Mona Charen

The Iraqis need and want one thing above all others: security, which is what anyone would want in similar circumstances. Yet the Bush administration has adamantly insisted that we need no more troops in Iraq. How can this be? If the level of violence is unrelated to the number of American troops, why do we have 130,000 there? Why not 30,000? Recently, when American troops were withdrawn from Mosul to help pacify Baghdad, violence in Mosul spiked.

It may be that the administration is worried about the political cost of asking for and deploying more troops to Iraq. Certainly an additional call up of reserves or redeployment of other troops will cause hardship. But equally surely the consequences of not doing so are infinitely worse. The president's party is about to suffer a smackdown at the polls due to the slow-motion defeat in Iraq. But domestic effects pale in comparison with the damage defeat there will do to America in the world.

Because we haven't succeeded in Iraq, Hizbollah, Iran's cat's paw in Lebanon, launched a war against Israel that simultaneously torpedoed hopes for a free Lebanon. The other members of the Axis of Evil -- North Korea and Iran -- have felt free to stick their nuclear thumbs in our eyes. Al Qaeda's terrorists have taken heart from our perceived troubles in Iraq. They have always believed that we lack the stomach for real conflict and will crumble at the first big push.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur said it best: "In war, there is no substitute for victory." In this election cycle, the Democrats offer defeat, and the Republicans seem to have suffered a bad stall.

Mona Charen

Mona Charen is a syndicated columnist, political analyst and author of Do-Gooders: How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help .
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