Why quit when we're winning?

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Gen. David Petraeus' appearance before Congress this week demonstrated two facts.

First, over the past months his "surge" strategy has dramatically changed for the better the lives of many, if not most, Iraqis. Second, most congressional Democrats, including the two presidential candidates, have barely changed at all. While reluctantly acknowledging some improved conditions, they still insist on a cut-and-run timetable to exit troops from Iraq as soon as possible.

One marvels at Petraeus' patience and that of U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker as they tried to explain for the umpteenth time the catastrophic consequences of such a policy. Start with the notion that it makes no sense to quit a war that we're winning. Or to change a strategy that's working.

Yes, the gains have been, in Petraeus' words, "fragile." But they are real and a change in war strategy, along the lines Democrat doves insist on, could undo all the progress that's been made -- and that more than 4,000 American troops have given their lives for.

That progress includes dealing numerous battlefield defeats on al-Qaida, and greatly diminishing their influence in Iraq. U.S. and coalition troops also have stabilized much of the country, begun to strengthen Iraqi security forces and are midwifing a process of political reconciliation at the grass-roots level.

All this could quickly unravel if there's a precipitous troop pullout. The enemy would view the pullout as retreat-and-surrender -- proving, in their eyes, that Americans don't have the stomach to stick out a long war, even one that they're winning.

The withdrawal timetable would also signal to al-Qaida and other enemies of peace -- particularly the Iranian mullahs -- that they need only wait out the timetable to win a war that they were losing. Why make it easy for them?

They seek to make the surge and its U.S. supporters, especially John McCain, look as bad as possible in the months leading up to the election. So watch for a drip-by-drip offensive by Muslim terrorists and their state sponsors in an effort to get a less assertive U.S. president, much as they used the bombing in Madrid to get regime change in Spain.

Even so, Democratic doves stubbornly play into terrorists' hands by claiming that a timed withdrawal would put pressure on Iraq's leaders to come together and make peace. That's a fallacy and we suspect they know it too. They're only saying that to win votes from their far left, peace-at-any-price constituency.

A much more likely outcome of a hasty troop pullout would be chaos, civil war and eventual domination by al-Qaida and Iran, not only in Iraq, but throughout most of the Mideast. Nothing could be worse for U.S. and Western interests in that part of the world.

Having said that, Democrats and some Republicans, were certainly on solid ground when they criticized Iraq's fledgling government, which is awash in tsunami sized oil revenues, for not picking up more of the multibillion-dollar war tab.

Indeed, at the outset of the five-year-old war, the Bush administration said Iraq's oil revenues would pay for just about all of it. In fact, they've paid for barely any of it. That must change.

It's time for Iraq to begin paying its own way, and it should start by subsidizing the soaring costs of diesel and fuel that U.S. troops need to keep their motorized equipment rolling. There's no good reason why American taxpayers should continue footing as much of the financial costs of this war as they have been.

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JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/12/08 - 06:12 am
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The Republic Party chairman

The Republic Party chairman in my area said in spring 2003 that U.S. troops should be out of Iraq in 18 months. So after 5 years, there is no such thing as a "precipitous" U.S. troop withdrawal just as there is no national "unity" govt (or any functioning central govt in Iraq for that matter) or any prospect for "reconciliation" among Iraqis. It must be noted that bogeymen Al Qaeda & Iran were not in Iraq before United States broke it. The so-called "success" of the surge reduced violence in Baghdad, but violence spread to other parts of the country. 30,000 extra U.S. troops on the streets of Baghdad did temporarily cut violence there, but United States cannot sustain 140,000 troops & cannot withdraw & leave behind a pacified or stable Iraq. That is the definition of QUAGMIRE. Moqtada al Sadr's 7 month ceasefire was the biggest factor in reducing violence along with United States paying Sunni militias (previously our enemies) $300 a month each to fight Al Qaeda. Iraqis had already largely self-segregated into distinct Sunni & Shiite communities by July 2007 which reduced violence. Warhawks warn about the danger of failure in Iraq but cannot give any realistic definition of success.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/12/08 - 06:41 am
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The far left has built its

The far left has built its campaign on failure in Iraq. Now that things a moving in a positive manner in this battle the left has decided the "benchmarks" that need to be met must be ignored and a new goal should be stressed. Anything to make the Republican administration look bad leading up to the election. Once again the left works toward the same goal as Americas enemies. (a common occurrence) I understand it's all about power, but trying to pull the rug out from under the military as they are accomplishing their goal seem a poor way to convince people to choose them as national leaders.

