Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Shirts 'n Skins?
Get Your al-Qaeda Tee Shirts Right Here!


Consider the "al-Qaeda Enabling Act of 2007," just defeated in the United States Senate early Wednesday morning. The following Op Ed, minus the source links, and with a few minor edits, appears today, Friday, July 20, 2007, on the Voices page, A11, of the Daily Record (Morristown, NJ).

***
A Timetable Now Ensures Victory for al-Qaeda

San Francisco Chronicle Columnist, Debra Saunders, put it best:
It simply is too soon to be talking about the surge failing. U.S. forces in Iraq did not meet full surge strength until June 15. It makes no sense to send an additional 20,000 troops to Iraq, then not give them the time to do their job.
It also makes no sense to call for a change in plans now that the Bush administration is doing what critics demanded -- increasing troops and changing strategy. More important, there is evidence that the surge and the Petraeus approach to fighting counterinsurgency are working.

Presidential Assistant for National Security Affairs, Stephen Hadley, noted on Fox that, "hearing from our commanders on the ground in September is the first step."

But Congress is trying to prematurely jam through a timetable for withdraw.

"It makes no sense to wait until September," intones Senator Carl Levin of Michigan.

Regardless of
progress on many "benchmarks" of the Iraq Study Group, including notable success in Anbar province, Levin eschews any chance for success of the surge. He demands American troops begin leaving within 120 days, with the denouement in April, 2008.

Two squishy Republican Senators, John Warner of Virginia and Richard Lugar of Indiana, as described in the New York Times,
have proposed requiring "President Bush to present a strategy by October that began limiting the involvement of American forces."

Like Hillary Clinton, they crave political cover, demanding the President seek reauthorization of what they term an "obsolete" war resolution. Barack Obama
calls her approach "convoluted," favoring the timetable.

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Reid drone on how we must re-deploy from Iraq to refocus on fighting al-Qaeda. Yet, that is what we are doing there, containing and defeating al-Qaeda.

Al-Qaeda’s strategy was to foment sectarian violence throughout Iraq and force us out, triggered by the bombing of the
Samarra Mosque in February of 2006. Their hope was not actual prolonged confrontation; they banked on American public opinion recoiling at the prospect, followed by retreat. But now, we're taking them down.

As
recorded by Kate O’Beirne and Rich Lowry, the President said:
that six months ago "al Qaeda was declared the winner as the result of one intelligence report." But not now: "Today al Qaeda is the loser, the situation changed dramatically."

The prospect of primary location in Iraq has long been a desire of terror groups, including during the Hussein era. The strategic location at the heart of the Middle East is manifest.

Should we leave Iraq on the Democrats' timetable, al-Qaeda would likely gain a firm foothold, turning portions of the countryside into training camps, competing for control of the nation, and gaining strategic advantage in the region.

Congress would be enabling al-Qaeda, and giving them an imprimatur of approval for moving their base of operations there, which they have long sought.

Defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq is a key element of the current U.S. policy. The top al-Qaeda figure in Iraq, Abu Shahid,
was just captured in Mosul earlier this month. He was known to have long been the key intermediary contact with senior al-Qaida leadership outside of Iraq. The intelligence potential for disruption of al-Qaeda worldwide, is obvious.

Surrendering to them by arbitrarily leaving now, would not only give them an unearned strategic victory, but also a huge psychological boost that would undermine American foreign policy for years, perhaps decades to come.

Senator John McCain noted
a few days ago, that if the al-Qaeda insurgents can plausibly claim a defeat of "the United States in Iraq, they will believe that anything is possible, that history is on their side, that they really can bring their terrible rule to lands the world over."

Some legacy for our troops who fought there, or for the families of those who sacrificed life and limb. And some bequest for all who carry the scars of 9/11, when 3,000 of our civilians were summarily murdered. Victory on terrorist terms!

That is betrayal, not only of those who carried our burden in the fight, but also of those among whom we have attempted to foster a chance to embrace our democratic ideals.

Major General Rick Lynch
suggested to New York Times reporter John Burns that the successes we have had would be lost if we prematurely left.

He [Lynch] implied that an early withdrawal would amount to an abandonment of Iraqi civilians who he said had rallied in support of the American and Iraqi troops, and would leave the civilians exposed to renewed brutality by extremist groups. "When we go out there, the first question they ask is, 'Are you staying? ' " he said. "And the second question is, 'How can we help? ' " He added, "What we hear is, 'We've had enough of people attacking our villages, attacking our homes, and attacking our children. ' "

So, what has it come to? A political demand to betray our friends, our protectors, and our ideals.

A vote for a timetable is a vote for al-Qaeda victory. It's hard to imagine anything more distasteful.


Steve Robbins, a lawyer & veteran, resides in Lambertville.

***

Regardless of the current bleak status of his Presidential campaign, Senator John McCain does deserve credit for having spoken eloquently on the floor of the Senate regarding the effect of this Levin/Reed resolution, and why it should have been defeated.

He said, in part:


In Iraq, American soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are still fighting bravely and tenaciously in battles that are as dangerous, difficult and consequential as the great battles of our armed forces’ storied past. Our enemies will still be intent on defeating us, and using our defeat to encourage their followers in the jihad they wage against us, a war which will become a greater threat to us should we quit the central battlefield in defeat. The Middle East will still be a tinderbox, which our defeat could ignite in a regional war that will imperil our vital interests at risk there and draw us into a longer and far more costly war. The prospect of genocide in Iraq, in which we will be morally complicit, is still as real a consequence of our withdrawal today as it was yesterday.

Key portions of McCain's speech were thoughtfully reprinted by Ed Morrissey on Captain's Quarters Blog. I just hope someone posts video of the whole thing. Here is a short clip from YouTube where he takes down one of the preposterous language limitations contained in the "resolution." Tee shirts, indeed!

As we noted there in the comments section, imagine what it must have felt like to Hillary Clinton, as she was scheduled to and did speak right after McCain. Talk about a tough act to follow!

Whatever she may have said, it deserves to have been promptly recycled into the double-speak dustbin of history . . . she who always wants it all.

Here's betting she didn't quote herself, when she said:

"I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote."
or

"The consensus was the same, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration. It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared."

Levin/Reed, little more than a Frank Church remake, went right where it should have gone, into the same meaningless dustbin. Emmitt Tyrrell even calls it the Democrats' "death wish."


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