Last week, General Petraeus testified before the Senate about the current state of the Iraq War and provided his recommendations for the future. But before he had even arrived on Capitol Hill, Democrats were spreading negative messages about his report. Nancy Pelosi stated, “We don’t want to hear any glorification of what happened in Basra. We have to know the real ground truths of what is happening there, not put a shine on events.”
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama alongside many other Democrats, are committed to the idea that Iraq has always been a complete failure and have established themselves as candidates who will immediately pull out all troops to end American bloodshed. Because of this extreme stance, they are unable to accept any sort of successes that we have had in the region, but are actively looking and hoping for our failure in Iraq.
This is extremely frustrating for those who have seen significant gains over the past six months, with the number of deaths due to ethno sectarian violence falling significantly since last September. General Petraeus also cited other examples of progress in the region stating, “Iraqi forces have grown significantly since September, and over 540,000 individuals now serve in the Iraqi Security Forces. These units are bearing an increasing share of the burden, as evidenced by the fact that Iraqi security force losses have recently been three times our own.”
Ambassador Crocker went on to illustrate other gains when he stated, contrary to Pelosi’s beliefs, that “the Iraqi decision to combat these groups in Basra has major significance. First a Shia majority government has demonstrated its commitment to taking on criminals and extremists. Second, Iraqi security forces led these operations.”
Petraeus emphasized other positive events like the Iraq’s increasing revenue from oil as a sign of improvement. But while these gains have been significant, there is also much work to be done. In order for these gains to be truly realized, they must be sustained. Petraeus recommends continuing the surge drawdown until July, when he would undertake a 45-day evaluation, during which he would determine what further courses of action would be needed.
Iraq is an incredibly difficult situation, arguably one which the country should or should not have gotten involved in. But since we are involved, we have the duty as well as the opportunity to improve this region and make the rest of world safer. Iraq is the defining issue of our time; we should not simply cut our losses and give up, nor should we remain there indefinitely. We should constantly analyze the changing situation there, and determine how to continuously give more and more responsibility to the Iraqis. This has already begun and will continue to do so. But to make a rash decision, to end our involvement and give up, would be an utter disaster. Presidential candidate John McCain said it best: “To promise a withdrawal of our forces regardless of the consequences would constitute a failure of political and moral leadership.”
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