Today, we as a people – the Bush administration no less than Congressional Democrats – have neither the will nor the desire to go all out to force a democratic, civilized way of life on Iraq.
Where the two parties differ is on three main points:
● The Democrats seem to feel sectarian violence is endemic to Iraq and there is nothing we can do about it, whereas the administration believes the forces of violence in Iraq, though aided by Iran and Syria, are finite and can over time be defeated, but precisely how much time is needed no one can say.
● The Democrats do not believe it is worth it for us to play a role in deciding Iraq’s future, whereas the administration feels that if the wrong people take power in Iraq it will destabilize the entire Middle East – perhaps the entire world.
● The Democrats see the fighting in Iraq as essentially a sectarian civil war that should not be our concern, whereas the administration sees it as part of the overall war on terrorism.
On the home front, Iraq is looking more like Vietnam all the time. In both cases we never had the will to go all out as we did in World War II. Those eager for us to get out proclaimed the Vietnam conflict to be a civil war just they do with Iraq today. Judging from the polls, the war in Iraq may be even more unpopular with the American people than Vietnam ever was.
When we pulled out of Vietnam, it was the South Vietnamese who paid the price while we pretty much got away with it. In the case of Iraq, there is ample reason to fear that the price of abandonment will extend well beyond Iraq’s borders.