Linda Chavez

But the Saudis, whose Royal Family members have funded terrorist organizations for decades and promoted the radical brand of Islam that inspires fanatics worldwide to engage in jihad, are part of the problem, not the solution. Nor can Syria and Iran be trusted, since each is allied with separate factions involved in the current violence.

If the United States abrogates its responsibility to restore order to Iraq, we can expect more violence in the region, not less. We will have proved ourselves the paper tiger that our enemies have always accused us of being.

If we cannot win a war in a country the size of California against a ragtag group of criminals and religious zealots, how can we claim to be a superpower? Even our defeat in Vietnam pales in comparison. But it is not just the damage to U.S. influence and prestige that is at issue. It is our claim to moral leadership in the world as well.

The United States chose to invade Iraq, as it turns out, on the basis of faulty intelligence. Having done so, we have a moral duty to leave the country no worse off than we found it. We cannot leave Iraq until Iraqis can go about their daily lives without fear that they will be blown up, abducted, beheaded or terrorized in their homes, at work and at prayer. Until we solve the short-term crisis, there will be no long-term solution.

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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