I have argued that we need to be patient and steady when dealing with the Iraq policy. Today in the WaPo editorial page a soldier, who is going back to Iraq for the third time, says it far, far better than I ever could. Here are a couple of snippets:
"It is difficult for most Americans to rationalize this optimism in the face of the horrific images and depressing stories that have come to symbolize the war in Iraq. Most of the violent news is true; the death and destruction are very real. But experienced military officers know that the horror stories, however dramatic, do not represent the broader conditions there or the chances for future success. For every vividly portrayed suicide bombing, there are hundreds of thousands of people living quiet, if often uncertain, lives. For every depressing story of unrest and instability there is an untold story of potential and hope. The impression of Iraq as an unfathomable quagmire is false and dangerously misleading."
"Anyone who has spent even a day in the Middle East should know that the Arab street would not thank us for abandoning Iraq. The blame for civil war would fall squarely on our shoulders. It is unlikely that the tentative experiments in democracy we have seen in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and elsewhere would survive the fallout. There would be no dividend of goodwill from heartbroken intellectuals or emboldened Islamic extremists. American troops might be home in the short run, but the experienced professionals know that in the long run, quitting Iraq would mean more deployments, more desperate battles and more death."
Chew on this Yellow Spined Democrats.
Thank you MC. Major Ben Connable.
Hat Tip: Instapundit
PS. Here is a comment I made over at Miserable Donuts a couple of weeks ago.
"Does the Left consider losing winning?"
It depends on what the definition of losing is:-)
I find it amazing that those on the left, who are so energized by "ideals", "isms", and the power of the "movement" du jour, remain so ignorant of the ways in which these very things succeed and / or fail. The current WOT is like many others we have fought before; wars in which we are pitted against those who believe they should and will dominate us; that in some way or another we are, either because of race or religion or econo-governmental philosophy, we are inferior and should die. We have fought for the ideal and popular notions of liberty and independence from 1776 - 1783. We have fought against nationalism" and fascism" in WW's 1 & 2. We have fought against communism in Korea and Vietnam. All these wars have something in common. They were all driven by the belief, by one side or another, that their philosophy or way of life was better than that of the opponent or current populous. This is no different in the WOT. Of these wars, only one have we ended up on the wrong side of the winners circle, Vietnam (Korea was a push). Messer’s t.b. and his like absolutely MUST study an honest assessment of both how we failed in Vietnam, and the strategies Gen. Gaip used so well to defeat our will to fight.
Communism's promise of true equality and better living conditions for all was already a popular idea in the region as France's version of western style governance had done little to improve the lives of the ordinary Vietnamese (yeah, I know blame the French). We not only lost because the U.S. public lost its will to fight, and the war was poorly micromanaged by politicians (yes that's a warning to the Dems in congress), but we also lost because we failed to show the Vietnam population that our way could provide a better way of life.
Militarily, the Viet Cong lost the three month long tet offensive. But when Giap saw how the U.S. was reporting that as a U.S. defeat, he knew that he didn't have to win militarily, that all he had to do was keep our casualties mounting and we would lose our will to fight. He was right. Even if we would have "won" the Vietnam war. We may very well have lost the region at a later date because the "idea" of Communism looked more attractive than the what ever we could have provided at the time.
Though the Viet Cong killed and butchered far far more innocent civilians than we did, they won more followers because they had BETTER propaganda, which was partially supplied by us (thank you Dan "It's A Fake!" Rather). We only reported how many of our troops died or how many civilians WE killed, accidental or not. Our free press virtually ignored the vicious slaughter of innocents and massive body count incurred at the hand of the Viet Cong. And they never reported any hard-fought U.S victories as victories. Because people died, all battles were portrayed as failures. Sound familiar?
Hopefully, I don't need to spell out the root of the conflict in the WOT. But I will say this. Look at the attention that Murtha's reckless "Army is broken" comments are getting in our press vs that of fellow Democrat Lieberman's more optimistic WSJ Op Ed. piece. Consider this. If Murtha is right, where are the Democratic proposals to funnel billions into the military budget to help fix the broken Army??? Don't tell me that kind of bill would never get through Congress because, of coarse, no politician would want to show how much MORE stuff they're giving to the military during a time of war. And you can (and probably do) dismiss Lieberman as a tool of the administration, even though he WAS Al Gore's running mate a few years ago, and by you accounts, should be the VP. Fine. But what is his motivation for doing this Op. Ed.? More important however. WHAT IF HE'S RIGHT IN HIS ASSESMENT??? And you wonder why the Pentagon has been giving positive stories to the Iraqi press. They HAVE TO, unless they want to loose in Iraq as they did in Vietnam.
Now, t.b., I'm not going to argue whether this war was planned well from the beginning, or that we didn't have enough troops or blah, blah, blah. All leaders on all side make all sorts of errors and blunders when fighting wars, as is evident if you study the history of all the wars I mentioned in the first paragraph. We can't just come home and forget we were ever in Iraq. In the short term, we may save a few American solders lives. Bbut in the long term, if we leave before the Iraqi government has a change to stand on it's own and defend itself from the violence that will continue no matter when we leave, then doesn't it make more sense to leave at a point when the Iraqi goevnment is ready and not before? Unless, of coarse, you wan't Iraq to fail, you have no faith in the Iraqi people and in the power and appeal of liberty and democratic rule.