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How does America win by losing the war in Iraq?

September 22, 2007|By DONALD CURRIER

No matter how we may feel about the wisdom of going into Iraq or the nature and severity of the mistakes made in prosecuting the war, the fact is we are there. We are fighting terrorists and other bad guys, killing people and taking casualties. And the only relevant question is "Shall we keep up the fight or look for a way to quit and come home?"

Either of these courses have consequences, some "pro" and some "con." Keeping up the fight will undoubtedly cost American lives and American treasure. And it will take time - probably years. Those are overriding "cons" in the view of those who want us out of Iraq at all costs.

But, if we are able to decisively defeat the terrorists in Iraq and create some sort of stable democratic government there, we will have denied Islamic terrorists, particularly al Qaeda, one of their most-sought-after objectives - the perceived military defeat of the "Great Satan".

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This would give them a stunning propaganda victory in the Islamic world for recruiting purposes. It would let them use Iraq as a main terrorist base from which to launch future attacks on us and the rest of the free world. Can anyone believe that this can be good for America?

If those in power in our Congress force the other option on us - no matter what it is called - "cut and run," "phased redeployment" or "bring the troops home," there are both "pros" and "cons" for America.

Obviously, we will save lives and war costs that can be spent on social programs here at home. This is a "pro" topping all "cons" in the view of some liberals. (One can only wonder how we ever endured our own Revolution and the many following wars in our history with such an attitude!)

But, what about the "cons?" Osama bin Laden says his jihad will not stop until all infidels are either killed or converted. He said that our personal freedom must be abolished in favor of "Allah's will." He is talking about us! Can anyone explain how leaving Iraq without defeating the terrorists could possibly make us safer in the future?

I have pointed out that "perception is reality." People act on what they believe is true, not what really is true. Will failing to defeat al Qaeda in Iraq reinforce the perception that we can be defeated over time, even in our homeland, because we don't have the courage to take casualties or the will to do what it takes to save our way of life?

Will such a perception discourage other countries from joining us in this worldwide fight? Will our friends in the free world trust that we will be there to help if the terrorists strike them?

Will the perception that we are militarily strong but morally weak encourage other potential jihadists around the world to take up bin Laden's crusade to change the world?

One more time: Tell us how we can win by losing.

Donald Currier is a Smithsburg-area resident who writes for

The Herald-Mail.

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