SoonerorLater
0
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SoonerorLater 04/12/08 - 06:42 am
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The Republican Party Chairman

The Republican Party Chairman in your area probably gave his opinion, so you should take that with a grain of salt (much like we all do when you spew your sharped tongue opinions). After thousands of years of tribal faction warring, it may be too much to ask for a unity government. They think of the tribal memebership before they think on the national level, that may never change, but hopefully they can learn to peacefully co-exist with each other. The death and destruction have declined greatly in the past year, and life for the common Iraqi is returning to a somewhat normal existence so that can be seen as progress. Yes, we broke it so we have to fix it, that is a well known fact. But for those who want to "redeploy" or whatever the equivlant of cut and run the Dems use, we would be seen in a much worse manner than we currently are if we pack up and leave. I am pleased to see that you have toned down your rhetoric today Cain, instead of the venomous posting you typically do.

DeborahElliott2
4
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DeborahElliott2 04/12/08 - 07:16 am
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I don't think our troops

I don't think our troops should be pulled out earlier than necessary either, but I also don't think that Iraq should just sit on their hands and keep billions of dollars from their oil fields while we are all getting the financial burden of this war. Even President BUSH said that the oil money was to be used for war efforts, and low and behold, IT IS NOT! I also don't think our leaders are all that concerned with where the money is GOING! If they did, they would figure out how to make the spending STOP and give up their pork barrel bull crap so that more money can be better used for fix the problems that our dear government officials are continuing to create. Let's not forget the stupidity of sending our money on a PALLET and LEFT UNGUARDED in IRAQ! THAT idiot's name will be withheld (even if it IS the President who ordered that).

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/12/08 - 08:09 am
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Retired Army, As long as

Retired Army, As long as America must defend itself from both radical Islam(without help from its "allies") and the socialist Democrat party(and its "green" allies), I doubt your utopian dream is likely to happen soon. As far as leadership goes, running and jumping in front of a parade and yelling "follow me" isn't leadership.

JimCox
7
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JimCox 04/12/08 - 08:14 am
0
0
RJH, for your info, the

RJH, for your info, the Republican "Chairmen" in both Richmond and Columbia County are women.

christian134
1
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christian134 04/12/08 - 08:18 am
0
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We are making progress...

We are making progress... leave Petraeus and others who are highly qualified alone...The men and women who have given all, their time, their health and their lives to defend this country and help out a people thank them love on them do not remove them before the appointed time; let their sacrifice mean something instead of cut and run tactics that this country has become so talented. I pray the wiser heads in control of the government do not bow before the pressure of a group of people that have not one clue as to what it means to be a true American a patriot....

robartbyrrd
0
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robartbyrrd 04/12/08 - 08:50 am
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retiredarmy, I would be

retiredarmy, I would be embarrased and ashamed to use that screen name, if I were you. You sound like lefty Gen Mcpeak!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/12/08 - 08:51 am
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Did the Augusta Chronicle

Did the Augusta Chronicle editorial staff (ACES) actually manage to stay awake during Petraeus & Crocker's performance? Dick Cavett was nonplussed. Chris Matthews was underwhelmed as well. So was the liberal blogosphere. So was I by every sound bite I heard & every news account I read. Gen. David Petraeus admitted that they have seen no light at the end of the tunnel. Retired Gen. & Former Sec of State Colin Powell says United States has to drawdown troops & cannot maintain 140,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely. On balance for every U.S. soldier withdrawn from the Iraq theater of war another U.S. soldier will be deployed to Afghanistan. Already a trial balloon has been floated about removing Petraeus as top commander in Iraq & making him the top commander at NATO where he can oversee both wars. It also allows him to escape being labeled FAILURE. Student of the Iraq war recall that Petraeus' first "success" in his much touted counterinsurgency strategy was turning Tal Afar in northwest Iraq into a "model" city. That "success" quickly fell apart. A case can be made that the surge has actually made matters worse by putting off the day of reckoning between Iraq's sectarian factions.

sjgraci
2
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sjgraci 04/12/08 - 09:56 am
0
0
More Killing! More Treasure!

