Jack Kemp

The questions and doubts that abound over the current U.S. strategy to reinforce our mission in Iraq to help pacify and hold Baghdad are essential in seeking an Iraqi political, economic and diplomatic success. It is of paramount importance to allow this change of strategy to work as an alternative to courting disaster for America and our Arab allies in the region if we just walk away or redeploy in a capricious way.

Attempts to pass nonbinding resolutions as so-called messages to the president will end up sending a clear message to the insurgents in Iraq, Iranian radicals and al-Qaida that they can just wait us out to achieve a victory and thus gain control over much of the Arabian Gulf. This result would be an unmitigated disaster.

I was in Congress in the early 1970s when just such a strategy emboldened the North Vietnamese to wait out the United States. It demoralized South Vietnam and eventually led to a North Vietnamese main-force invasion of South Vietnam, causing an ignominious American retreat, eventually leading to the killing fields of Cambodia and the forced re-education camps for our Southern Vietnamese allies.

Questioning U.S. strategy is one thing; indeed, questioning the whole "rush to war" in a Muslim country is fair game, but to pass nonbinding resolutions and move to cut off funding would doom not only our last chance for success in Iraq, but would also lead to catastrophe for our Arab friends in the whole of the Middle East and North Africa.

While I don't question their patriotism or integrity, I do question the judgment of those on the left, and some on the right, who've decided to walk away from the reality of our U.S. commitment to freedom for Iraq and a regional modus vivendi for the Middle East.

Some observers see the historic context in which this whole challenge is being played out. One such expert, highly respected on the left and right, is David Broder of The Washington Post, the dean of journalists in our nation's capital, who wrote last Sunday about the demonstrable change in the U.S. strategy for Iraq. Broder wrote that it would give us a new opportunity to move past the divisive domestic debate over the deployment of 20,000 more troops and instead put pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a political and diplomatic solution, something we all want.

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp is Founder and Chairman of Kemp Partners and a contributing columnist to Townhall.com.
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