Monday, December 05, 2005

Dean: We Can't Win the War in Iraq

Howard Dean is claiming that the United States will not win the war in Iraq:
(SAN ANTONIO) -- Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years.

Dean made his comments in an interview on WOAI Radio in San Antonio.

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."

First of all, the war in Iraq is nothing like Vietnam War, especially not in the sense that Dean wants it to be. Dean's assertion here is that we are suffering massive casualties in a war that is unwinnable. This is completely false.

Vietnam casualties ended up around 58,000 during the span of the war. We have just over 2100 casualties in Iraq over the course of two years. Even if the average number of troops we lost each year doubled and the war lasted another ten years, we would still only have suffered about half of the loss that we did in Vietnam.

Secondly, if so many Dems are now planning to come together on a proposal for immediate with drawal, why didn't they vote for the Murtha Proposal a couple weeks back? This massive shift of opinion does not correlate, especially with the president's speech last week laying out the plan for victory in Iraq. Many Dems were actually receptive to it. Nonetheless, Dean continues:
Dean says the Democrat position on the war is 'coalescing,' and is likely to include several proposals.

"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years," Dean said. "Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops.

Dean didn't specify which country the US forces would deploy to, but he said he would like to see the entire process completed within two years. He said the Democrat proposal is not a 'withdrawal,' but rather a 'strategic redeployment' of U.S. forces.

This is typical Democrat rhetoric. Offer up a "new plan" without really providing any sort of real plan. A "strategic redeployment" does not serve the purpose that stabilizing Iraq does. Furthermore, Dean's comment that we should move troops to Afghanistan where we are welcome is misleading.

We are welcome in Iraq too. The majority of the population supports U.S. troops and what they are doing for the country. There is only a small fraction of the population that is part of the anti-American insurgency, and this number is shrinking. The fact that al-Qaida operatives and other anti-American forces have tried to enter the country and join the fight does not mean that Iraqis in general don't want or appreciate our help. So Dean's comment is bogus.

Also, even if we were to "strategically redeploy," how would that take "the target off the backs of American troops?" There are plenty of radical Islamists in the Middle East who don't like us, and would love to get a crack at U.S. soldiers. The troops would still be targeted, only by people other than insurgents in Iraq. Thus, winning the war in Iraq and solidifying the newly created democracy there is of utmost importance.

A democratic Iraq is an ally of the United States, and a vital asset to the general War on Terror.

But Dean does not realize this:
"The White House wants us to have a permanent commitment to Iraq. This is an Iraqi problem. President Bush got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was a great thing, but that could have been done in a very different way. But now that we're there we need to figure out how to leave. 80% of Iraqis want us to leave, and it's their country."
This particular offering says little at best. Start with the politically correct disclaimer that removing Saddam was a good thing, then go on to say we should have done it differently. That doesn't matter anymore, what matters is that Saddam is out of power, and there is an elected government with a ratified constitution operating in Iraq.

As for the stat Dean uses, it's not true. Rep. Murtha has claimed similar statistics, though neither of the two have been verified. Cap that off with the brilliant insight that Iraq is "their country" and you've got another worthless Democrat talking point.

But here's the real kicker:
Dean also compared the controversy over pre-war intelligence to the Watergate scandal which brought down Richard Nixon's presidency in 1974.

"What we see today is very much like what was going in Watergate," Dean said. "It turns out there is a lot of good evidence that President Bush did not tell the truth when he was asking Congress for the power to go to war. The President said last week that Congress saw the same intelligence that he did in making the decision to go to war, and that is flat out wrong. The President withheld some intelligence from the Senate Intelligence Committee. He withheld the report from the CIA that in fact there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq), that they did not have a nuclear program. They (the White House) selectively gave intelligence to the United States Senate and the United States Congress and got them to give the go ahead to attack these people."

There are so many things wrong with this paragraph I don't even know where to begin. As the President Bush and Vice President Cheney have pointed out, they saw the same intelligence that the rest of Congress did in making the decision to go to war with Iraq, and the vast majority of Democrats supported the president's choice based on the evidence present at the time.

The charge that the administration "withheld" valuable intelligence or CIA reports is a blatant lie. There is no evidence of such action, and it is absurd to say that a president of the United States would selectively release vital intelligence just so he could send American soldiers off to war. These are the charges typically brought by crackpot conspiracy theorists with anti-government agendas.

Dean has gone off the deep end. Again. And it would be a travesty if his latest comments about Iraq are seen as anything but false, factless, rhetoric.