Why are we still in Iraq?
In the past two days 25 more American soldiers and marines died in Iraq, bringing total deaths close to 1,800 since the invasion in 2003. And as our casualties mount, Islamic terrorists are becoming bolder and are expanding their operations, assassination of Iraqis willing to cooperate with the U.S. has become more widespread, insurgents are penetrating the local army and police force we are trying to establish, and Iraqi politicians haggle endlessly over a constitution. The goal of imposing an American-style democratic system on an alien Iraqi culture appears increasingly quixotic.
Meanwhile, President Bush continues to recite his mantra: "We will stay the course" [in Iraq]...we will complete the job." But why are we still there? Just as he refused to admit making any errors during his first term, while campaigning for reelection last year, Bush stubbornly refuses to recognize that he made a monumental blunder invading Iraq.
He makes the nonsensical claim that by fighting the terrorists "over there," we won't have to fight them here at home.The dreadful fact is that the Iraq invasion has actually made the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack here more likely. Britain and Spain have experienced the consequences of teaming up with the U.S. in Iraq.
The invasion of Afghanistan, of course, was legitimate military action. That country had harbored the Al-Qaeda organization responsible for 9/11, and we succeeded in demolishing the group's capabilities.The subsequent Iraq invasion, however, was counter-productive. By deploying much of our military force away from Afghanistan to Iraq, we have allowed Al-Qaeda to revive.
More important, we have provoked the creation of new, worldwide Islamic terrorist cells eager to join the war against us and our allies.They are not necessarily linked to Al-Qaeda, but they share the illogical but fanatic view that the U.S. wants to destroy the Muslim world.
As comical as it sounds, Bush Administration leaders have been debating what to call the war we are fighting. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and other national security officials decided that the "war on terror" was an inadequate term.
They prefer the phrase, "global struggle against violent extremism." The implication is that more than sheer military strength is needed to counter Muslim terrorists, and that diplomacy and more chummy contacts with Muslim moderates are also required. Bush dismisses this terminology as timid sounding. He is sticking to the old phrase, the "war on terror," in his public utterances.
So as our men continue to die in an unnecessary war in Iraq, it's silly season in Washington, as Administration leaders behave like clowns consumed with arguments over how rhetoric might affect the battle against worldwide Islamic terrorism.