Saturday, July 02, 2005

General McCaffrey: We're Within Sight of Victory, But It Could Still Slip Away

Pay attention, Krugman, Rich, Cohen, and the rest of you whiners: this is how to gripe about Iraq. General Barry McCarffrey repeats many of the same points the anti-war folks do, but instead of seeing problems as an invitation to give up, he wisely suggests we redouble our efforts. Some highlights:
...In my view, if the constitutional process can be nurtured to a successful conclusion and allow elections of a new government in December--then we will see the high point of the insurgency pass this coming January. The energy will begin to drain out of the violent maelstrom of Iraq and by the fall of 2006 we will see the beginnings of a stable and viable Iraqi state.

This will continue to be hard work in Iraq. Progress will be nonlinear. Casualties will be a trailing indicator of successful political integration. Iraq will be bloody at least through the coming summer even given the positive findings I believe are likely. To succeed, we must sustain both a robust U.S. military presence and continuing significant U.S. taxpayer economic support to develop Iraq's infrastructure for the coming three to five years. If we adopt a publicly articulated "exit strategy," we risk reversion to a bloody civil war that will destroy all that we have accomplished through the great daring and courage of the military, State Department and CIA interagency team...

...The U.S. Army and the Marines are too undermanned and underresourced to sustain this security policy beyond next fall. They are starting to unravel. Congress is in denial and must act. In addition, the American people are losing faith in the statements of our Defense Department leadership. Support for the war is plummeting along with active-duty and National Guard recruiting.

The U.S. Army needs to increase by 80,000 personnel and the Marines by 25,000. In addition, serious targeted recruiting educational and economic incentives need to be provided by Congress. Finally, the challenge of recruiting dedicated young men and women to the Armed Forces calls for public support and involvement by America's political leaders, educators, coaches and parents. Supporting a strong Armed Forces is not the responsibility of Marine and Army recruiting sergeants but all of us who benefit from our national defense...

...Our troops in the face of danger are now growing worried--will the American people sustain them to achieve victory or ignore their struggles on the frontier of the war on terror?

Now is the time for nonpartisan, collective leadership to support and guide our strategy in the ongoing operations in Southwest Asia. Lack of political will and clarity will surely snatch failure from the impending realization of our objectives if we do not act to support those who have given so much to America's defense.
In other words, quit whining, roll up your sleeves, and get with the home team. Highly recommended...

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