Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Obama Disparages The Military & Gets A Pass On Iraq From Fox News

Whether to withdraw from Iraq has tremendous ramifications for our national security, given the effect such a withdrawal would have on Salafi terrorism and Khomeinist adventurism. Yet not a single Democrat has been seriously questioned on this by the MSM. The opportunity presented itself last night. After President Bush gave his State of the Union, Fox News reporter Major Garrett inteviewed Obama. A tenth grader interviewing Obama for the highschool newspaper could have done a better job.

Garrett asked Obama whether he thought that the surge had been a success, but Obama refused to characterize it as such. Obama acknowledged the security gains our soldiers have made in Iraq, but then termed what our soldiers are doing there to be an "occupation." Obama did not acknowledge any of the political progress by the Iraqi government towards reconciliation - that being the Iraqi Paliament's recent passage of the de-Baathification law and a law to allow former Baathists to collect government pensions. Instead, Obama stated that there has been insufficient political movement towards reconciliation to justify continuing our "occupation." Major Garrett let him get away with it without any followup.

As a threshold matter, calling our presence in Iraq an "occupation" is a slanderous mischaracterization. An occupation means that a hostile military force is exercising authority over enemy lands. There have been many "occupations" of foreign countries over the past century. One such was the Soviet occupation of much of Eastern Europe after WWII that only ended in the 80's when the Soviet Union imploded. And there is China's ongoing occupation of Tibet.

To characterize what we are doing in Iraq as an occupation dishonors our soldiers and their mission in Iraq. Our soldiers are fighting dying in Iraq to defeat terrorists that ultimately threaten our nation and to bring security and democracy to Iraq. We are fighting to win the peace from people who wish to turn Iraq into a medieval hell-hole and, in the case of Iran, a sattelite theocracy. We do so at the invitation of a democratically elected government. To claim otherwise is to equally slander and dishonor the millions of Iraqis that risked death by going to the polls to cast their ballots. To call our presence in Iraq an occupation is an Orwellian redefinition of the word.

There are of course, entities that do not want democracy to take hold in Iraq and who would welcome a defeat of the U.S. effort in Iraq, whether brought about on the battlefield or in Washington. It is no surprise that al Qaeda and Iran both call our presence and actions in Iraq an "occupation." Syria and al Jazzera call it that too. And now you can add Barack Obama to that list.

Garrett did not challenge Obama to explain the facts he was using to call our mission in Iraq an "occupation." That was some poor reporting. And it got worse.

Garrett did not challenge Obama on his refusal to acknowledge the reconciliation that has taken place in the Iraqi government. It was as if the recent actions of the Iraqi government were wished away because they would have conflicted with Obama's narrative. That was amazing.

But worst of all, Garrett did not ask Obama what the ramifications would be if Obama "ended the occupation" only to see our security gains lost and the reemergence in Iraq of al Qaeda on one hand and Iran on the other. That is the single most important question that needs to be asked and its answer should fully inform how we proceed in Iraq. The MSM refuses to ask that question, allowing Obama and the other Democratic nominees for President to simply ignore it while noting that an immediate withdraw from Iraq would move our soldiers out of the harm's way and stop the costs of war.

Put simply, the ramifications of allowing al Qaeda or Iran to succeed in Iraq are existential.

Salafi terrorism grew in the 1980's and 90's based on the belief among the Salafi jihadis that it was they who destroyed the Soviet Union. Futher, the jihadis believed that the West was so weak that it would, like the Soviet Union, crumble when pushed. And in accordance with that view, they attacked the West and America at the margins throughout the 1990's. The U.S. response to each provocation was seen by the jihadis as weak and ineffectual. Remember the Khobar Towers bombing, the bombing of our embassies in Africa, Blackhawk Down and the bombing of the USS Cole. The 9-11 attacks were simply the natural evolution of the jihadi paradigm.

Every indication that we have is that al Qaeda did not expect the robust response that actually occurred. As to our invasion of Iraq, historians can argue whether we should have done that until the cows come home. It has no bearing whatsoever on what we should do tommorow - which is the only question that matters.

With that in mind, it is beyond dispute that our invasion of Iraq drew in al Qaeda like moths to the flame. Defeating the U.S. in Iraq became, as bin Laden and Zawahiri both noted, al Qaeda's main effort. They fully expected the U.S. to run from Iraq as we did from Vietnam, if only they could cause sufficient mayhem.

Through the bravery of our soldiers and the brilliance of our military leadership, we have now completely turned around the situation in Iraq. Al Qaeda is largely defeated there and, at best, has few strongholds left. There will be no formal declaration of surrender, but we have had the next best thing from bin Laden himself. In his November,2007 video, bin Laden despaired of al Qaeda losses in Iraq and summed up the situation by stating that the "the darkeness" in Iraq has become "pitch black." (See also here)

Note that in May, 2007, with the Democrats attempting to short circuit the nascent surge and withdraw our troops, our nation's premier Orientalist, Professor Bernard Lewis, issued what can only be called a doomsday warning. Professor Lewis warned that if we withdrew from Iraq and al Qaeda was able to portray Iraq as a victory for jihad, the reprucussions of that for our nation, the West, and the entire Islamic world would be profound, long lasting and dire.

To leave now and allow Iraq to be reoccupied in the Sunni areas by al Qaeda and to allow Iran to create an Iraqi Hezbollah to dominate the south of Iraq would be a catastrophe. Regardless of how our Democrats would spin it to the American electorate, throughout the Muslim world, it would be portrayed as a victory delivered by the very hand of Allah in the face of certain defeat. It would be a messiancic sign of the eventual triumph of the radicalized Salafi and Khomeinist versions of Islam. That is not the politics of fear - its the acknowledgment of a deadly reality.

And as Professor Lewis implies, should the Muslim world ever come to see the U.S. as defeated in Iraq, we can expect jihadi attacks of all sorts on the West to rise exponentially. You can include in those probable jihadi attacks nuclear terrorism as the jihadists gain in strength and have access to nuclear weapons and the radioactive byproducts of the nuclear process.

If you any doubts about the ramifications of an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, watch this video of Zarqawi and ponder the question some more.

While leaving Iraq may result in short term political gain, relieve the pressure on our military and save the future costs of the war, the question must be asked, what are the long term costs for withdrawing from Iraq. The realistic answer to that is that the costs of leaving Iraq and allowing al Qaeda and Iran to declare victory would be exponentialy greater in blood and gold than the costs to stop both in Iraq over the coming years.

Major Garrett did not ask Obama that last night. Someone has to in the future if we are to have any sort of reasoned debate on this issue.


Anonymous said...

> In that light, to characterize what we are doing in Iraq an occupation maligns our soldiers and their mission in Iraq.

Actually, it's flat out stupid and ignorant to term it that. An occupation takes value, wealth, etc., OUT of the country that is occupied.

For how many "occupations" has the "occupying" nation spent billions of their own money to help restore infrastructure? Obama is a complete kool-aid drinking jackass.

Unknown said...

As a threshold matter, calling our presence in Iraq an "occupation" is a slanderous mischaracterization.

Actually, we're there under UN mandate and at the request of the present Iraqi government.