One Veteran's Voice

22 June 2006

Victory over terror is not being afraid

I wrote a post about a week ago, but my computer crashed and it was deleted. I was disheartened, and didn't write another one till now. Unfortunately, this post isn't as well formed--more like a collection of random thoughts compiled over the last couple of days. If you get bored, stop reading.

Summer school is halfway over-- it's only four weeks long, so everything seems crammed into a short time, with classes lasting two hours. I bike to class every day, learn for four hours, go to the gym, then bike back home. After that I am generally less productive. Aside from practicing bass guitar, I haven't been engaged in much extracurricular intellectual activity, i.e. this blog. I don't really have an excuse for this, but in some respect I think the increase in physical activity balances out the equation. I recently filled up my car's gas tank for the first time in about a month-- amazing how much money riding a bike can save. But I generally waste that money on beer, so I guess I've got a ways to go in the pursuit of the virtues of temperance and thrift. If those are in fact virtues; I'm more of an all things in moderation guy. Except I don't practice what I preach.

What does winning in Iraq even mean, at this point? It's true that we don't want to go off skulking like a whipped dog, it's bad for the country's morale. I want us to "win". But if a large, longterm U.S. military occupation in Iraq creates more security issues than it resolves, the logical strategic conclusion is to scale down our presence and let the Iraqis take charge, giving all support to them, short of massive numbers of ground forces. Bush has already said that withdrawing troops from Iraq will be an issue for future presidents to decide. I forecast more war. With scattered radioactive cloud cover and high gas prices.

You turn on the TV and heard this:

My Fellow Americans,

Acting in my capacity as Commander and Chief, after long discussions with my Iraqi counterpart, and under the advice of top generals and diplomats, in recognition of the significance of the formation of the unity Iraqi government, of the increasing strength and willingness to fight of its armed forces, and as a gesture of goodwill to and faith in those Iraqis who might oppose foreign occupation but support the new, free, and democratic Iraq in its fight against fanaticism, I have ordered the redeployment of 30,000 U.S. troops over the course of the coming weeks. We will continue to man and defend airfields in Iraq from which to support Iraqi ground forces in the fight, and this will continue into the foreseeable future, until Iraqi air power is up to the task. U.S. ground forces will be consolidated onto fewer bases, and will take a less active role in day to day security operations. This initial redeployment will be followed by future redeployments as our military presence in Iraq is steadily diminished, and power is transferred to the Iraqi security forces.

It would be a mistake for the terrorists to view this as an act of retreat, but as a recognition that the Iraqi government and its forces are increasingly up to the job that they, and not U.S. troops, are best suited for. It is not a sign of defeat, but a sign of the strength and legitimacy of the new Iraqi government. For reasons of logistics, and to insure a smooth transition of power, this redeployment cannot be total and immediate, but it will occur. For reasons of operational security and flexibility, exact timetables for troop movements will not be given. In the coming days, the Iraqi government will outline a procedure that will allow some insurgents to lay down their arms and rejoin the political process. There will be a limited amount of time for insurgents to make this choice. After this window closes, Iraqis who continue to take up arms will be regarded as enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government, and will be treated as such. Al-Queda terrorists will continue to perpetrate acts of violence in Iraq with the goal of provoking civil unrest and sectarian strife, but their violent doctrine is increasingly being rejected by Iraqis, and it will be defeated.

Special operations forces and U.S. air power will be used to strike Al-Queda wherever they are found, including Iraq, but the war against Al-Queda will ultimately be won by the rejection of its beliefs. Iraqis are leading this fight. We will continue to support them. Thank you, good night, and long live the
Novus Ordo Seclorum.