October 25, 2006

Give War A Chance


This cartoon is from April 14, 2004 and is in our book Black & White World II. Victor Davis Hanson wrote at the time:

[P]eace follows only from the defeat and humiliation of the culpable, not from magnanimity granted to impotent but still proud enemies. ...

We have the force and imagination to succeed on the battlefield and the American people will accept sacrifices for victory. But they will -- and should -- turn on any leader who doesn't fight to win and thereby ensures that we will all pay a far higher price for defeat than we would have for victory.

Bush says he wants "victory" and to "defeat the enemy in Iraq." But what does that mean when, for instance, Islamic militias are still not disarmed? Bush said in April 2004 that "Al Sadr must answer the [murder] charges against him and disband his illegal militia." But al-Sadr was allowed to go free and join the political process, and his Mahdi Army (which killed US soldiers) was not disbanded. Two and half years later, al-Sadr's armed thugs control Sadr City necessitating raids by U.S. and Iraqi troops, raids that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki feels obliged to deny. Just how bad is it? From an AP story:

Reining in the Mahdi Army and militias like it is one of the thorniest problems facing al-Maliki because his fragile Shiite-dominated government derives much of its power from al-Sadr's party and a second political power with a powerful militia, the Supreme Council for the Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI.

It remains to be seen if the American people will turn on Bush. But it's clear he is not fighting to win.

From CNN: Bush acknowledges setbacks in Iraq.

President Bush said Wednesday that he is concerned about the situation in Iraq, but it is "critical" that U.S. troops remain there and oust the insurgents.

"I know many Americans are not satisfied with the situation in Iraq," Bush said in a White House news conference. "I'm not satisfied either."

Accountability in Iraq ultimately "rests with me," the president said, warning Americans not to be discouraged by their discontent over developments in the war. ...

"Despite the difficulties and bloodshed it remains critical that America defeats the enemy in Iraq by helping Iraq build a free nation that can sustain itself and defend itself," Bush said.

Bush conceded that victory is "going to take a long time" and the United States "will not put more pressure on the Iraqi government than it can bear." He also noted, however, that the United States won't wait indefinitely for conditions to improve in the war-torn nation.

UPDATE -- Oct. 30: From the New York Post: KILL MUQTADA NOW by Ralph Peters. (via TIA Daily)

I lost faith in our engagement in Iraq last week. I can pinpoint the moment. It came when I heard that Maliki had demanded - successfully - that our military release a just-captured deputy of Muqtada al-Sadr who was running death squads.

As a former intelligence officer, that told me two things: First, Iraq's prime minister is betting on Muqtada to prevail, not us. Second, Muqtada, not the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is now the most powerful man in Iraq. ...

Our soldiers and Marines are dying to protect a government whose members are scrambling to ally themselves with sectarian militias and insurgent factions. President Bush needs to face reality. The Maliki government is a failure.

There's still a chance, if a slight one, that we can achieve a few of our goals in Iraq - if we let our troops make war, not love. But if our own leaders are unwilling to fight, it's time to leave and let Iraqis fight each other.

Our president owes Iraq's treacherous prime minister nothing. Get tough, or get out.

Posted by Forkum at October 25, 2006 07:16 PM