War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.--John Stuart Mill
"The New York Times Surrenders: A Monument to Defeatism on the Editorial Page" (12 July2007) by Victor Davis Hanson is a point by point refutation of the NY Times editorial which called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Hanson did a yeoman's job, though perhaps refuting the NY Times these days is not that hard, especially when one has the historical depth and military knowledge of a VDH:
Both houses of Congress voted for 23 writs authorizing the war with Iraq — a post-9/11 confirmation of the official policy of regime change in Iraq that President Clinton originated. Supporters of the war included 70 percent of the American public in April 2003; the majority of NATO members; a coalition with more participants than the United Nations alliance had in the Korean War; and a host of politicians and pundits as diverse as Joe Biden, William F. Buckley, Wesley Clark, Hillary Clinton, Francis Fukuyama, Kenneth Pollack, Harry Reid, Andrew Sullivan, Thomas Friedman, and George Will.
And there was a Pentagon postwar plan to stabilize the country, but it assumed a decisive defeat and elimination of enemy forces, not a three-week war in which the majority of Baathists and their terrorist allies fled into the shadows to await a more opportune time to reemerge, under quite different rules of engagement.
The Times wonders what Bush’s cause was. Easy to explain, if not easy to achieve: to help foster a constitutional government in the place of a genocidal regime that had engaged in a de facto war with the United States since 1991, and harbored or subsidized terrorists like Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, at least one plotter of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, al Qaeda affiliates in Kurdistan, and suicide bombers in Gaza and the West Bank. It was a bold attempt to break with the West’s previous practices, both liberal (appeasement of terrorists) and conservative (doing business with Saddam, selling arms to Iran, and overlooking the House of Saud’s funding of terrorists).
We promised General Petraeus a hearing in September; it would be the height of folly to preempt that agreement by giving in to our summer of panic and despair. Critics called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a change in command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops. But now that we have a new secretary, a new command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops, suddenly we have a renewed demand for withdrawal before the agreed-upon September accounting — suggesting that the only constant in such harping was the assumption that Iraq was either hopeless or not worth the effort.
The truth is that Iraq has upped the ante in the war against terrorists. Our enemies’ worst nightmare is a constitutional government in the heart of the ancient caliphate, surrounded by consensual rule in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Turkey; ours is a new terror heaven, but with oil, a strategic location, and the zeal born of a humiliating defeat of the United States on a theater scale. The Islamists believe we can’t win; so does the New York Times. But it falls to the American people to decide the issue.
In "Deserting Petraeus" (13 July 2007) Charles Krauthammer explains why now--just as the "surge" is working--is not the time to withdraw or signal withdrawal:
Finally, after four terribly long years, we know what works. Or what can work. A year ago, a confidential Marine intelligence report declared Anbar province (which comprises about a third of Iraq's territory) lost to al-Qaeda. Now, in what the Times's John Burns calls an "astonishing success," the tribal sheiks have joined our side and committed large numbers of fighters that, in concert with American and Iraqi forces, have largely driven out al-Qaeda and turned its former stronghold of Ramadi into one of most secure cities in Iraq.
It began with a U.S.-led offensive that killed or wounded more than 200 enemy fighters and captured 600. Most important was the follow-up. Not a retreat back to American bases but the setting up of small posts within the population that, together with the Iraqi national and tribal forces, have brought relative stability to Anbar.
The same has started happening in many of the Sunni areas around Baghdad, including Diyala province -- just a year ago considered as lost as Anbar -- where, for example, the Sunni insurgent 1920 Revolution Brigades has turned against al-Qaeda and joined the fight on the side of U.S. and Iraqi government forces.
Just this week, Petraeus said that the one thing he needs more than anything else is time. To cut off Petraeus's plan just as it is beginning -- the last surge troops arrived only last month -- on the assumption that we cannot succeed is to declare Petraeus either deluded or dishonorable. Deluded in that, as the best-positioned American in Baghdad, he still believes we can succeed. Or dishonorable in pretending to believe in victory and sending soldiers to die in what he really knows is an already failed strategy.
