Thursday, December 01, 2005

Bush Speeches Overdue First Step Back Towards Winning Public Opinion War

Bush Speeches Overdue First Step Back Towards Winning Public Opinion War

VietNam was a war won on the ground by our troops and lost at home by a combination of an anti-military media and a lack of resolve among the policymakers in Washington, D.C. The war in Iraq should not and cannot be the same type of war. An immediate or even timed withdrawal in Iraq will leave the country open to some Zarqawi-Baathist cabal to run the country and most likely set up a terrorist base that has been missing since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The terrorists look to previous examples of where the United States has committed only halfheartedly to a mission and left when things started to look less than rosy. VietNam, Lebanon, Somalia, and the refusal of the U.S. to retaliate against attacks in Yemen, Tanzania, Kenya, and elsewhere have given the terrorists the impression that the United States will leave a conflict when it looks like the times might be tough or the commitment might take more than a couple of years. With recent bickering and pushes from the left to evacuate the area, the terrorists can’t help but wonder if the same outcome won’t happen in Iraq if only they wait long enough.

Others in the area are looking to the outcome in Iraq with great interest. The other Baathist regime, Syria, and an aspirer to the world’s nuclear club, Iran, are keenly looking to see what happens. The last thing that both want is a strong, democratic country run by moderate Shiites on their borders. A country that respects the rule of law and the rule by its people would be a terrible example for both Assad and the theocracy of Iran. Moreover, it would help to provide a bulwark against the Wahabist lava boiling underneath the surface of the Saudi monarchy.

However, the Bush administration has not done an adequate job of telling the American people the full story of why we are in Iraq, and the consequences of failure. Instead, they let others throw out red herrings such as the search for WMD to distract the public from what is truly important about why we went into Iraq, and why we must stay. Instead of dictating the agenda and elaborating on the reasoning, the Bush administration has been backpedaling on defense, answering every allegation and losing focus.

By making the round of speeches that he is making, President Bush is taking a right and overdue first step in telling the true story of Iraq to the American people. Talk to soldiers and you’ll hear a different story than the one that you hear in the media. It is a story of hope, and of a growing peace. Notice that the Baathist and Sunni terrorists are now attacking Iraqis. There’s a reason for this tactical change, and that’s because of the great work of the American soldier in Iraq. While the media covers the line at the police recruiting station that gets attacked by a homicide bomber, it doesn’t go back the next day to see the lines doubled with even more Iraqis who want to take back their own country from the terrorists.

Nobody wants American soldiers in the Middle East indefinitely, not the American people, not the administration, not the opposition, and not the Iraqis. However, leaving or telegraphing our departure will create a power vacuum that will surely be filled by those who we do not want to fill that void. It is incumbent upon the President not to make this just another chapter in a series of fits and starts towards showing the American people the reason we must win this fight in Iraq. A series of speeches is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for success in this endeavor.