President Bush Plans for Victory in Iraq
- 12 January 2007 by Author 0 Comments
President Bush Plans for Victory in Iraq
By Richard Larsen
Published – Idaho State Journal, 01/12/07
Earlier this week a very sedate and somber President Bush addressed the nation regarding the challenging environment in Iraq. Facing increasing sectarian insurgency attacks in Iraq, and an opposition party in control of both legislative chambers in Washington, the President outlined with greater specificity, at least publicly, the military and political plan of attack for Iraq.
Whether the plan, as outlined, is “new and improved” or not, the fact that the plan was publicly articulated is significant. The American citizenry is mostly intelligent enough to follow the President’s reasoning on the challenges being faced there, and how they are going to be addressed. The exceptions to a thoughtful and deliberative populace of course are those who think this is Bush’s war and not America’s war and who want to see the war effort fail in order to confirm their rationale for their lack of support of the President, without regard to the national security consequences of premature withdrawal.
The integration of U.S. forces within Iraqi forces seems to be a key differentiating factor from what we’ve understood before about our operations there. With stated objectives of increasing Iraqi security force capacity – both size and effectiveness – from 10 to 13 Army divisions, 36 to 41 Army Brigades, and 112 to 132 Army Battalions and increasing the integration of U.S. troops for leadership and tactical operations within those Iraqi forces is profoundly logical.
Just the addition of 20,000 more U.S. troops hardly seems enough to make a difference. But with the stated objective of integrating our personnel within existing and ever growing Iraqi military, even 20,000 more troops can potentially make a difference in the efficacy of those Iraqi forces.
Perhaps of greatest significance from the President’s remarks, however, is the apparent move toward full accountability of the Iraqi government for securing the peace with our assistance, as opposed to the U.S. shouldering the responsibility. The pressure is certainly being placed directly on the shoulders of Prime Minister Maliki and the Iraqi military in a way that has not been present before.
Unlike the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, this proposal provides strategy to achieve the goal of winning the conflict, rather than simply dealing with the political fallout resulting from a premature evacuation. The U.S. can win militarily the conflicts we engage in, if we have a clear vision of what is to transpire and how the victory can be achieved. We must, however, maintain that vision and clarity of purpose to retain the backbone to see the objectives brought to fruition.
Senator Dick Durbin’s comments following the President’s remarks embodied the lack of vision and resolve, as well as the naivete about our enemies, that we’ve come to expect from him and his colleagues. No wonder Al Qaeda’s number two man, the President of Iran, and the leader of Al Qaida in Iraq praised the outcomes of the mid-term elections in November. They undoubtedly saw the vote as a ratification of immediate withdrawal from Iraq, which would leave them the country on a silver platter. If Durbin and his comrades had their way, we’d withdraw tomorrow without regard for the peril it would place our country and the Middle East in, due to the vacuum created by our premature withdrawal.
Durbin continually referred to the “civil war” in Iraq. Of the eighteen provinces in Iraq, sixteen are stable, with negligible insurgency. The President mentioned that 80% of the insurgency is occurring within 60 miles of the capital. That hardly sounds like a civil war in a country about the size of the State of California. Great progress has been made. Remember how bad Fallujah and the Sunni Triangle were immediately after the fall of Saddam’s regime? Granted, the insurgency has migrated to the Baghdad area which provides more populous targets, and much more visible results from their attacks, but most of the country seems to be sufficiently stable as to be able to maintain that stability going forward.
Ultimately this fight is about U.S. security. This is not George Bush’s war, it’s the America’s security at stake. It’s not a situation where we can simply pick up our bat and ball and go home, and say we’re not going to play any more. The consequences are potentially too catastrophic for our future security, and massively consequential in the effort to reverse the proliferation of Islamic extremism.
Polls should play no role in conducting military operations. Senator Durbin stated that the American people have spoken, referring to the Mid-term elections in November, supposing that was a mandate for curtailment of military operations against terrorists. Edmund Burke said that even more important than public sentiment, is the responsibility of a public leader to lead. Of such leaders, he said, “his unbiased opinion, his mature judgment, his enlightened conscience, he ought not to sacrifice to you, to any man, or to any set of men living. These he does not derive from your pleasure – no, nor from the law and the constitution. They are a trust from Providence, for the abuse of which he is deeply answerable. Your representative owes you, not his industry alone, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion…
With resolve and a commitment on the part of Iraqi and U.S. leadership, the goals laid out by the President can be achieved, and the U.S., the whole Middle East, and the world collectively will be better for it.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.