More Killing! More Treasure! More Fear! More Rhetoric! Four More Years! Or Is That 100 More!

jack
10
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jack 04/12/08 - 09:57 am
0
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Deborah Elliot, you were

Deborah Elliot, you were spouting the same crap a couple of days ago and I asked if you had listened to or read Gen Petreus or Ambassodor Crocker's entire testimony (avaialble on CSPAN.Com) where they clearly spelled out billions being spent by the Iraqis from their oil income in reconstruction and more of their own security. Billions more in the next budget according to their testimony. Now get off your butt and look it up or just STFU.

HTN007
19
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HTN007 04/12/08 - 09:58 am
0
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Coming from someone who voted

Coming from someone who voted twice for Bush, I think this newspaper has a strange idea of what "winning" means. Also, if the surge has been so effective where are the troup withdrawals......even visable plans for troup withdrawals would be
something that might support the conclusion that we are "winning".but I don't even see that! So, as Sen. McCain has suggested, we are going to be in Iraq, as an occupying force, similar to our involvement in Korea, for years. So, people better get use to it because there is no end to insurgency resources which have precluded troup withdrawals thusfar. And, in the process people should expect increasing gasoline prices (an instrument of war in the hands of radical Islam), a stagnant economy and an increasing federal debt ceiling

csragonner
0
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csragonner 04/12/08 - 09:59 am
0
0
Why does Retired Army have to

Why does Retired Army have to be ashamed to use his/her screen name. Should he/she not have a mind of his/her own and think for oneself, or just because he/she served our country he/she must walk lockstep with chicken hawks who did not put on the uniform? I am also a retired army vet, we served so that not only you, but every American can have the right to express him/herself.

jack
10
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jack 04/12/08 - 10:03 am
0
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Retarded Army, all tht

Retarded Army, all tht alternative energy everyone on the left is taling about does more damage to the environment that drilling for oil ever will. How many acres of land do you think it takes for wind mill farms to produce electricity (only whn the wind blows), ever hear how much noice they make or how many birds get killed by them? How much of the environment is destroyed mining for the materials to build all those electric car motors (then have to recycle them)? How about the DIMocRATS and econuts allow drilling our own oil as we have just dicovered billions of gallons more than we already have discovered and then tel OPEC to choke on their oil.

jack
10
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jack 04/12/08 - 10:04 am
0
0
Jeep-10, who cares if they

Jeep-10, who cares if they are women? What's the point?

jack
10
Points
jack 04/12/08 - 10:19 am
0
0
(corrected)Retarded Army, all

(corrected)Retarded Army, all that alternative energy everyone on the left is talking about does more damage to the environment that drilling for oil ever will. How many acres of land do you think it takes for wind mill farms to produce electricity (and only when the wind blows), ever hear how much noise they make or how many birds get killed by them? How much of the environment is destroyed mining for the materials to build all those electric car batteries (then have to recycle them)? How about the DIMocRATS and econuts allow drilling our own oil as we have just dicovered billions of barrels more than we already have discovered and then tell OPEC/Chavez to choke on their oil.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
Points
JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/12/08 - 10:22 am
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Americans should realize that

Americans should realize that its Army (& Marines) are "stretched & stressed" according to Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey. The Christian Science Monitor reports: "We face a large & growing gap between our military commitments & our military capabilities. Something has to give," Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate & professor of international relations at Boston University, said in a Senate hearing Wednesday.// M.J. Rosenberg writes of the move "STOP-LOSS": Some of the critics say it's not anti-war just pro GI. To me there is no difference. By graphically showing what the war does to these American kids (& what the war makes them do), it cannot help but lead the viewer to conclude that all these kids need to come home now. STOP-LOSS is the procedure by which Bush can keep extending a soldier's tour of duty in Iraq after the fighter's commitment has ended. The kid can be back home in Indiana or Brooklyn tending to the kids & the job when he or she can be summoned back. He either goes back or goes to jail. As STOP-LOSS shows, alot of these kids are barely holding it together. The war messed them up bad. Another tour could either kill them or leave them mentally ill for life.

