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Do you want us to win or lose in Iraq?

February 10, 2007|by DONALD CURRIER

I'm going to talk about winning or losing in Iraq as of right now at the beginning of 2007. What happened in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 cannot be changed nor reversed.

History is not like a VCR tape that can be rewound and written over. We are in the "now" so let us think in terms of "now" and the future instead of dwelling on the past.

The past, including the good, the bad and the ugly - and there were plenty of each - is truly past and unrecoverable.

What is "winning" in Iraq from the American point of view in 2007? It is to leave Iraq with a functioning democracy that is capable of governing itself and defending itself from all enemies foreign and domestic.

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Note the word "leave" in this sentence. We'll talk about losing later.

In 2007, we have a wholly new cast of characters running American operations in Iraq. The commander on the ground will be Gen. Petraeus, just unanimously confirmed by the Senate. The new Secretary of Defense,, Robert Gates, is in place.

A new strategy based on a first-time insurgency doctrine whose creation was supervised by Gen. Petraeus has been published and distributed. It will guide the actions of both American and Iraqi forces on how to win against insurgencies. At long last, the Iraqi government has taken the first steps toward quelling the cycle of internal violence among the various Iraqi religious groups.

The president has decided that now is the time to reinforce our forces in Baghdad and Anbar Province. The purpose is to help the new Iraqi Army to clear and hold, once and for all, parts of these vital areas now overrun by the terrorists and insurgents.

Success will help to stabilize the government and provide hope of a peaceful future to the people of Iraq. This, according to the president, is the surest way to end our operations in Iraq and allow us to redeploy our forces out of harms way. He asks our patience to let this plan of action succeed.

Many in Congress, the press and ordinary citizens oppose this action. They refuse to recognize it as a real change in strategy which might be the last chance to win America's fight in Iraq.

The naysayers look only to the past and ignore the fundamental changes that 2007 brings. They offer all kinds of criticisms and claims that Iraq is a lost cause and the quicker we get out the better. But they offer no concrete plans of their own to win. In essence they seem to be banking on a loss, not a victory in any form.

The fact is that our forces are commanded by only one Commander in Chief, the president. Senators, representatives, members of the press and all of the organized protesters do not supercede the president's constitutionally defined role. They can cause him grief, they can curse and revile him, but they try to usurp his power at their peril!

Why? Because they will then be seen as being responsible for the consequences to America and the free world if Iraq descends into chaos and the rest of the Middle East follows. This is the meaning of losing.

Here are the consequences to the United States if we leave Iraq in a shambles and are perceived by the world to have lost the fight against the terrorists.

First, all who have allied themselves with United States policies in the Middle East will re-evaluate their positions. Can we ever count on U.S. promises when things are tough? Is Islamic fundamentalism unstoppable? What is the future of the U.S. in the world, politically, economically and militarily?

Israel will question: "What can we count on other than words if Iran gets the bomb and the means for delivery? Do we dare wait and see or should we massively strike Iran now?"

Lebanon will succumb without a struggle to Hezbollah.

The Sunni-dominated Saudis and the gulf emirates will initiate some armed conflict with the Shia of Iran and Iraq or they will attempt to buy the terrorists off by acceding to their demands to cut oil supplies to the U.S. Oil is still the most dangerous weapon against us and will remain so for many years.

It will be apparent that the U.S. populace has no appetite for any foreign wars. We can expect major turmoil in the South American area fomented by the likes of Chavez and Ortega, who know that we will not fight for democracy anywhere.

China will not fear us as a Pacific power and will move at will to assume hegemony over all of the Pacific Rim countries.

O.K. folks, think about it. Do you want the United States to lose in Iraq? If you don't, then speak up for winning there!

Donald Currier is a Smithsburg-area resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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