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Mark Alexander / Aug. 19, 2005

We should stay in Iraq — for decades

The usual Demo-gogue suspects – Kennedy, Kerry and company – are increasing the tenor of their demands that the Bush administration commit to a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. A few misguided Republicans have even signed on to this legislative folly. Insisting that we cap our military support for the new Iraqi government is a dangerous political ploy intended to help Demos rally their peacenik constituency in the run-up to next year’s midterm elections. Dangerous, because challenging the administration to agree to a timetable only emboldens Jihadis, who would very much like to move the frontlines of the Long War from their turf to ours.

The Demos know President George Bush will not agree to such a timetable. As the president has said repeatedly, “Our exit strategy is to exit when our mission is complete.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld protests that any such deadline for withdrawal would “throw a lifeline to terrorists.” Indeed, but it is always easier to sell anti-war rhetoric like “give peace a chance” than it is to advocate peace through superior firepower, and to use force in defense of critical U.S. national interests.

For eight long years, the Clinton administration pursued a policy of appeasement, particularly in regard to Middle Eastern policy and pursuit of Islamic terrorists. Terrorists were classified as mere “criminals” then, including those Jihadi fanatics who first bombed the WTC’s north tower in 1993, who bombed the Khobar Towers in 1996, who bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and who bombed the USS Cole in 2000. Consequently, Clinton’s negligent inaction emboldened this enemy, and the result was a devastating attack on our homeland just months after the Bush administration took office in 2001.

“Peace” had its chance under Clinton, but President Bush made the difficult decision to give war a chance. Remarkably, the outcome has, to date, pre-empted any further attacks on U.S. soil – which was, after all, its primary objective. The transition from an ineffectual policy of containment to one of pre-emption was the most significant strategic military shift since WWII. To be sure, there have been setbacks, and President Bush bears a heavy and heartfelt burden for those uniformed Patriots who have given their lives to protect ours.

If we did check out of Iraq, as suggested by a growing chorus on the Left, al-Qa'ida and other Islamists will not only rule that nation – they will eventually control the entire region, with the possible exception of Israel. The “exit timetable” crowd knows this, but that hasn’t prevented them from using this issue as political fodder – and from using it to undermine support for our military personnel and our operations in the Middle East. Of course, this places both those personnel and our national security in peril.

One need only ask the exit advocates, “Exit where, and for how long?” Because we didn’t finish the job in Operation Desert Storm, we had to return with Operation Iraqi Freedom. Reality dictates that if we don’t finish the job now, we’ll have to return again, and likely at a far greater cost in terms of American lives.

Not only should we not set a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, but we should seek to establish an alliance with the Iraqi government in order to maintain a strong military presence in the region. How long? As long as there are Islamofascists bent on detonating a nuclear device in some U.S. urban center and sending our nation into economic ruin.

According to The Patriot’s well-placed military and intelligence sources, one closely guarded objective in securing a free Iraq is to establish a forward-deployed presence in the Middle East – a presence that would certainly include personnel but whose primary component would be massive military-equipment depots that could be tapped for future rapid-deployment military operations in the region.

This forward-base objective is critical, given that it will ensure our military presence in the heart of Jihadistan, and an ability to project force in the region quickly without having to ramp up via sea and airlift. This alone will pay rich dividends by way of maintaining peace through preparedness.

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.

Of course, those who claim that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is the problem will wail about the establishment of permanent base operations in the region. Fact is, however, until the last Israeli is dead and the West no longer dominates the world economy (and, thus, culture), Jihadis will not rest.

Previously, this column has outlined the nature of asymmetric threats like Islamist terrorist regimes – some given safe harbor by Islamic states, some seeking to create new Islamofascist states. On the importance of our holding the frontline against Jihadistan in Iraq, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recently wrote: “The war in Iraq is less about geopolitics than about the clash of ideologies, culture and religious beliefs. Because of the long reach of the Islamist challenge, the outcome in Iraq will have an even deeper significance than that in Vietnam. If a Taliban-type government or a fundamentalist radical state were to emerge in Baghdad or any part of Iraq, shock waves would ripple through the Islamic world. Radical forces in Islamic countries or Islamic minorities in non-Islamic countries would be emboldened in their attacks on existing governments. The safety and internal stability of all societies within reach of militant Islam would be imperiled.”

Indeed, the safety and stability of the free world would be imperiled.

This is the Long War, Islamofascism is the enemy, and Iraq is the front line. If we are serious about pre-empting Jihadi terrorism (despite Demo political mischief), we must not abandon Iraq. Of course, if we follow the Kennedy and Kerry plan, Islamofascists, who will control the region, won’t have to attack on U.S. soil, they will just cut off U.S. oil – and bring the entire West to its knees – until it submits to Islam.

Of course, no Western political leader is going allow that scenario – not even Jacques Chirac or Gerhard Schroeder. These Jihadi cave dwellers, the Islamists who fly planes into buildings and bomb Iraqi children at open markets, don’t share Western (predominantly Judeo-Christian) values. To be sure, they have no compunction about reducing your standard of living to something less than their subsistence – and they will, given the opportunity.

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