jack
10
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jack 04/12/08 - 10:23 am
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Hypertension, 5 brigades are

Hypertension, 5 brigades are due to be withdrawn by July 08 according to Gen Petreus. Yep, it will cost money and unfortunately, more US/Allied/Iraqi lives, but look at South Korea today and compare it with the North. Look at Iraq in the future and compare it to Iran in the future.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/12/08 - 10:53 am
0
0
United States' problem is

United States' problem is that Idiots are in power in this country led by the Idiot in Chief George W. Bush. Dick Cheney is paranoid and malevolent going way way back. Greed and viciousness are the hallmarks of the radical right. The Augusta Chronicle plays up to this arrogant mentality and feeds mental midget, macho, military-types like jack. Pride comes before the fall, and the bigger they are the harder they fall. Hubris & hegemony are leading this once great nation down the primrose path to hell. Financial collapse is not that far fetched. And who has been at the helm for the last 7+ years? United States hasn't realized a military victory in Afghanistan in 6 years & 5 months nor a military victory in Iraq in 5 years and 1 month. What godforsaken form of hubris or sadomasochism leads The Augusta Chronicle to asininely assert "we are winning" in Iraq?

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 04/12/08 - 11:00 am
0
0
hypertension, if you believe

hypertension, if you believe all of that wacky left wing spin, why would you vote for Bush? Something doesn't add up. sjgracie believes the exact same thing as you and she'd never vote for Bush.

robartbyrrd
0
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robartbyrrd 04/12/08 - 11:25 am
0
0
thanks csragonner for

thanks csragonner for "thinking" you thought you served for me. The fact is, I was in the military probably longer than both you and retired army put together.

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 04/12/08 - 11:46 am
0
0
Cain, Thank you for FINALLY

Cain, Thank you for FINALLY admitting that the levels of violence have been reduced in Iraq - for many months you have stubbornly refused to admit this. No doubt due to your source web site's similar refusal. Then you make General Petraeus' point for him that a withdrawal would be disastrous. "Student (sic) of the Iraq war recall that Petraeus' first "success" in his much touted counterinsurgency strategy was turning Tal Afar in northwest Iraq into a "model" city. That "success" quickly fell apart." Actually Mosul is the city most mentioned as his success and it did, indeed, fall apart AFTER General Petraeus left. One of the problems in Iraq has been a discontinuity of command goals. If the Combined Action Platoon model had been maintained in Mosul and Tal Afar - they would continue to be the successes that they began to be. Thankfully, General Petraeus has made this successful model the goal for all units in Iraq and that is why Iraqi death totals (which includes insurgents killed and those Iraqis killed by insurgents) were reduced by 55%, US wounded in action (WIA) was reduced by 40%, and US killed in action (KIA) was reduced by 37% during the months of the Surge. Great work!

ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts
7387
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ColdBeerBoiledPeanuts 04/12/08 - 12:01 pm
0
0
To quit and pull out now

To quit and pull out now would make it just another Vietnam!

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 04/12/08 - 12:03 pm
0
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The movie Stop-Loss is an

The movie Stop-Loss is an anti-war movie, which is why it bombed at the box office. If a majority of Americans were hating war as much as the left says, the movie would have been a hit. Wait until the first pro-soldier Iraq War movie comes out - it will break box office records. Because of Cain's sloppy use of quotations I can't tell which are his words and which are the words of the left-wing movie reviewer - in other words, it is exactly like all his other posts. Here's a smattering: "showing what the war does to these American kids". In one sentence they are kids and then "The kid can be back home in Indiana or Brooklyn tending to the kids & the job when he or she can be summoned back." Kids raising kids! Yikes - what's that all about?! "The war messed them up bad. Another tour could either kill them or leave them mentally ill for life." What an assinine view of war and the military. Every troop knows what they are getting into - it's an all-volunteer military. That includes Stop-Loss. If they did not want to take a chance of being Stop-lossed, then they would get out, as I did. Combat is dangerous and experiencing it can lead to lasting memories - but it typically does not CAUSE mental illness unless there was a predisposition. PTSD is related to many factors, including: level of combat, experiencing injury, but also home situation, backgound, etc. Thankfully only about 15% of combat vets suffer from PTSD.

