Archive for Saturday, April 12, 2008

U.S. must show commitment in Iraq

April 12, 2008


Observing the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, before the Senate Armed Services Committee, one profound truth came shining through. And it was Ambassador Crocker who uttered it, as he summarized what the United States faces on two battlefields - the one in Iraq and the political one at home, a major part of which is the presidential campaign.

Crocker said, "Developments over the last seven months have strengthened my sense of a positive trend. Immense challenges remain and progress is uneven and often frustratingly slow, but there is progress." And then Crocker added, "Sustaining that progress will require continuing U.S. resolve and commitment. What has been achieved is substantial but it is also reversible."

Only those politically invested in the defeat of their own country - a sad state to be in - would deny that progress has been made toward Iraq's establishment as a functioning government and more stable country. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted recently, when the surge began last year, "al-Qaida dominated large swaths of central Iraq, Baghdad was a killing zone, Sunni and Shiites were heading toward civil war, and the Iraqi government was seen as a failure. : Today, al-Qaida has been cleared from all but the northern reaches of Anbar and Divala Provinces, Iraqis feel safe enough to resume normal lives, Sunni sheiks are working with coalition forces, and the long process of Sunni-Shiite political reconciliation has begun."

What's not to like about that? Apparently plenty, if you are a Democratic presidential candidate, or part of the Democratic congressional leadership that is an appendage of and other far-left groups. These cannot allow even the perception, much less acknowledge the reality of success, lest voters reward John McCain for his good judgment to support the surge and the objectives of the war or, heaven forbid, make the reviled George W. Bush look good.

This is where polarized politics has taken us. Not even war is a good enough reason to support a president of the other party, if opposition strengthens the possibility of political victory, even if this opposition makes victory on the battlefield more difficult for those doing the fighting.

Is there any doubt that, as in Vietnam, our enemies are encouraged by domestic war opponents and believe that if they can just hang on through the next inauguration, they might achieve victory?

While the road is difficult, because this war is not limited to Iraq or Afghanistan, but is worldwide, there are many reasons to be cautiously optimistic. As David Brooks noted in the New York Times, "Iraqis are growing more optimistic. Fifty-five percent of Iraqis say their lives are going well, up from 39 percent last August, according to a poll conducted by ABC News and other global television networks. Forty-nine percent now say the U.S. was right to invade Iraq, the highest figure recorded since this poll began in 2004."

Another positive is the provincial elections scheduled for October with national elections to follow.

Does anyone find it strange that support for U.S. efforts to quell the violence is higher in Iraq than in the United States? What is responsible for this approval gap? Part of the explanation is that too many Americans - including much of the media - have grown tired of the war. We want to move on to more pleasant things, like celebrities and the babies they are having out of wedlock.

The enemies of freedom - ours and Iraq's - would be happy to see us return to such trivialities while they focus on winning their war.

As Ambassador Crocker put it, what is needed is resolve and commitment. Al-Qaida and other enemies of the United States seem to have it. They are betting we don't. We'll soon know who is right.

- Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps because he's always wrong in ways too numerous to count.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 9 months ago

"Leftists have never cared about helping the people in Iraq."How is the right's solution, killing them by the hundreds of thousands and destroying their country, helping them?

erod0723 9 years, 9 months ago

What is Cal Thomas smoking? For that mater, what are Crocker and Petreus smoking? There is NO military solution possible, and we are only breeding hatred and terrorism by our presence there. Our country is dangerously unprepared for a domestic attack, and our troops are stretched beyond the breaking point. This war will bankrupt us. Bring our troops home!

erod0723 9 years, 9 months ago

Another thing, the whole "Al Qaeda in Iraq" thing is a bunch of BS. They number less than 1000 people, in a country of millions. Also, they only started calling themselves Al Qeda because they knew it would get them attention. They aren't even in contact with the real Al Qaeda. I find it funny that Harderfaster is "concerned" about the people of Iraq. It seems that there was much more peace before we illegally invaded. The situation on the ground is not good. When you are paying groups to not attack you, it is not meant to last. Plus, who can forget Blackwater, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Stop Loss, $12 bil that just disappeared, and many other "successes". How blind can you be?

camper 9 years, 9 months ago

One step up, two steps back. Doesn't sound like progress to me. Staying in Iraq may create stability, but it will only be a result of future generations being accustomed to foreign presence...similar to Europe after WWII. But even this could take decades, and cultural differences even make this scenario seem unlikely.

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