Friday, May 04, 2007

Bogus: Conservatives have been dismissing all liberal interest in the Iraq War, arguing that Democrats can only benefit politically if the United States loses there -- that any success will only help the Republicans in the '08 elections by making Bush look good.

That's just right-wing garbage. The Democrats can actually stand to gain greatly by a U.S. victory in Iraq.

There was bipartisan support in Congress to start the invasion, but Bush and the Republicans managed the war, period. They succeeded in defeating Saddam Hussein and creating a democratic government, complete with free elections. Beyond that, the Republicans have failed to maintain stability in that government, end the fighting in the streets, and defeat the terrorist threat that has taken the lives of thousands of Iraqis and American troops.

That's why the Democrats were elected to Congress, because the American people were not happy about the progress in Iraq. We needed change.

Since the Democrats took over Congress, we have gotten change. Bush has fired Donald Rumsfeld, increased the troop levels in Baghdad, and brought new generals to change tactics. The political pressure that the Democrats are bringing against the White House is altering the course of Iraq, probably for the better.

If we do ultimately succeed in stabilizing Iraq (relative to the region), the Democrats deserve as much credit, if not more so, as President Bush.

I've supported this war from the beginning. As such, it is absolutely heart wrenching to see the problems that have developed in Iraq. I don't know whether to blame Bush for mismanaging the war, the Iraqis for fighting each other instead of working through democracy, or people like myself who thought it was a good idea to go in there in the first place.

But I still think we can succeed. We've already removed Saddam Hussein and established a fragile democracy there. If we can neutralize the Al Qaeda presence in Iraq and reduce the violence as we pull our troops out, I'll consider that a successful mission. It definitely won't be pretty, and it isn't what we had hoped for, but it's the best we can get.

All that being said, I'm still not ready to withdraw our troops as the Democrats want. We need to draw down our military levels in such a way that will increase stability. Right now I think running away would just lead to chaos in that country, which will only make things worse. This is now a political mission in which the military plays a crucial role.

But no one in the United States, especially not the Democrats, would gain from a defeat in Iraq. We're all in this together, now more than ever.


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