Democrats are also very keen to "internationalize" the Iraq operation -- perhaps because they have such a deep aversion to assertions of American military might. The president is bowing to their concerns a bit by going to the United Nations and asking for more support. But it isn't at all clear that asking for foreign soldiers at this point is a good idea.
In the first place, it sends an unfortunate signal to the Arab world that the United States is tiring -- that the bombings, assassinations and terror inflicted on our troops are working to damage our morale. Second, as Tom Donnelly writes in this week's Weekly Standard, nations that can offer sizable numbers of well-trained troops, like India, are unlikely to agree. And Turkey, which might be happy to send forces, could destroy the fragile stability in Northern (Kurdish) Iraq. Would we really want Pakistani troops in Iraq? Their loyalties would not be at all clear.
The Democratic candidates have repeated again and again that they do not want American soldiers walking around Iraq with targets on their backs. Well, who does? But we don't want Americans reporting to work in skyscrapers with targets on their backs either, do we?
Some liberals are smirking that the president got himself into all this trouble in Iraq by fighting a discretionary war. They go on to urge that the threat was never real in the first place, seeing as how the weapons of mass destruction have not yet been found. While it's true that if the weapons are never found we will know that our intelligence was horribly, terribly wrong, it will not follow that the war was a mistake.
Yes, rebuilding Iraq is proving hard and dangerous. But the rebuilding, like the lightning war, is part of the larger war on terror. And if we fail in rebuilding Iraq (and we would if we followed the Democrats' cut and run advice), the result for the United States and the world would be quite frightening to contemplate.
And so, to quote former President Clinton in a very different context, "We just have to win then."