The Washington Post's "Sunday Outlook" column this week outlines the apparently dwindling public support of the Iraq War. It cites poll ("In November, a majority (54 to 45 percent) told the Gallup Organization that the war in Iraq was a mistake.") after poll ("In October, the proportion who preferred coming home crossed the 50 percent barrier, reaching 53 percent...") and precedent ("On June 8, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon announced the withdrawal of 25,000 American troops from Vietnam.") in its attempt to portray the war as a failure and a mistake. They take the far-left position of calling for a "cut-and-run" policy which essentially involves the gradual pullout of all troops regardless of the consequences.
Unfortunately, things aren't as simple as the column suggests. First, since when has public opinion driven public policy? If this was true, abortion would be illegal and Christianity would be the state-favored religion. Only about a quarter of respondents ever agree with the current "law" that abortion is always legal, and over three-quarters of respondents consistently answer to being "Christian. Such overwhelming majorities certainly have more clout than a few polls that barely show a majority advocating positions favorable to the left.
The truth is, the public rarely knows much about a poll's topic relative to experts. In the case of the Iraq War, the experts are the troops on the ground in Iraq. They know far better than the average American citizen the progress being made in Iraq and the strides that have been made since the conflict began in March 2003. If one pays attention to the words of soldiers (not the few handpicked by the liberal media), they would hear positive news about the war rather than the negative junk that emanates from the MSM.
Second, it's not as simple as comparing the Iraq War to Vietnam, as much as liberals wish they were one and the same. The Vietnam War (started by Democrat LBJ, not Nixon) was never a very "popular" war, but then again such a thing is an oxymoron. The war never received much support from Congress, which led to Nixon's decision to pull troops out gradually in the early 1970's. Furthermore, if one were to compare Nixon's supposed pullout to what Democrats are suggesting today then we must look at how long it took until the final troop left Southeast Asia.
Although Nixon gradually withdrew tens of thousands of troops time and again over the course of three to four years, the unilateral withdrawal of troops was not ordered until January 15, 1973 because of apparent "progress in peace negotiations" which turned out to be a charade. Two years after the withdrawal of all U.S. troops, the North Vietnamese took over South Vietnam and encircled Saigon forcing the evacuation of several thousand civilians and U.S. Embassy employees.
The drastic differences between Vietnam and Iraq are glaring and indisputable. One, Vietnam was ended because peace seemed within grasp and would end conflict while Iraq would be left to the terrorists if our forces are withdrawn. Two, the timetable for withdrawal in Vietnam lasted between three and four years while plans for withdrawal from Iraq ask for a one or two year withdrawal plan of a similarly sized troop level. Third, the main conflict in the Vietnam War was only ended by the peace treaty in 1973 while the Iraq War was over in 2003 even though the insurgency continues to fight. Through all these differences it is plain to see that Bush is not in a situation even close to that of Nixon over three decades ago.
Simple plan for victory and stability in Iraq: stay the course. So far, Congress hasn't gone the way of its Vietnam-era counterparts and continues to fund the efforts in the Persian Gulf. As long as the money and the manpower is there, the military will have all it needs to fight alongside the Iraqis until they are fully trained and equipped to take over. With over two hundred thousand police and military, the Iraqi security forces are getting near the point where they will no longer need our assistance. When the day comes where the Iraqi military leadership believes they no longer need us, we can begin to bring our troops home, but until then the fight must go on to maintain stability for a long and prosperous democracy in Iraq.
On December 15, we will again see millions of Iraqis flock to the voting booths amid threats of death via mortar attack or simply random gunfire from the insurgency. The civilian deaths on these monumental occasions for the Iraqi people are not coming from the "occupying forces of the United States and its allies", but rather from Syrian and Iranian terrorists, as well as fanatical Islamofascists who want to revert to the oppressive Baathist regime.
The Sunni minority wants this as well, as they found themselves favored by Saddam's government, and they are threatening to not cooperate with the Shiite and Kurd controlled National Congress. However, the important thing is that the majority of Iraqis do indeed wish to be free and will do whatever it takes to see this fight through to the end. We oft hear of suicide and homicide bombings that kill dozens of police and military recruits from the MSM, but what they fail to report are the occasions where twice as many fresh recruits show up the following day to join the fight.
Positive things are happening daily in Iraq, and soon enough the mission will be accomplished, and our fighting men and women can come home ... VICTORIOUS!