David Schraub at The Debate Link asks if the Democrats now have a mandate to begin a policy of withdrawal from Iraq. He tosses in some poll numbers that would seem to support the idea. I’ve never been a big fan of polls but I have to say I think the answer to his question is half Yes.
I think America wants some kind of change in Iraq. We, as a country, just don’t seem to have the stomach for any losses during a military operation. It’s the day to day trickle, and at times torrent, of casualties being reported in Iraq that is wearing thin on voters. A friend of mine has said that not one single Iraqi is worth the death of an American soldier. I wonder what he thinks about our liberation of France costing us well over 6,000 US Casualties on D-Day alone. If it’s the butcher’s bill that drives our foreign policy these days then we are surely doomed. If the mounting casualty figures end up driving us from Iraq then UBL was quite correct in that we are a paper tiger. No, I don’t think the electorate is calling for a withdrawal from Iraq so much as a CHANGE in Iraq.
What kind of change is the question. We have two basic options I think, assuming prompt withdrawal isn’t what we want, is to continue our fight but fight to win… or continue on as we’ve been doing.
Fight to win? Yes. Take Mr. Al-Sadr for example. Ring his little ghetto with armor, leaflet the place letting them know we are coming in and to surrender immediately or die with a 12 hour time period, and then go in guns blazing. Fight. To. Win. I’ve lamented the fact that we are making war as if it were a sporting event before. I would wager that the American Electorate would rally to an all out assault on the barbarians in Iraq. There will be some to claim atrocities here and there…sometimes they may well be right. We have proven time and again that those involved in atrocities will be punished and we do so openly. Our version of “punishment” may not meet with the standards of Hammurabi and therefore will be disregarded by some of the people in Iraq as too light, but it’s what we do…the whole “cruel and unusual punishment” thing isn’t something Americans do.
The other option is to, as the President has said, “Stay the Course”. We continue supporting the fledgling Iraqi government while they work through the pitfalls of democratic government. We show unwavering support to the Iraqi people and actively encourage them to take ownership in their process.
Senator Levin claims we should put more pressure on the Iraqi government by setting a draw down schedule. The good Senator seems to believe that our eventual total withdrawal from Iraq will force their government to get their act together. I disagree with him because even a declaration of such a policy will be met with more barbarian attacks, not less as he seems to think. Any type of withdrawal will be seen as a victory by the barbarians and will embolden them to try the same gameplan elsewhere. Hitler conquered Europe after the world put on kid gloves when he took the Sudetenland. Had Europe stopped him then and there, the above casualty figures from D-day would be non-existent. Iraq is the battlefield for the War on Terror. If we walk off that battlefield, we lose.