Skip to comments.Entering year four: Failures and hope in Iraq
Posted on 03/26/2006 4:36:41 AM PST by billorites
WHEN GEORGE Washington took command of the Continental Army in June of 1775, he wrote to his wife that he expected to be home by fall. He returned eight years later.
Union and Confederate soldiers rushing off to fight the Civil War feared they wouldnt reach the battlefields before the war was over.
Americans have a habit of underestimating the length and horror of war. The difference between now and then is that Americans no longer are a patient people. The war is different, too, but that does not mean it is incapable of being won.
As the Iraq war passed its third anniversary last Sunday, Americans were more apprehensive than ever about its execution and the prospects for victory. It is easy to see why.
News reports tell of mosque bombings, raids on police stations, kidnappings, mass murders and the expansion of civil war. The situation looks bleak. It also seemed bleak, as columnist Max Boot notes, in the winter of 1777, when George Washington, without a single decisive victory under his belt after more than two years of war, hunkered down in the deep snows outside Philadelphia, in a small community called Valley Forge.
George Bush, unfortunately, is no George Washington. He has failed to adapt to the realities on the ground and he has let political considerations come before military ones. His boldness in taking the country to war has been countered by his timidity in executing it. Not supplying enough troops and keeping so many penned inside their bases to avoid casualties has encouraged the enemy, hurt morale and made this war more difficult to win.
A journalist recently returned from Iraq told us that the troops in the field had one persistent question: How long are they going to let us stay? They hope the American peoples will to fight wont vanish before they can complete their mission, which they believe they can accomplish.
After three years, there is no question that this war could have been better executed. What is in question is our willingness to see it through, and President Bushs ability to improve the Pentagons performance. Last week President Bush made the bittersweet statement that our forces would not be recalled during his administration. Though that keeps our men and women in harms way for several more years, it means the President has no plans to succumb to political pressure and lose the war by ending it too early.
The President also admitted that the war could have been better conducted. He needs to see that it is.
Nice try, but no media gets to make the call - whoever or whatever George W. Bush is will be judged by history.
Desert Storm unfotunately left too many Americans with the impression that our wars would now be won quickly and cheaply.
George Washington wasn't exactly held in high regard in 1777.
He didn't say that. Another distortion by the media. From the transcript of the press conference:
QUESTION: Sir, you said earlier today that you believe there's a plan for success. If you did not, you would pull the troops out.
And so my question is, one, is there a point at which having the American forces in Iraq becomes more a part of the problem than a part of the solution? Can you say that you will not keep American troops in there is they're caught in a crossfire and a civil war? And can you say to the American people -- assure them that there will come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
BUSH: The decisions about our troop levels will be made by General Casey and the commanders on the ground. They're the ones who can best judge whether or not the presence of coalition troops create more of a problem than a solution -- than be a part of the solution.
Secondly, I've answered the question on civil war -- our job is to make sure that civil war doesn't happen, but there will be -- but if there is sectarian violence, that's the job of the Iraqi forces, with coalition help, to separate those sectarian forces.
Third part of your question?
QUESTION: It was: Will there come a day -- and I'm not asking you when; I'm not asking for a timetable -- will there come a day when there will be no more American forces in Iraq?
BUSH: That, of course, is an objective. And that will be decided by future presidents and future governments of Iraq.
QUESTION: So it won't happen on your watch?
BUSH: You mean a complete withdrawal? That's a timetable. I can only tell you that I will make decisions on force levels based upon what the commanders on the ground say.
Or in Bosnia at 15,000 feet with no ground troops.
I really think it is a stretch to say that we are still fighting a war in Iraq. We are doing a mop-up and nation-building, but as Bush said, major combat operations were over a long time ago. The war terminology is apt in that it is part of the war on terror which the media doesn't really cover.
Agree. We have won the war in Iraq. The WOT is a poor description of what we are really fighting, i.e., it is a war against militant Islam and the global terrorist organization AQ. We are not fighting terrorism, but rather, terrorist groups with a global reach.
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