Exit Strategies: What War Has He Been Watching?

In “Exit Strategies” in the Bridgton News (July 28th) Mr. Henry Precht continues on with his faulty premise that things are not going well in Iraq and that it’s time to get out of there as fast as possible to avoid defeat.  What war has he been watching?

Let’s look at a couple of examples that would hint at how things are really going;
1. Seen much of Osama bin Laden lately?  In 2001 he went to any number of places.  Now he’s stuck in some cave in who-knows-where.
2. In 2001 the horrible Taliban controlled Afghanistan.  Now reports have them hiding out hoping to just survive somewhere.
3. Then there’s Saddam.  Back in 2001 he’s tossing UN inspectors out and firing missiles at NATO aircraft.  Now he makes news washing his underwear in a prison cell.
4. Then there’s Libya.  Back in 2001 they have no use for gatherings to limit nuclear weapons.  Now they are limiting the weapons and offering to go to North Korea and suggest the same thing to them.
5. In 2001 Syria has troops in Lebanon and is treating that country as if it belongs to them.  Now the Syrian troops have departed and Lebanon, like Afghanistan and Iraq are having elections.

The US leadership decided that Moslem terrorism was a serious challenge to our security.  The only way to put an end to it was to go to where it was coming from and root it out. I think it’s fair to say, based on the evidence that we have made great strides in that regard.  I am not sure where Mr. Precht discovers “losing” in all this.

I’m not too thrilled with the current high oil prices.  I am pleased though that our government decided that we should no longer be held hostage to Arab dictators over oil.  We wanted their help in getting rid of the terrorists in their countries and we had less concern about the oil price consequences.  You have to decide which you would prefer: Low oil prices and high terrorist risk or high oil prices and lower terrorist risk.

I think that Mr. Precht might also want to take another look at the Vietnam War.  There are experts now saying that we could have won that war if we hadn’t lost our nerve.  President Kennedy in his oft-quoted inaugural address promised that Americans would pay any price for the survival and success of liberty.  Sadly, the leadership that followed him didn’t have that kind of commitment.

Thankfully this time around we have leadership that insists that others deserve the same liberties we enjoy and will commit to accomplishing that end.  The road there has not always been smooth and there are certain to be bumps ahead but persistence will win the day.

So when should the US pull its troops out?  Let me quote Amir Taheri of the Gulf News: “The answer (to when we should withdraw) has been there all along: when the current political process in Iraq produces a new elected government based on a new democratic constitution ratified in a popular referendum.”  You’d have there a government that speaks for all of the Iraqi people.  When they then demand that we should pull out we should do so immediately.

( Appeared in the Bridgton News – August 4, 2005 )

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