For a long time it has seemed to me that too many of us believe that unless things go almost perfectly in Iraq we are doing something wrong and it must be the fault of the civilian planners. How can we be so arrogant to think we can just snap our fingers and insulate Iraq -- notwithstanding our unparalleled military -- from the ravages of terrorism, much of which is doubtlessly being fomented by the neighboring terrorist states of Iran and Syria?
The fact that we are engaged in a difficult war and sustaining casualties, albeit at a rate that is probably but a fraction of those of the enemy, does not mean we are botching the prosecution of the war. It means that we are human and that even our nonpareil soldiers are human, too, and mortal. We cannot fight a war without casualties, especially an urban guerrilla war against a sociopathic, asymmetrical enemy, and we can never completely immunize ourselves or our allies from suicide bombings and other attacks on military or civilian targets.
It also worries me that while we are quite correctly training Iraqi soldiers to take over the primary role of defending their nation and their new government, the moment we withdraw, Iraq could be invaded by the Iranian army. Have we trained the Iraqi soldiers to fight in that context as well? I have no idea. If not, would we have any real choice but to return and defend against the Iranian consumption of Iraq?
It might well be that the only way we can dramatically win this war in Iraq is to take the war to Iran and Syria and cut off the head of the beast that is feeding the terrorists in Iraq. But are we really prepared to do that at this point? We're not even close and I'm far from advocating it.
But I pray that in the meantime we unite again as a nation that is painfully aware it is at war against a ruthless, unappeasable enemy. If we are truly asleep to that reality I shudder to think what it will take to awaken us. It's unthinkable. Partisan politics aside, we simply cannot continue to have our heads planted so firmly in the sand.
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