Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Say it ain't so

It's still November, but the chorus of Democrats calling for a withdrawal from Iraq reaches ever new crescendos each day. The distinguished Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has recently flexed his formidable oratorical muscles by adding to the call for retreat.

The Senator, whose military credentials I seem to have misplaced along with my bifocals (I don't have bifocals), feels that the threat of a U.S. pullout, to be followed by an actual U.S. pullout, will prompt the Iraqi government to reach into their trench coats, and produce a miraculous drug, perhaps the product of some alchemy, which will quickly and expeditiously dispatch the foreign terrorists, end the civil strife, and generally just make everything copacetic.

None of this, of course, will happen. Certainly not if rush to pull out of Iraq. Kissinger may have said the war is un-winnable, and he is probably right. But we also have to ask why we are in Iraq right now. Surely, not to win in the conventional sense.

Rather, at the very least our presence in Iraq is a message that the U.S. will not run away from a terrorist threat. Among the many other reasons that can be listed, our military force also remains a thorn in the side of Iranian and Syrian demagogues with hopes of greater influence. The recent assassination of a Christian Lebanese Cabinet Minister is one example.

No, the Iraq War cannot be won in a conventional sense, but it can be lost miserably. But let me be clear... I'm not asking the Democrats to pour more troops into Iraq (that probably wouldn't make much difference). I do not even suggest that we increase spending on the war. But I do request that we muzzle our belligerent isolationist, defeatist attitudes (By we, I mean mostly Democrats) at the very least until the Baker Commission and the independent Senate review are complete.

Democrats, I understand that you have been hungry for power, and eager to leave your mark on American politics after many years in a vacuum... the black hole also known as the minority party. But please just keep your heads screwed on straight and get real, at least for a little while. (Focus on earmarks and lobbyists for now, you can score some quick victories there.)

Standing on stage, pontificating about the ill-conceived war (and it was) and the quickest way out might have won you some votes, and may endear you to your base. But such rhetoric will not help us fight terrorism, it will not strengthen our hand in the region, and will not help us defeat the insurgents in Iraq.

This type of conversation is not good for America. Not right now.

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