Thursday, November 16, 2006


The Right Question

NRO's inestimable Michael Ledeen expresses hope that the Baker-Hamilton Commission is capable of asking the right question about not just Iraq but the entire war on terror in the Middle East and around the world:
Instead of trapping themselves in an imaginary quagmire, the commissioners can help us face the real war. What’s going on in Iraq is not “the war,” which is raging over the entire world. The real question — the life and death question — is: How can we win the war in the Middle East, which now extends from Afghanistan to Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and Somalia?

That question forces us to devise a strategy to deal with multiple enemies instead of limiting our strategic thinking to the Iraqi insurgency alone. It forces us to confront the terror masters in Tehran and Syria as well as the killers in Iraq. If we ask how to win in Iraq alone, we are led into a fool’s errand of trying to convince our sworn enemies–Iran has been at war with us for twenty-seven years—to act like friends. But if we ask how to win the war, we can see that we have many good cards to play, and many real allies, from the Iranian and Syrian people to the millions of Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria, to several other oppressed groups throughout the region, and even to leaders who today denounce us.
Alas, it is difficult to tell what is on President Bush's mind these days with regard to Iraq and the larger war. He seems reluctant to express any thoughts which might pre-empt possible Baker-Hamilton conclusions, which is frustrating to those who fear the Democrats' cut-and-run strategy is gaining traction amongst Commission members and even the incoming SecDef Gates. Personally, I can't imagine a more frightening scenario- 1938 pales in comparison. Leaving Iraq without victory may mollify the antiwar crowd, but it will also spell doom for American credibility around the world, and force Western civilization dangerously back on its heels in the fight against Islamic fascism. The last President Bush betrayed the Iraqi people when he abandoned them to Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War. Another betrayal, this time at the hands of a short-sighted leftist Congress, will be even more disastrous- for Iraqis who thought the Americans were finally serious about rescuing them, and for everyone else dying under the murderous evil of Islamofascism.

I hope the White House is listening to voices such as Ledeen's.

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