Posted by on 24 August, 2007 at 10:47 am. 12 comments already!

There’s dissension in the ranks today, as DEMOCRATIC Congressman Brian Baird writes this op-ed piece in the Seattle Times. I write this today as a counterbalance to a report in the Washington Post that Senator John Warner is calling for President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

The main premise is this: we live in a topsy-turvy world when a Democrat issues a call to maintain our hefty presence in Iraq when a Republican calls for a pullout. We’ve castigated the Democrats for pandering to the anti-war, far-Left fringe groups, but we must cast a disapproving look towards Senator Warner as well.

“The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.”

“As a Democrat who voted against the war from the outset and who has been frankly critical of the administration and the post-invasion strategy, I am convinced by the evidence that the situation has at long last begun to change substantially for the better. I believe Iraq could have a positive future. Our diplomatic and military leaders in Iraq, their current strategy, and most importantly, our troops and the Iraqi people themselves, deserve our continued support and more time to succeed.”

“I understand the desire of many of our citizens and my colleagues in Congress to bring the troops home as soon as possible. The costs have been horrific for our soldiers, their families, the Iraqi people and the economy. If we keep our troops on the ground we will lose more lives, continue to spend billions each week, and, given the history and complex interests of the region, there is no certainty that our efforts will succeed in the long run. We must be absolutely honest about these costs and risks and I am both profoundly saddened and angry that we are where we are.”

But we must take issue with the Congressman’s statement above. Our military consists of the most proficient, highly-trained, VOLUNTEERS in the nation. Granted, I have never served, so I cannot speak to the suffering families nationwide experience when a loved one is gone for a significant period of time, often two to three times. With that said, any invocation to previous conflicts, notably Vietnam, cannot occur. We are discussing an all-volunteer army…brave men and women who knew what the potential ramifications would be when enlisting.

Regarding the Iraqi people, many have shown considerable fortitude in the face of endless suicide bombings, sectarian violence, and targeted killings. Yet, the government has failed to hold up its end of the bargain and should be held accountable.

And yes, we have spent an exorbitant amount of money. Any call for withdraw based purely on economic factors may carry some weight. Our country is bankrupt; the Fed prints money as if it were merely Monopoly money. That is the only reason that SHOULD be considered. Any arguments that we are creating more terrorists due to our presence in the region, or that we invaded for oil should IMMEDIATELY be disregarded.

“It is just not realistic to expect Iraq or any other nation to be able to rebuild its government, infrastructure, security forces and economy in just four years. Despite the enormous challenges, the fact is, the situation on the ground in Iraq is improving in multiple and important ways.”

Note the Congressman’s statement below. When invading Iraq, we dismantled, with surgical precision, the country’s entire infrastructure. Those elected officials, particularly the Left call for troop withdrawal, are they essentially wondering why success was not achieved overnight?

“Our soldiers are reclaiming ground and capturing or killing high-priority targets on a daily basis. Sheiks and tribal groups are uniting to fight against the extremists and have virtually eliminated al-Qaida from certain areas. The Iraqi military and police are making progress in their training, taking more responsibility for bringing the fight to the insurgents and realizing important victories. Businesses and factories that were once closed are being reopened and people are working again. The infrastructure is gradually being repaired and markets are returning to life.”

Therein lays the crux of the argument. Note the points above:

  1. Our soldiers are reclaiming ground and capturing/killing high priority targets on a daily basis.
  2. Sheiks and tribal groups are uniting to fight against the extremists and have virtually eliminated al-Qaida from certain areas.
  3. The Iraqi military and police are making progress in their training, taking more responsibility for bringing the fight to the insurgents and realizing important victories.
  4. Businesses and factories that were once closed are being reopened and people are working again.
  5. The infrastructure is gradually being repaired and markets are returning to life.

“From a strategic perspective, if we leave now, Iraq is likely to break into even worse sectarian conflict. The extremist regime in Iran will expand its influence in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. Terrorist organizations, the people who cut off the heads of civilians, stone women to death, and preach hatred and intolerance, will be emboldened by our departure. In the ensuing chaos, the courageous Iraqi civilians, soldiers and political leaders who have counted on us will be left to the slaughter. No American who cares about human rights, security and our moral standing in the world can be comfortable letting these things happen.”

We have rightfully castigated the Left for pushing for immediate or precipitous troop withdrawal. Regarding the statement above, the Democratic Congressman seems to understand the ramifications of the resulting vacuum.

So tell, those who oppose the surge…why should we remove our presence?

crossposted at The Twin Cities Conservative

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