Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Upsetting Liberals With a Way to Victory

We’ll soon see if liberals think as highly of retired Major General John Batiste as they did before.

Not so long ago the liberal members of the media had a field day with several former high-ranking military officers who had “broken ranks” and criticized the Iraq war effort, specifically Donald Rumsfeld’s involvement. Former General’s Batiste, Zinni, and others were put upon altars and worshipped for their willingness to criticize the Bush Administration. They passed from rightfully deserved hero status for their achievements as Generals into the realm of super-heroes as critics.

The mainstream press was more than happy to run lead and front page stories about this criticism. Although they missed the point and reasoning for the Generals’ criticism, they were more than willing to paint this as yet another reason to surrender, cut and run from Iraq.

Liberal politicians and their minions were thrilled to do the same. They more than welcomed news like this they felt would precipitate defeat. They eagerly accepted anyone that made the situation in Iraq and the Administration look worse; after all, the worse the situation in Iraq the better their chances in November. How many mornings and evenings were spent with the likes of Murtha, Levin, and Durbin pointing to these retired Generals as yet another reason to accept defeat?

But an op-ed column written by General Batiste may turn their view of them on its head. The column was based on a white paper “developed and reviewed by a wide range of retired senior military leaders” which “represents much of their thinking. None of them disagrees with its general themes.”

It begins with four questions that need to be asked about our alternatives in Iraq. Question four is “Do you think that the United States’ long-term goals are well-served by a strategy that doesn’t include a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq?” That is followed by directions to proceed if the reader answered “yes” to this and the previous questions.

When I read that I started smiling. As I read through the column I kept smiling, and then applauded the concepts and specific ideas when finished.

The white paper and the General’s comments were all geared toward leading us to victory in Iraq.

What a novel concept these days. Especially when so many are willing to embrace the defeatism of the Iraq Study Group simply because it’s “bipartisan” in nature, implying that it must therefore have some sort of magical power to be THE answer and have an unquestionable supreme truth affixed to it.

Personally, the Iraq Study Group lost me when they failed to detail a path to victory and included as one of their recommendations that we train Iraqi soldiers, as if we weren’t doing that already. As one Marine who’s there training Iraqi soldiers put it, “What the hell do they think I’ve been doing over here for the last year?” At that point, the level of credibility the group was to be afforded became miniscule.

But now we have at least one retired General, supported by a cast of others, publicly proposing a path toward victory instead of the path toward defeat the liberals have been pushing this country down. Whatever will they do?

Now that retired General Batiste is advocating a sound strategy for victory, will he still be treated as a super-hero or will the white paper and his column get skimmed over by editors and producers? Will the strategy be publicized or ignored? Will the press celebrate the genius? We’ll see.

Either way, the white paper does provide a solid strategy for victory in Iraq. Major General Batiste’s group should be commended for their efforts and ideas.

The white paper addresses the political, diplomatic, economic, military, and home fronts and does so in a manner that does not lose its impact with the “diplo-speak” of a group trying to be bipartisan rather than effective. The strategy obviously comes from those who are experienced at both devising and executing plans which can be implemented at all levels.

It calls for more troops in Iraq and gives specifics for their deployment. It proposes focusing our main effort on the continued training of Iraqi security forces, and then establishing security and taking the fight to the Sunni insurgency; all starting points from which specificity can be given to manpower assignments.

Two of the other recommendations on the military front are to also be applauded: first, to deal with Moqtada al Sadr and his Mahdi Army, and second, provide security along the Iranian and Syrian borders. Both badly needed to minimize or eliminate the instability each of those entities keeps forcing into the region.

Their proposals for the home front are also sound and necessary, especially for upsizing and funding of the military, fixing dysfunctional interagency processes, fully funding the VA, and energy independence.

Most important of all though may be putting this “nation and our government on a wartime footing.” At some point, there are huge segments of this country which need to realize and accept the kind of long term fight we’re in against Islamic extremists and that it requires some attention and sacrifice on their part, not just their criticism or opposition.

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