Senator John McCain says we might be in Iraq for 100 years. In his swan song- well at least until 2012- Governor Mitt Romney said he was leaving the race because the party needed to unite in order to defeat the Democrats and he felt that staying in and allowing the Democrats to have an opportunity to “win” would be complicit in aiding a surrender to terror. The surge is working they say. Sure it is! The reason for the surge was to give the Iraqi government some breathing room to get its act together. It hasn’t. So, DUH, there is less violence because we have more troops there. You don’t need a PhD to figure out that math, but I guess it takes someone other than a Conservative to understand that less violence does not equal success. Unless political progress is made- the surge hasn’t worked.
But that “surge myth” is only part of the story that makes the idea of continuing our folly in Iraq more than absurd- but an INCREDIBLY dangerous enterprise.
A classified Pentagon assessment concludes that long battlefield tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with persistent terrorist activity and other threats, have prevented the U.S. military from improving its ability to respond to any new crisis according to a report from the Associated Press on February 8, 2008. Despite security gains in Iraq, there is still a “significant” risk that the strained U.S. military cannot quickly and fully respond to another outbreak elsewhere in the world, according to the report.
According to Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell at a House hearing on Thursday, a new influx of Western recruits – including American citizens – are being trained in Al Qaeda camps in Pakistan. These recruits would be able to more easily enter and move about the US than foreign operatives.
“Al Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the US: the identification, training, and positioning of operatives for an attack on the homeland,” wrote Mr. McConnell in prepared Congressional testimony.
Over the years, Mr. McConnell reported that al-Qaeda has lost its Afghanistan training camps, and much of its senior leadership, including key operational planners. But Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants have been able to retreat to the sanctuary of Pakistan’s wild border areas, while drawing on a bench of skilled operatives to replace members that have been killed or captured.
McConnell reported that Al-Qaeda’s ability to reconstitute and retain a base of operations in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) has been a major setback to counterterror efforts, admit intelligence officials. The FATA has given the group many of the advantages it once took from its bases in Afghanistan. The region has served as a staging area for Al Qaeda attacks in Afghanistan, as well as a base for training operations.
Pakistan remains in political turmoil following the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Its security forces are thought to number many Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been in the past a formidable enemy in that country bu this has been a year of major setbacks, with hundreds of its members killed and facilities destroyed. But unlike Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts believe, the Iraqi branch poses, or has ever posed, little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland.
Attacking the United States clearly remains on bin Laden’s agenda. But the likelihood that such an attack would be launched from Iraq, many experts contend, has sharply diminished over the past year as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has undergone dramatic changes. Once believed to include thousands of “foreign fighters,” it is now an overwhelmingly Iraqi organization whose aims are likely to remain focused on the struggle against the Shiite majority in Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials said.
And of course there was that moment of eloquence and clarity from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she described the NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan as “bumpy”.
It is beyond my comprehension how any person with a brain could think that continuing this folly is Iraq is making us safer. On the contrary even some of those “experts” that the administration looks to in order to sell its Iraq policy are stating that we are not in safer, our military is stretched, al-Qaeda has reconstituted and is more of a threat, and the situation is- to quote Ms. Rice- “bumpy”.
It is astonishing to me that Senator McCain- a bone fide war hero- would be so clueless about the effect that this policy is having on the safety of the nation and the strength and responsiveness of our military. He drank the Neo-Conservative Kool-Aid.
And if Senator McCain wants to support the troops, maybe he should listen to the troops. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign cash, looks at the 2007 money-raising In the 4th quarter of 2007, individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services the No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, contributing industries, respectively. War opponent Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, received the most from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Another war opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, was second with about $94,000.
Is anyone listening to the troops? Obviously “supporting our troops” doesn’t include listening to them. And clearly waging an absurd war in Iraq is clearly more important to the Republican party- and Senator McCain- than actually making our nation safe and actually defending the nation against terrorism.
I have a message to Governor Romney and Senator McCain- if you really want to do what’s best for our nation- vote for either Senator Obama or Senator Clinton, doing otherwise will surely put our nation in peril- and that would be shameful.