Frank Gaffney has an excellent column on Military.com today that examines the price of cutting and running in Iraq, titled Sounding Retreat.
The defeatists typically offer two rationalizations for this course of action. The first contends that we need to retreat so as to compel the Iraqis to make the "tough decisions" about their own future that our presence and support allows them to postpone.
Unfortunately, the decisions that will almost certainly flow from the perception -- let alone the reality -- that America is once again abandoning the Iraqi people will translate into the rise of another repressive authoritarian regime there, this time probably one closely aligned with Iran. Such an outcome would not be good for freedom-loving people in Iraq and elsewhere, including here.
The defeatists' second rationale is even more disingenuous. They complain bitterly that we do not have enough troops in Iraq to win. Yet, with few exceptions, they are unwilling either to increase the deployment there or otherwise to build up our military to contend with current and future needs.
This line fails to acknowledge that war is a come-as-you-are affair. The United States faced the dangerous post-9/11 world with the armed forces and defense industrial base it had left following the 1990s, when many of today's defeatists cashed in yesterday's so-called "peace dividend." It takes a relatively short time to dismantle large parts of our military's power-projection capabilities and infrastructure, and decades to reconstitute them.
Gaffney's right. We need to get our heads in the game and focus on defeating the insurgency in Iraq. Call it "redeployment" if you want, but if we leave Iraq now, we are retreating in the face of the enemy. Doing that will only embolden them. Don't believe me? Think this is just right wing hyperbole? Let's consult an expert on al Qaeda. Not some wannabe pundit from the media. Most of those clowns didn't know al Qaeda from Al Bundy before 9/11. I'm talking about the man who knows more about AQ than anyone: Usama bin Laden. From his 1996 fatwa:
But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu.
So tell me, how will adding Baghdad to that list make us any safer? How will it weaken al Qaeda? Bin Laden and his fellow travelers think the US is a paper tiger. How will proving him right further our interests? The short answer to each of these questions is: it won't. That being said, I have one more question: whose interests are the rereatists trying to serve? It's obviously not ours.
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