Thursday, June 05, 2008

When Do We Leave Iraq?

With Iraq toll down, U.S. more optimistic

This needs to be re-iterated. 6 years after the invasion, people seem to have forgotten all the arguements for and against the war that we debated quite extensively before the war.
Why We Went to Iraq by Fauad Ajami

"Liberal opinion in America and Europe may have scoffed when President Bush drew a strict moral line between order and radicalism – he even inserted into the political vocabulary the unfashionable notion of evil – this sort of clarity is in the nature of things in that Greater Middle East. It is in categories of good and evil that men and women in those lands describe their world. The unyielding campaign waged by this president made a deep impression on them.

Nowadays, we hear many who have never had a kind word to say about the Iraq War pronounce on the retreat of the jihadists. It is as though the Islamists had gone back to their texts and returned with second thoughts about their violent utopia. It is as though the financiers and the "charities" that aided the terror had reconsidered their loyalties and opted out of that sly, cynical trade. Nothing could be further from the truth. If Islamism is on the ropes, if the regimes in the saddle in key Arab states now show greater resolve in taking on the forces of radicalism, no small credit ought to be given to this American project in Iraq.

We should give the "theorists" of terror their due and read them with some discernment. To a man, they have told us that they have been bloodied in Iraq, that they have been surprised by the stoicism of the Americans, by the staying power of the Bush administration."

Reagan was mocked for his leadership in confronting Communism. He was told to compromise, that he was unreasonable even belligerant.

Reagan was right.

No one was impressed by poetry reading pansies emoting at the Berlin Wall, but Reagan's words demanding that Gorbachev tear down this wall resonated from eastern Europe to Siberia, around kitchen tables and in food lines. Prisoners in the Gulags tapped on the plumbing in code passing word of what Reagan said. It is men of conviction and steadfastness who change history.

With the luxury of hindsight, the critics of the war now depict the arguments made for it as a case of manipulation and deceit. This is odd and misplaced: The claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were to prove incorrect, but they were made in good faith.

It is also obtuse and willful to depict in dark colors the effort made to "sell" the war. Wars can't be waged in stealth, and making the moral case for them is an obligation incumbent on the leaders who launch them. If anything, there were stretches of time, and critical turning points, when the administration abdicated the fight for public opinion.

Emphasis mine.

When we entered Iraq, I knew it would be an 8-10 year commitment of troops, and probably longer for military support. that is the standard number for a counterinsurgency. Contrary to popular opinion - more specifically the deluded notions of academia, the media, and the peace movement types - insurgencies have a poor record of success against regular armies and established governments.

Now that success is undeniable: The enemy demoralized, the Iraqi army showing mettle, US casualties down, entire neighborhoods, cities and provinces turning against Al Queda, Iranian backed Shi'ite leaders scurrying away like cockroaces to Iran... there is a refrain from the left to the effect: "Can we leave now?" The answer is 'no'. One of the problems with the anti-military left is immaturity. Wars are commitments more serious than any marriage. Once you are in a war, you are in it to the end, no matter how long or bitter. Weshould leave when we are done and not before.

"If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a small chance of survival. There may even be a worse case: you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." - Winston Churchill