There#8217;s no hiding real truths about Iraq

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 29, 2008

A new Republican theme is emerging this week, from the president to Sen. John McCain to conservative columnists and radio talk show hosts.

It is the updated version of one of the president’s finest bi-partisan moments, “cut and run.”

Yes, the president who brought the nation together as a divider not a uniter has a new unity theme, that those who want to end the war in Iraq want to “Retreat.”

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I like it. It has that same divisive edge to it that cut and run gave us. And it is designed with the same purpose in mind, to win a national election on fear and war. Ah, the good old days of Republican war joy never leaves us for very long.

The argument is simple. The surge has worked. Democrats do not honor this great success. So why “retreat” when victory is ours for the taking.

As Charles Krauthammer, conservative columnist writes “Are the Democrats so intent on denying George Bush retroactive vindication for a war they insist is his that they would deny their own country a now achievable victory?”

Well, maybe Iraq is not about George Bush. As the president often says, history will judge his presidency. We just have to judge the interests of America.

Republicans want to run this fall on the success of the Iraqi war, but what is success?

It is now indisputable that Iraq had no WMDs. Therefore there was, and there is, no national security interest for America in Iraq. It is a war we have no reason to fight.

It is also true that Iraq had no connection either with Al Qaeda or 9/11, so there was and is no punitive justification for the war.

There is certainly no economic justification for the war. The price of oil when George Bush took office was $20 a barrel. It is now over $100 a barrel. Access to Iraq’s oil has certainly not benefited us.

Then there is the cost of the war. As of this week 3,973 dead and 39,298 wounded. And the financial cost that will exceed one trillion dollars with no end in sight.

Our military is stretched and overcommitted. Our troops serving tours of duty too long and too frequent. Our National Guard broken.

Al Qaeda, who only appeared in Iraq after our arrival, is said to be stronger in the Middle East than ever. Our five-year effort has not succeeded in ending their lives.

So the surge has worked.

And just what have we gotten for the success of the surge? Three good things.

Civilian deaths are significantly down. Americans deaths have fallen. And, just recently Iraqi lawmakers actually passed three bills.

And, if we continue to follow this success we can anticipate having troops in Iraq, as McCain has said, for as long as 100 years.

And apparently, our success is so impressive that we will have more troops in Iraq after the surge than before it began.

Be still my heart, so much success, so hard to see.

So let’s summarize the success. Americans are still dying and being terribly wounded in Iraq. The cost is still robbing our own needs, like funding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. There is no national security interest in Iraq nor benefit. If we stay 100 years we get nothing for Americans from the investment.

So we stay for a president to claim “retroactive vindication.”

Bring our troops home and allow the Iraqi’s self-determination.

Let’s re-name “retreat” what it really is, “success.” We already have failure.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Ironton Tribune.