Staying the course...
“[I]t is a common observation here that our cause is the cause of all mankind, and that we are fighting for their liberty in defending our own.” –Benjamin Franklin
This week, the mainstream media headlines and broadcast talkingheads proclaimed that President George Bush had finally come up with a plan for victory in Iraq. The proclamation was tinged with derision, though, and the implication was clear: This President has no real plan for victory, and he’s content to leave our troops in harm’s way indefinitely.
Predictably, the MSM’s implication was synchronized with the Democrats’ partisan rant, yet neither has a basis in fact.
Indeed, President Bush’s comments to USNA Midshipmen Wednesday, outlined our strategy for victory in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but most of that strategy was in place before OIF began. As with all sound battle plans, our strategic objectives in Iraq have not changed, though our operational plans have necessarily evolved with each development since the opening shots were fired.
Admittedly, Iraq has been a difficult front to secure in our war with Jihadi terrorists, but despite what the revisionists would have us believe, nobody – NOBODY – ever suggested that we were going to sweep into Iraq, take out Saddam, let the dust settle for a few days, then leave. Still, the Iraq war has met many of our strategic objectives, not the least of which has been to keep the hostilities on Jihadi turf instead of our own.
OIF is an important component of a much larger strategy – namely the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emption to protect our nation and its citizens from the threat of terrorist WMD. The attacks of 9/11 were a murderous wake-up call after years of Clinton-era slumber, but Harry Reid, Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry, Dick Durbin, Nancy Pelosi and their ilk still seem content to roll over and hit the snooze bar.
President Bush has maintained, rightly, that our exit strategy in Iraq is to “exit when the mission is complete” – which is to say that there is an exit strategy, but the Left simply doesn’t understand or agree with the mission. To that end, the Bush administration has issued an unclassified “paint by numbers” strategy for OIF victory that even the most nescient Ann Arborites and Berkeleyans can comprehend – if they so desire.
Of course, most Leftists don’t desire to understand it, and the political puppeteers pulling their strings have but one objective in politicizing OIF: to pick up congressional seats in the 2006 midterm elections. If their public dissension puts our troops on the ground in greater peril, well, for Demos, the end justifies any means.
The Left’s ulterior motives notwithstanding, many Americans do in fact desire to learn something about our strategy. To them, the President spoke: “To achieve victory over terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al-Qa'ida, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy – how we look at the war, how we see the enemy, how we define victory, and what we’re doing to achieve it. So today, we’re releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq”. I urge all Americans to read it.“
Indeed, this document is a quick read and a good resource for those who are not steeped in the development of national-security strategy and the use of military force to protect our vital national interests. It outlines the short-, medium- and long-term objectives of OIF and notes clearly that "Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror. Failure in Iraq will embolden terrorists and expand their reach; success in Iraq will deal them a decisive and crippling blow. The fate of the greater Middle East – which will have a profound and lasting impact on American security – hangs in the balance.”
As previously noted in this column, we should stay in Iraq – for decades. According to well placed military and intelligence sources, one closely guarded objective in securing a free Iraq is to establish a substantial forward-deployed military capability in the Middle East, which would certainly include personnel but the primary component of which would be massive military-equipment depots that could be tapped for future rapid-deployment military operations in the region.
The new Iraqi government will likely extend an invitation to the U.S. to establish two bases in southern Iraq now that, as you may recall, our friends the Saudis have expelled our fighting forces from their country. The proposed base locations are nowhere near Iraqi urban centers – which is to say, they are highly securable. We expect this new military presence to consist primarily of limited personnel, but with substantial assets transferred from bases in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. This forward-base objective is critical, as our ability to project force in the region quickly without having to ramp up via sea and airlift will greatly contribute to stability in the region.
The bottom line, then, is that we have only two choices in our war with Jihadistan: The Long War or the Short Surrender. Either we continually and vigorously engage terrorists and their state sponsors, and undermine their support by establishing a democratic government in the heart of the Arab world, or we surrender and suffer the consequences, at a cost far greater than 9/11.
As for Reid, Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin and Pelosi, who are willing to politicize OIF as fodder for our midterm elections, all Americans should resoundingly reject their treasonous appeals. We remind them (as we did John Kerry back in ‘04) of North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin’s remarks about the American “peace movement”: Their protests gave enormous resolve to the Communists.
Undoubtedly, the current Democrat “peace movement” is giving enormous resolve to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and the Islamofascists.
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