Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Moral Clarity on Iraq.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s speech to the American Legion on Tuesday has stirred commentary and criticism over remarks comparing today’s war critics to history’s appeasers and isolationists. Important democrats like Ted Kennedy seem particularly offended by Rumsfeld quoting any history, other than the history of the Vietnam War. Vietnam is the only historical event that many left wing critics want referenced in the ongoing national debate about security, terrorism, and Iraq. Rumsfeld critics should have been paying attention last Saturday to his dialogue with a protester

“Get us out of Iraq now!” A voice yelled from the crowd.

“I know the feeling!” Rumsfeld replied.

Obviously Rumsfeld, Bush, the entire administration, and the US military would all like the War in Iraq to be over. It has hurt them politically, both internationally and domestically. The issue hovers over the coming midterm elections like giant black cloud for republican candidates. And it certainly threatens to stain a historical perspective of this Bush administration if there is no positive resolution. I certainly would like to see us end our massive involvement in Iraq. But like the administration, and most Americans I know that simply pulling out immediately is not the answer.

It is to those critics who want an immediate withdrawal that Rumsfeld aimed Tuesday’s remarks. They who display a moral and intellectual confusion. Indeed why do the media report every incidence of alleged military misconduct, but almost none of the hundreds of incidents of valor? Why are some Americans willing to equate such incidents of misconduct with the systematic brutality of men like Saddam Hussein, bin Laden and Zarqawi? What is the solution to the ambitions of such men to dominate the Islamic world and to make unfettered war upon those of us who live in western democracies?

A question worth exploring is who, besides the American and European left wants us out Iraq immediately? Well we can count on the opposition forces in Iraq. Zarqawi’s heirs in al-Qaeda in Iraq, Saddam’s heirs in what remains of the Sunni-Baathist Movement, and many of the devotees of Moqtada Sadr in the Shiite Mahdi’s Army backed by Iran.

Which brings us to outsiders who want us out of Iraq. First and foremost, is the current Iranian regime under President Ahmadinejad, who is forthright about his desire to re-enact the holocaust. Iran certainly stands to gain much from a US withdrawal. Possibly regional hegemony, if they managed to help ensure a radical Shiite state in all or part of Iraq. Then there’s Bin Laden and the rest of the al-Qaeda gang who are rooting against us. A retreat from Iraq would certainly brighten their day, hence the efforts they go to in order to import a continuing stream of money and terrorists to fight our soldiers and intimidate democracy minded Iraqis.
Who else? Well there’s the rest of the anti American mid-east, Syria and clients Hamas and Hezbollah. They're having a banner year in terms of propaganda. Why wouldn’t we want to throw them a bone? Then there are the remaining anti-American states, like North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. The ability to proclaim American fecklessness would surely embolden all these actors to strategies not in the national interest here in the states.

So who, aside from myself, Bush and Rumsfeld stands against withdrawal? Well for starters there are the Iraqi people, who turned out in huge numbers to vote in three elections in the past two years. Now someone is going to say: “Such and such poll says that Iraqis want the Americans to leave.” Sure it just doesn’t say they want us to leave now. The same holds true here in the US. Despite dissatisfaction with the war, most Americans are against a Murtha-esque evacuation of Iraq.

In fact most Democrats, including most Democrats in congress recognize the importance of a continued US presence in Iraq. But there remains a loud chorus of Ned Lamonts, John Kerrys, John Murthas and Ted Kennedys in the Democratic party echoing the cries of the far left, and finding a ready amplifier in the press. This begs the question: why do these Americans find common cause with our enemy?

This is not to assert that the conduct of the war is above criticism. There have certainly been mistakes made at every level from President Bush to Private Snuffy. An honest review of “what went wrong” can and will assist us defeating the forces arrayed against us. Overly negative diagnosis of the current dilemma and a hasty ill advised remedy will only help our foes. But to many on the left, in the media, and in a vocal faction of the Democratic party, there is only a mantra calling for immediate withdrawal. This is the sound of moral and intellectual confusion which continues to give no small comfort to our enemies.


Post a Comment

<< Home