Bush vs. Patton – Administration figures are try- ing their hardest to fend off calls for a timetable for troop withdrawal:
• George W. Bush, November 2005: “Victory is the primary objective. We’ve sacrificed a lot. We’ve had, you know, some of the finest Americans die in Iraq, and one thing we’re not going to do is let them die in vain.”
• Dick Cheney, December 2005: “The only way the terrorists can win is if we lose our nerve and abandon our mission.”
• Former Pentagon bureaucrat you’ve never heard of, November 2005: “This is a key battleground in the War on Terrorism, and we’ve got to stay the course, and we’ve got to finish this job.”
• Condoleezza Rice, December 2005: “If we withdraw now, we will be giving the terrorists exactly what they want.”
Actually, by going into Iraq we have already given them exactly what they want: the opportunity to kill Americans by the Humnler-load. Also, because no one involved in the planning for Operation Iraqi Fiefdom allowed for the probability that more than 50% of Americans would start calling for the troops to come home after only three years, the no man’s land dividing Red and Blue seems wider than it has seemed in 30 years.
For a strategic thinker like Osama bin Laden, or whatever Svengali holds him in thrall, the present situation is ideal. We’re spending a lot of money we don’t have, losing a bunch of troops, losing face in the world, and dividing our polity. And we cannot get out.
Practically, withdrawing from Iraq would probably result in chaos and the subsequent emergence of a terrorist- harboring failed state, an Afghanistan on the Euphrates. It would also mean abandoning those Iraqis who collaborated with us in the sincere hope of living in a free, sane, and prosperous society. Baghdad has many lampposts, and when our last helicopters take off from the Green Zone, we can expect
In Iraq, we took the ground our enemies wanted us to have, and now we’re letting them kill us.
our friends to dangle from them. (Well, the insincere collaborators – people like Ahmed Chalabi – would also twist slowly in the desert wind, but losing them would leave this world no poorer.)
But there are also other emotional reasons, the ones that Bush, Cheney, and Rice harp on daily: we must stay the course, we must protect America’s image in the world, we must make sure our 2,000 war dead did not die in vain. Unfortunately for them, the cut-our-losses-and-run crowd (Rep. John Murtha, Sen. John Kerry, Michael Moore, the Screen Actors Guild, etc.) already hold the high ground when it comes to manipulating the emotions of the American public. It is doubtful our troops and engineers rebuilding the country will leave behind a stable republic, especially if the Republicans in Congress lose in ’06 and ’08.
Gen. George Patton had this to say about “cooperating” with the enemy in warfare, that is, getting him to cooperate in his own destruction. “We’ll let him have any ground .he wants, as long as he lets us kill him.” In Iraq, we took the ground our enemies wanted us to have, and now we’re letting them kill us.