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We can win in Iraq, but will Democrats let us?

Written by Vincent Gioia

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April 9, 2008
By Vincent Gioia

The appearance of General Petraeus at various Senate Committees and the testimony he gave about the situation is Iraq was in stark contrast to the questions and comments by Democrat presidential aspirants. The General set the example of what is good about the United States and represented the spirit of thousands of men and women of our military in Iraq fighting for the safety of their country.

The Democrats in contrast could only think about political advantage and what they could do to cause our country's defeat at the hand of terrorists who want to destroy us; for them the question is not what we can do to beat back terrorism, it's what can be done to surrender to it.

After initially agreeing with most everyone in the world about the necessity to remove the regime of Saddam Hussein because of the threat he posed to the world, Democrats gradually began to realize that Americans no longer have the stomach for wars lasting more than fifteen minutes and with their media allies launched an increasing crescendo against the Iraq war effort which ultimately became their battle cry; demanding withdrawal of American military from Iraq, not today, but yesterday.

Along the way Democrats sought to impose "conditions" for continual funding of the military needs. At one time they said that we had to control the violence, another time they said we had to show some political improvement in Iraq and still another condition was proof that Iraqis were taking on the job of protecting their country so American troops could leave. As each "condition" was met, Democrats formulated others; the objective being to appear to be supporting the troops while setting the stage for demands to withdraw.

The addition of more American soldiers in what is commonly referred to as the "surge" was wildly condemned by anti-war Democrats but President Bush carried on with it anyway. The result was that violence did decrease and Iraq became safer for Iraqis and the American military. Although unfortunate American casualties were still suffered, our losses decreased; nontheless the liberal press continued to write front page headlines reporting the death of each soldier as it occurred.

Recently we saw an example of the Iraqi government attempting to subdue insurgent elements without American help. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, ordered and led contingents of the Iraqi military against Shiite paramilitary forces in Basra. Iraqi government forces and the Mahdi Army clashed after Maliki issued a government ultimatum to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to disband his militia who controlled the oil-rich Basra region.

Several things about this are noteworthy. Maliki has been generally assumed to favor Shiites over Sunnis and Kurds because he himself is a Shiite and has been widely criticized as not representing all Iraqis. His effort to bring anti-government Shiite forces under control shows that there is a sincere effort to form a national government with national priorities. The ability of Maliki to marshal a significant military fighting force in relatively short order demonstrates the American undertaking to train an Iraqi military force has had at least some success and the Iraqi military was able to respond when called upon by their government. It has been reported that army components of 14,000 soldiers were sent to Basra and for the most part fought commendably.

A less obvious lesson may be learned by the recent Iraqi action. Basra was deemed to be pacified and the British left after having been responsible for the area for several years. After the British left armed Shiite militia took over and controlled Basra and the oil production. Those who demand immediate withdrawal of American troops from Iraq should learn what the effect of removing American military from the country would be following the experience of what happened in Basra after the British troop withdrawal. Not only would anti-American forces take control, but al-Qaeda would develop a stronghold and a base for terror operations just as they had in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. Furthermore, we would be leaving those Iraqis who supported and helped Americans at the non mercy of vicious Islamic Nazis.

Despite the testimony of General Petraeus and a factual report of progress in Iraq, Senator Hillary Clinton said "I fundamentally disagree. Rather, I think it could be fair to say that it might well be irresponsible to continue the policy that has not produced the results that have been promised time and time again." To me this is a childish comment reminiscent of the adage "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up."

Senator Obama's contribution was "Start bringing troops home." He said "He worries that the goals - completely eliminating al-Qaeda and Iranian influences - may be impossible to achieve and troops could be there for 20 or 30 years in a fruitless effort."

If either of these Democrat presidential contestants achieves the presidency, we will see another example that we are our own worst enemy. With either of them as president would we be able to win in our struggle for survival against an ideology that wants to rule the world and replace freedom with the kind of mentality we fought a brutal war fifty years ago to avoid?

Vincent Gioia is a retired patent attorney living in Palm Desert, California. His articles may be read at www.vincentgioia.com  and he may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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