That's the logic of the wobbly Republicans' position. [...]
Senator Joseph Lieberman discusses Iran's involvement in "Iran's Proxy War: Tehran is on the offensive against us throughout the Middle East" (6 July 2007)
Upon returning from Iraq, Senator Joseph Lieberman discusses what he saw: "What I Saw in Iraq: Iran remains a problem, but Anbar has joined the fight against terror" (15 June 2007)
"A Letter to Our Soldiers in Iraq" by Dennis Prager (8 May 2007)
"Defeating Terror" by Ralph Peters (23 May 2006)
"Revisionist History: Antiwar myths about Iraq, debunked" by Peter Wehner (23 May 2006)
"The Islamic threat is greater than German and Soviet threats were" by Dennis Prager
"The Wrong Time to Lose Our Nerve: A response to Messrs. Buckley, Will and Fukuyama" by Peter Wehner
"Fukuyama's fabrication" by Charles Krauthammer
"Sacred Words" at Mudville Gazette is something all should read.
Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, February 1998: "Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face."
Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, February 1998: "He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has 10 times since 1983."
Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, October 2003: "When [former President Bill] Clinton was here recently he told me was absolutely convinced, given his years in the White House and the access to privileged information which he had, that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction until the end of the Saddam regime."
French President Jacques Chirac, February 2003: "There is a problem -- the probable possession of weapons of mass destruction by an uncontrollable country, Iraq. The international community is right . . . in having decided Iraq should be disarmed."
President Bill Clinton, December 1998: "Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them, not once, but repeatedly -- unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war, not only against soldiers, but against civilians; firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. Not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq. . . . I have no doubt today that, left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again. . . . "
Clinton, July 2003: " . . . [I]t is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks of biological and chemical weapons. We might have destroyed them in '98. We tried to, but we sure as heck didn't know it because we never got to go back there."
Gen. Wesley Clark, September 2002, testimony before the House Armed Services Committee: "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat. . . . Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons. . . . He is, as far as we know, actively pursuing nuclear capabilities, though he doesn't have nuclear warheads yet. If he were to acquire nuclear weapons, I think our friends in the region would face greatly increased risks, as would we."
Vermont Gov. Howard Dean [D], September 2002: "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies."
Dean, February 2003: "I agree with President Bush -- he has said that Saddam Hussein is evil. And he is. [Hussein] is a vicious dictator and a documented deceiver. He has invaded his neighbors, used chemical arms, and failed to account for all the chemical and biological weapons he had before the Gulf War. He has murdered dissidents and refused to comply with his obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions. And he has tried to build a nuclear bomb. Anyone who believes in the importance of limiting the spread of weapons of mass killing, the value of democracy and the centrality of human rights must agree that Saddam Hussein is a menace. The world would be a better place if he were in a different place other than the seat of power in Baghdad or any other country."
Dean, March 2003: "[Iraq] is automatically an imminent threat to the countries that surround it because of the possession of these weapons."
Robert Einhorn, Clinton assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation, March 2002: "How close is the peril of Iraqi WMD? Today, or at most within a few months, Iraq could launch missile attacks with chemical or biological weapons against its neighbors (albeit attacks that would be ragged, inaccurate and limited in size). Within four or five years it could have the capability to threaten most of the Middle East and parts of Europe with missiles armed with nuclear weapons containing fissile material produced indigenously -- and to threaten U.S. territory with such weapons delivered by nonconventional means, such as commercial shipping containers. If it managed to get its hands on sufficient quantities of already produced fissile material, these threats could arrive much sooner."
Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., and others, in a letter to President Bush, December 2001: "There is no doubt that . . . Saddam Hussein has invigorated his weapons programs. . . . In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies."
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., December 1998: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Sen. John Rockefeller, D-W.Va., ranking minority Intelligence Committee member, October 2002: "There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years."