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Murtha is wrong on Iraq June 10, 2006

Posted by papundit in Uncategorized.

Moving from hawk to war critic was a great political move for Representative Murtha. All the favorable media attention has raised his profile so much that he announced  Friday that he will run for House Majority Leader if the Democrats take back the House in 2006.  Murtha is best known for calling for an American troop withdrawal in Iraq. Murtha and other Democratic leaders insist that the U.S. has failed in Iraq. 

"The war in Iraq was a failure."  Variations of that echo from the left so often that we don't even bother to respond anymore.  But that doesn't make it any less absurd:  In what sense could anyone argue that we lost the war in Iraq? Or put another way: How should we define military victory?  

Reasonable people could differ on that question, but my criteria include the following:
– Deposing an entrenched dictatorial regime, and putting its leaders on trial for crimes against humanity.  (Bonus points if the trials are led by formerly oppressed citizens of the conquered country.)
– Destroying a modern military force that threatened its enemies with weapons of mass destruction.
– Running the country — controlling all finance and infrastructure, as we did during reconstruction.
– Instituting a governmental mechanism (democracy) of our choosing and turning civil authority over to legislative, judicial, and police entities of that government.

These are the objectives for which we war, and a more complete military victory in a full-scale war has never been achieved.

Granted, our military is still in Iraq in a big way, engaging in nation-building, or counter-terrorism, defense against foreign insurgent terrorists, etc.  And people are dying on all sides.  Maybe there's a better way, but this "give up and go home" mentality skips over the fact that we are employing a military force as an international police force where none other is willing to stand.  People die every day from random acts of violence in American cities, and American police are killed in the line of duty too.  This has been going on for generations.  Have we lost the war on crime?  Should our police stop trying to "build a nation of laws" in our inner cities?  FBI agents run roughshod over state authority as they prosecute a running battle with drug traffickers and organized crime.  We even send agents to other countries to risk their life disrupting international crime networks that affect us back on the homeland.  Should we tell them to give up and go home?



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