Pulling out of Iraq before the job is done is not an option. Victory is our only option. In his address before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Utah on Monday, President Bush correctly said, "They have a strategy, and part of that strategy is they're trying to shake our will" and "a policy of retreat and isolation will not bring us safety. The only way to defend our citizens where we live is to go after the terrorists where they live."
Why is this difficult for the president's opponents to understand? There is no going back. We would not be "safer" (whatever that means) had the president chosen not to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein. Do the 8 million people who, as the president said, "defied the car bombers and killers and voted in free elections" deserve to be abandoned at this crucial moment? Only if America's word means nothing and the blood of our brave volunteer soldiers is without value.
It took the United States from 1776 to 1789 to compose and ratify a Constitution and form a new government. There were intense debates over the role of religion, federalism, states' rights and many other issues. These were not unlike some of the subjects being debated now among Iraqis.
The president has repeatedly stated his objective in Iraq and in the wider war against terrorists. What is the objective of his critics and what is their forecast of what would occur following a precipitous U.S. withdrawal? They have an obligation to tell us, unless they are just blowing in the wind.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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