csragonner
0
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csragonner 04/12/08 - 12:16 pm
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robartbyrrd, If it is a

robartbyrrd, If it is a "fact", you would not use "probably". You just DON'T know.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/12/08 - 12:27 pm
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TLW offers disinformation for

TLW offers disinformation for the gullible. Among soldiers who have pulled more than 2 tours of duty in Iraq, the PTSD rate is a whopping 27%. TLW twists my qualified admission that violence is down in Baghdad for a number of reasons: the injection of 30,000 additional U.S. troops mostly in Baghdad BUT violence migrated to Diyala province, to Mosul, to Kirkuk, and elsewhere in Iraq; Moqtada al-Sadr called a ceasefire in July 2007 which coincided with the surge reaching full strength; ethnic cleansing being nearly complete the Sunni & Shiite communities had already separated leaving 2 million+ Iraq exiles mostly in Syria & Jordan while another 2 million+ internally displaced refugees; the addition of concrete barriers that make many in Baghdad feel like they are in prison. This is called "success"? Meanwhile the Iraq govt has made ZERO political progress on reconciliation among Iraq's disparate sectarian factions. There is fighting in & around oil rich Kirkuk over control of that resource in the north & Iraq PM Maliki's failed offensive in Basra was really an intraShiite power struggle over oil rich southern Iraq. Maliki has delivered on NOTHING! Bush now blames Iran for HIS failed & illegal war in Iraq. George W. Bush is Mr. Excuse who NEVER accepts responsibility for his own miserable, immoral decision to go to war in Iraq.

grouse
1635
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grouse 04/12/08 - 12:32 pm
0
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As long as soldiers are dying
Unpublished

As long as soldiers are dying because of this invasion, we are not winning anything.

robartbyrrd
0
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robartbyrrd 04/12/08 - 01:17 pm
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csragoner, that's why I said

csragoner, that's why I said probably numchucks. Your post implied you were speaking facts, a poor assumption on your part. and grouse, how stupid is your 12:32? If you are a prime example of the lefty, lib dems posting on this site, no wonder there are so many ob supporters on these blogs.

The_Last_Word
2
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The_Last_Word 04/12/08 - 01:19 pm
0
0
"ZERO political progress."

"ZERO political progress." "Maliki has delivered on NOTHING." Let's look at progress in Iraq: For the first time in 1,000 years Iraq had three, open, honest, and democratic elections. The now deceased Zarqawi (former head of Al Qaeda in Iraq - Al Qaeda in Iraq? Could that be?) understood the significance of this. He said that if elections occur then "the sons of this land will be the authority. ... This is the democracy. We will have no pretexts." And fearing a coalition between the Iraqi Army and Police, he said they will be linked to the people "by lineage, blood and appearance." That is what the enemy fears. That is why Iran is taking an interest in fomenting terror in Iraq. Democracy is the enemy of tyrants and terrorists. Much like the Ku Klux Klan terrorized the South during and after Reconstruction, so the terrorists hope to prevent democracy, not among Blacks, but among the people of Iraq. When the Ku Klux Klan was "winning" in the South, there were some that demanded that the FBI pull out of the South too. Like today, they were the leftist, fascist Democrats. Thankfully, our politicians did not listen to them - let's hope they do not listen today. Free Iraq!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
576
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 04/12/08 - 02:19 pm
0
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TLW, Iran has no interest in

TLW, Iran has no interest in fomenting chaos or in making Iraq a failed state on its border. Iran has more of a legitimate interest in Iraq, it's neighbor where fellow Shiites are in the majority, than United States invaders do. Iran has a legitimate interest in getting United States out of its region - more legitimacy than United States had in getting the Soviet Union out of Nicaragua in "our hemisphere". United States isn't the good guy with the white hats. This is Big Power Grand Strategy. The war in Iraq is part of American hegemony and a bid to keep United States the ultimate super-colossus. But this is no longer a unipolar world. The age of neocolonialism has passed. We live in a multipolar world. United States doesn't accept "democracy" when elections in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iran turned out differently that Bush liked. