May 23, 2007
On a fairly regular basis I correspond with my Congressional and Senatorial Representatives, All Democrats. Baird, like many others today, was born too late to have served in Viet Nam, coming of age after the draft ended in 1973, about the time he would have turned 18. Although clueless about several matters, I do find Baird to be a sincere and decent man, unlike a few others within both parties.
Baird nearly always gives me the courtesy of a return email, mostly in disagreement with my position and I his. Maybe his holding a Ph.D. in clinical psychology has something to do with it, I don’t really know. Whatever the reason, he is always respectful.
That being said, I recently made my position known as to the funding bills before the House, with and without benchmarks, withdrawal dates and what not. He voted for them all and today, sent me his ideas for a “better course” in the War on Terror should be. As a side note perhaps he missed John Edwards call of there is no “Global War on Terror,” just a “Bumper Sticker Slogan.”
1. We must renew our focus on securing and rebuilding Afghanistan and increase both troop strength and financial investment in that nation along with our allied partners. The fight in Afghanistan was the real and most important fight against the terrorists of September 11 th. It was justified from the beginning and remains just today, and it has the support of the world. We cannot let the Taliban regroup and reinstate their reign of terror and extremism there and we still have a chance, though it is slipping fast, to help the Afghanis establish a successful, tolerant and secure nation.
With all due respect, even Al Qaeda sees Iraq as the ‘central front’ in the ongoing war. By the reasoning we always hear from the left, neither Afghanistan nor the Taliban ever attacked us. At worst, they refused to turn over Bin Laden and were horribly oppressive to the Afghani peoples. Where is that any different than what Saddam was doing? He was refusing to comply with U.N. resolutions and he too didn’t attack America, but he too was harboring terrorists and supportive of them.
Is there a reason Iraqis don’t merit help, but Afghani’s do? What good is it to abandon Iraq and displace NATO Troops currently fighting and securing the peace in Afghanistan when just last year, Mullah Mohammed Omar, elusive leader of the Taliban was told by Bin Laden’s lieutenants that “Al Qaeda would be diverting a large number of fighters from the anti-U.S. insurgency in Afghanistan to Iraq. Al Qaeda also planned to reduce by half its $3 million monthly contribution to Afghan jihadi outfits.”
Seems to me, Iraq is just as justified as Afghanistan is, the world be damned!
2 In Iraq, the Administration should meet confidentially with the Iraqi leaders and give them a timeline with key benchmarks by which our forces will withdraw. The timeline and benchmarks should be sufficient to ensure the safety or our forces and give the elected Iraqi government a reasonable time to train their forces and strengthen their political processes, but there must be a timeline so there is real pressure for real progress. The process of conveying this information and the timeline itself should be confidential. The elected Iraqi government should then announce that it is they who are asking us to begin withdrawal, thereby strengthening their credibility and leadership while giving our nation a graceful way to exit at their request. Frankly, this should have been done by the administration before the Iraq Study Group report and before this debate in Congress, but it is still not too late.
And why is this only good for Iraq? Why not Afghanistan as well? Personally, I’m for helping both as much as we can, but if we make such stringent demands on the Iraqis, why not Afghanistan as well?
3. While beginning a measured and strategic redeployment of our forces from Iraq , we should increase our support for infrastructure repair and shift increasing responsibility for that effort to Iraqi companies and workers and away from foreign contractors. We should, however, maintain close oversight of the spending to ensure the resources are being used as intended and we should link continued financial support to real political and security progress on the part of the Iraqis. Further, we should prevail upon wealthy neighbors in the region, notably the Saudi Arabians and others, to expend some of their own vast funds to enhance the infrastructure effort. We should also dramatically reduce the size of the embassy complex that is now under construction in Baghdad and we should pledge to no permanent U.S. bases in Iraq.
“Measured and Strategic Redeployment” is just another glib way of saying “retreat,” “cut and run.” “Foreign Contractors” obviously refers to the dreaded Halliburton, the same company that announced moving its operations out of the U.S. and to Dubai, drawing a lot of fire from the left that hates the company in the first place. Last I heard, Iraqis are already rebuilding their country and seeking more Iraqi’sto help.
Then again, why are these calls also not expected of Afghanistan by Democrats?
4. To help fund the infrastructure and security activities within Iraq, and to give every Iraqi a stake in the success of their political process. An equitable means of distributing oil revenues should be created that ensures all Iraqis will benefit from the oil resources and, simultaneously, that all Iraqis will lose economically if insurgents damage those resources.
Is this ‘spread the wealth,’ or ‘spread the misery?’ Hard for me to tell. The oil revenue sharing is a good plan, but if you read the article linked, it has been in the works by Iraqis and is expected to be passed into law soon.
5. We should encourage the Iraqis to work more closely with moderate Arab neighbors, notably Jordan, Egypt and others in the region to help with the training of the security forces and with the reconstruction effort. This assistance has been offered since the beginning of the conflict but the Iraqis have not taken advantage of that offer to any real degree as of yet.
