Iraq War – Should we Leave? Part V

Posted By Elgin Hushbeck

Last time I looked at the inconsistency involved in the anti-wars movement’s supposed concern for the Iraqi people and their opposition then later support for sanctions. But this is not the only place where they anti-war crowd has consistency problems. One thing I really find strange about the anti-war crowds calls to leave Iraq now, is that I can remember all the discussions I had with those on the left throughout the 1990s. One of the constant criticisms I heard in those discussions was that Bush’s father left Iraq “before finishing the job.” I remember it very well because even at the time it struck me as strange. While I disagreed with the decision not to go to Bagdad, for I believed that it would eventually mean a second Gulf war with even higher casualties, I at least understood why he made his decision. Still, I would ask these liberals, ok, if Bush didn’t finish the job, should Clinton go back in and finish it? What I normally go back was simply a repeat of the mantra that Bush didn’t finish the job.

This criticism of the first Bush was even voiced during the Presidential debate between Bush and Gore in 2000. During the debate Gore proclaimed “I was one of the few members of my political party to support former President Bush in the Persian Gulf War resolution.” Gore then he went on to say that “for whatever reason, it was not finished in a way that removed Saddam Hussein from power.” But criticism was not enough. Attempting to show how strong a leader he was, Gore when on to say that he wanted “to go further. I want to give robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein.”

Yet now that this President Bush has “gone further” and actually did “finish the job” by removing Saddam so that he could pay for is crimes, many of these same people who complained that his father didn’t finish the job now complain that this President Bush did, frequently with explanations about how they knew all along how unwise it was. Even so, most do not, at least yet, go to the obvious conclusion of their reasoning, i.e. that we should have left Saddam in power. This is because they probably realize that had Saddam been left in power, by now the sanctions would have collapsed, Saddam would have put into action his plans to restart his programs for WMDs, such that we would now be facing both and Iran and Iraq working towards nuclear weapons.

Another place where anti-war activist strenuously avoid obvious conclusions is the fact that their action do encourage and embolden our enemy. Like the North Vietnamese, al Qaeda is encouraged by the anti-war movement. They see the majority of the battle as taking place in the media and are counting on the media and the anti-war movement to undermine public support for the war so that they can prevail. They, it seems, have learned the lessons of Vietnam very well, and in fact it is not at all certain that there strategy will fail. If the Democrats succeed in forcing a early withdrawal from Iraq, the al Qaeda’s strategy will have been vindicated.

When the obvious is pointed out, the Anti-war activist of course object strenuously, normally by raising the strawman that they are being called unpatriotic, or un-American. Like most logical fallacies, the main aim of such strawman arguments is to shift attention away from the real issue. The real issue is how can doing exactly what the enemy is hoping for, not be an encouragement to them? Has there ever been a time in the history of the world when one side in a war was not encouraged when the other side retreated? Anti-War supporters may object to any attempt to portray pulling our troops as “retreat” or “cut and run” but just as the anti-war activist were an encouragement to the North Vietnamese, the anti-war activist now calling for exactly what the terrors are hoping for must be an encouragement to them.

Yet that does not stop those against the war from complaining. Congressman John Murtha, objecting to a statement by Carl Rove about democrats “cutting and running” strangely defended his withdrawal plan by saying “When we went to Beirut, I, I said to President Reagan, ‘Get out.’ … We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision” What makes this so strange is that bin Laden has cited our actions in both Beirut and Somalia in his 1996 fatwa as reasons why he believed Al Qaeda could defeat the U.S..

Anti-War supporter and retired general William E. Odom also had a strange defense of the claim that “cutting and running” would “embolden the insurgency.” Odom wrote “There is no question the insurgents and other anti-American parties will take over the government once we leave. But that will happen no matter how long we stay.” In other words, we have already lost so we might has well quit now. This is pretty much what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid recently said, when he claimed “this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything.” These were strange comments, given the fact that at the time he made his comments the surge had not even reached full strength yet. It was also strange given the opinions of many of the troops, and the statement of General Petraeus a month earlier, that while there was “a long way to go” there were “improvements – major improvements.” One thing is certain. If we decide that we have lost in Iraq and leave, then not only will we have lost, but the terrorist will have won and will move on to the next battle. We will be weakened, they will be strengthened and that will not be good.

Jul 23rd, 2007

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