Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Response White House to a Democratic Letter Response White House to a Democratic Letter

The White House released this Response from the Chief of Staff Josh Bolten to a Democratic Letter:
Your letter recites four elements of a proposed "new direction" in Iraq. Three of those elements reflect well-established Administration policy; the fourth is dangerously misguided.
The first three suggestions in the Democratic letter are: transitioning American troops to counter-terrorism, training, etc.; working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias; and convening a international conference to support a political settlement in Iraq. I wonder where these Democratic leaders have been the last couple of years? Don't they wonder how those over 1/4 million Iraqi Defenese Force troops and police have been trained up? By magic?

The fourth Democratic suggestion though is to commit to a timetable to "beginning the phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq before the end of this year". In other words, setting a time table to cut and run from Iraq. The White House correctly points out that Murtha's suggestion of repositioning them to Okinowa would put them 5,000 miles away - but that doesn't take into account that the 5,000 miles would be over presumably hostile countries such as China and Iran. Avoiding hostile countries would put the troops over 6,000 miles away from Iraq, in which case, they might as well be in the U.S., as that would be closer. In any case though, it is the time table that is the real danger - giving our enemies a signal that if they just hold tight for another 4 months, they are home safe.

Then, the Democrats go on and push for the replacement of the Secretary of Defense. Never mind that the reason that the military is so stretched is Clinton's Peace Dividend that cut the number of Army divisions in half, or that Rumsfeld is managing to transform our military from defending against Soviet divisions attacking Europe to facing terrorist and insurgency threats like those faced in Iraq and Afganistan, while in the midst of a shooting war that has our shrunken military stretched thin already. Who do they think would do a better job at transforming the military while fighting in two countries and facing two more terrorist states with nuclear ambitions? Murtha? Of course, there is also no mention in the Democratic letter about transformation of the military, nor, indeed, why Clinton made no real steps at doing so during his eight years in office. Rather:
From the failure to deploy sufficient numbers of troops at the start of the war or to adequately equip them, to the prison abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib, to disbanding the Iraqi military, to the failure to plan for the post-war occupation, the Administration's mistakes have taken a toll on our troops and our security.
As to the number of troops, what would they have those troops have done? No one inside inside the Democratic party or in the Pentagon predicted that Humvees needed to be armored or that the body armor was inadequte before the invasion of Iraq. This was discovered after the fact. And moaning about Abu Ghraib? That was a handful of troops out of somewhere between a quarter and half a million who have served in Iraq. In comparison with our other wars, it doesn't even rate as brutality or a scandal.

The bottom line is that Democrats aren't serious about winning the War on Terror, and, in particular, Operation Iraqi Freedom. They are trying to score political points while refusing to make any serious suggestions. Three of four of their operational suggestions have been American policy for years, and the fourth is one of the worst things that we can do. And they want they want the Administration to dump probably the best and most effective Secretary of Defense since the Second World War for their own political gain. Luckily, the President is not listening to them, as evidenced by the letter from his Chief of Staff.

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