Nouri Maliki was just in Egypt seeking help. Of course, some of these wealthier nations forgiving Iraqi debt would help, but I don’t see Democrats calling for that.
Maybe Mr. Baird desires Iran’s offers of help in withdrawing our Troops to be replaced by radical Iranian’s?
6. Because the Iraq conflict has had a devastating and destabilizing economic, political and social impact on friendly and moderate nations such as Jordan, Egypt and others, we should provide additional financial aid to those nations, particularly to help them deal with the influx of refugees, the high costs of energy, reductions in trade and tourism, and other adverse impacts. We cannot leave our friends to suffer from this conflict, and we dare not let the instability spread to nations that have been models of change and moderation.
This is probably the most incredible call of all. Oil is bringing high dollars to the region. In fact, in a typical moonbat undertaking, his fellow Democrats have passed a bill so they may sue OPEC nations over the high price of oil and gas. How much help do you believe we will receive should they go through with that, not to mention receiving oil ourselves?
He also says, “ we dare not let the instability spread to nations that have been models of change and moderation.” Given that he also calls on these nations to be more involved in training Iraqi Military and Al Qaeda has vowed to attack anyone helping America in Iraq, his call guarantees the instability will spread more than it already has.
Mr. Baird too needs to heed the words of former Senator Bob Kerry (D. Ne.) when he wrote, “American liberals need to face these truths: The demand for self-government was and remains strong in Iraq despite all our mistakes and the violent efforts of al Qaeda, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias to disrupt it. Al Qaeda in particular has targeted for abduction and murder those who are essential to a functioning democracy: school teachers, aid workers, private contractors working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, police officers and anyone who cooperates with the Iraqi government,” and “Those who argue that radical Islamic terrorism has arrived in Iraq because of the U.S.-led invasion are right. But they are right because radical Islam opposes democracy in Iraq.”
7. We must also reach out once again to our traditional allies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere in the world, openly acknowledge past mistakes, spell out this new direction, and ask for their financial, diplomatic, and, if necessary, military help in making it succeed.
We have been, Mr. Baird. Since some of these “traditional European allies” have been implicated in the ‘Oil for Food’ scandal, their reluctance is understood.
With recent elections in France and Germany, they are the ones turning to us.
While supporting and working with friendly and moderate nations in the region and elsewhere, we should engage in direct discussions and negotiations with other nations in the region, notably Iran and Syria. We disagree profoundly with these nations on many issues, and we must not be naïve or overly optimistic, but it is in our best interests to at least engage in a dialogue and search for areas where we may find common ground. The Administration's refusal to do this, even through back channels, is misguided and counterproductive.
To what extent, Mr. Baird? Beg them to stop supplying the insurgents with weapons? Allow them a portion of Iraq? Adopt Sharia law in the U.S. somewhat? Just what should we offer them, Mr. Baird?
England’s Neville Chamberlain took this path back in 1938, to no avail. In spite of promises made, Hitler’s forces still over ran Europe until it was nearly too late. Maybe Mr. Baird knows how to translate Kumbaya into the language of the terrorists, no one else does.
9. It is dishonest to not include the full costs of this war and the associated increases in defense spending as part of the annual budget and deficit projections. We must at last fully account for the costs of this war and fully fund our commitment to veterans when they return. To pay for the financial costs, rather than passing debt onto our children, some of the President's tax cuts should be allowed to expire.
Last I heard, tax revenues are at an all time high with the Bush tax cuts. Why allow them to run out and revenues to fall backwards again? Maybe, instead, some entitlement spending should cease, especially to illegal immigrants.
10. Our focus on the Iraq situation should not cause us to lose sight, as it has for too long, of the real goal, which is promoting broad security, stability and moderation in the region for the sake of that region itself and in the interest of our own security. Even if we could fully secure Iraq with this surge of troops, which is highly doubtful, if we do not improve our overall image and relationships in the region and the world, and if we do not do more to support moderate and friendly nations, we will see continued and worsening threats from extremist groups and rogue nations. A key part of this effort will be playing a constructive role in working to resolve the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians. We also have important and necessary work to do to improve our image and relationships within our own hemisphere and we must not ignore or neglect that work.
Please explain why it is our responsibility to intercede between Israel and Palestinians, but not to help the Iraqis? It is the same as those who demand we withdraw from Iraq and send Troops to Darfur.
Pull out of Iraq, abandon Iraq as we were forced to do with Viet Nam and America will have no image or respect from anyone. Middle Easterners may not agree with us and they may not like us, but they do admire strength and perceive anything else as weakness.
We had the respect of the world after World War Two because of our strengths, not our pussyfooting around. Democrats have been all too willing to weaken America and complain about lack of respect. No one has ever been attacked because they were too strong, but too weak.
If we really want world respect, then Support our Troops, give them what they need to achieve Victory and stand alongside of our President, help him achieve Victory in this fight and build a stable and free Iraq and Afghanistan.
That is what will earn America respect, Mr. Baird.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
May 23, 2007
Posted by Lew Waters at 10:41 PM