What Everyone Should Know about Iraq

“Phased withdrawal” and “troop caps” are euphemisms for “retreat and defeat” in Iraq. In recent years, U.S. withdrawals have become an all too familiar pattern for the United States: Vietnam, Beirut and Somalia. This behavior has empowered the radical forces seeking to destroy us.Iraq is the most deadly battlefield on which the war on terror is being fought. On one side are the extremists sponsored by Iran and Syria. On the other side are the moderates and those favoring democracy in the fledgling government backed up by United States troops. In the middle are an under-trained military and millions of innocent civilians.

The problem is one of security in the region and trust in our resolve to stay until the government can stand on its own. Without the former, the Iraqi government cannot function and gain the support of the people. Without the latter, those elected to run the country will continue to compromise with local militias in an effort to survive after we leave.

The political rhetoric that has undermined the support for the war has exacerbated a situation that has deteriorated because of military leaders who favored a “light footprint” in the region with the expectation that the Iraqi military now would be able to stand on its own.

War has never been an exact science, nor has building democratic institutions. However, to abandon this mission is a prescription for disaster, not only for the people of Iraq but for the United States of America. Make no mistake – if we turn tail and run, the terrorists will follow us home.

Osama bin Laden and his radical followers see a world ruled by the defenders of Islam. The “final phase” of their struggle with “the infidels” is with the two superpowers: Russia and the United States. After the Russians were driven out of Afghanistan, the al-Qaida leader boldly proclaimed, “Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two. Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy.”

In the 1990s, bin Laden proceeded to prove his theory. His attacks on our embassies, ships and barracks produced nothing more than angry rhetoric from the Clinton administration and a few misdirected missiles to uninhabited places.

Not surprising, on 9-1l, bin Laden took his jihad into the enemy camp and prepared for a final victory. The resolve of George W. Bush was a shocking surprise. It is no accident that there has not been another attack on our shores!

The issue of whether we should have gone into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein as a threat is no longer relevant. Based on the intelligence we had at the time, it was the right thing to do and, bear in mind, it was the Clinton administration that weakened our intelligence-gathering capabilities.

Before the war in Iraq began, Gen. Colin Powell warned us, “You break it, you bought it.” Like it or not, Iraq is our country until it can stand on its feet. We can leave it in pieces to be devoured and ruled by the strongest terrorist in the region, or we can stay the course.

Does anyone remember the fear of Saddam’s army and his elite Republican Guard invoked by the doves in this country before the Gulf War? What was going to be a bloodbath in reality was more like a bubble bath! Soon after the war began, Iraqi forces were surrendering to reporters and camera crews, anyone at all. They turned out to be ill-trained paper tigers.

One of the mistakes made in the war on Iraq is that we dismantled what was left of Saddam’s army. When we put it back together again, we expected it would be formidable in no time at all. This was naive wishful thinking!

For the Democrats and a few weak-kneed Republicans to suggest that this army should be able stand up and defend Baghdad after so little time is like telling a bunch of kindergarteners to take care of themselves.

If we leave and Iraq falls to the strongest of the terrorists, this will demoralize friends like Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. Iraq, again, will become a training ground for those bent on destroying us. The new Iraqi leader may not be the one with the means to do that, but al-Qaida and the rogue nations will no longer have to deal with the possibility of a free Iraq and U.S. ally in the region. Our enemies will be free to concentrate its efforts on bringing down the most powerful but timid country in the world.

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