It is not the United States that has caused regional instability in the Middle East, as suggested by the ISG. If that were the case, who was to blame for instability before this Iraq war, or the previous one; indeed, who was to blame for instability before Israel became an independent state in 1948. The region has always been turbulent. Turbulence is their problem, not ours. The United States is a convenient excuse for the failures of numerous regimes to use their vast wealth and their once-proud heritage to secure a better life for their people. Dictators must always blame someone else for their failures to avoid being blamed themselves. It has always been so, whether the dictator is Islamic, communist, or fascist.
The incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas), may have the best short-term approach. To my surprise, Reyes is breaking with many of his Democratic colleagues, telling Newsweek Magazine he wants to increase the number of American troops in Iraq by 20,000 to 30,000 to help "dismantle the militias." Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) has been saying much the same thing for many months.
Enemies like this understand only one thing: power. They do not keep promises, or honor treaties and agreements that do not serve their primary interests. For them, those interests include humiliating the United States, securing Iraq for the acolytes of Osama bin Laden and then moving on to challenge America in other places and finally on our own soil. The problem is that if we wait to crush them until they reach our shores (and too many are already among us), it will be too late.
George Orwell said, "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." The Iraq Study Group Report won't contribute to our safety. Finishing the job we started, by whatever means necessary, will.
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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