John Kerry gave a speech recently saying we have to “internationalize” the war, bring in other nations, NATO, et cetera. Even he can’t really believe we are going to achieve this. Neither the French, the Germans, the Russians, nor the Chinese are going to join this effort. What bothers me even more is that just a week earlier he was saying he was behind the White House, despite his criticisms. This guy changes his mind so much and so fast he must bump into himself when he turns a corner.
Is it time to leave Iraq? Our nation’s safety and the great challenge of the Islamic fanaticism bred in the Middle East argues against this. I recall the Vietnam War, and I am not comfortable with the occasional feelings of déjà vu. However, I don’t think Americans will accept the taste of defeat again, and leaving now would be a defeat.
The Problem of Rogue States:
Iraq as a Case History
The Middle East & the Arabs
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
U.S. National Security Strategy
Africa: Black Africa *
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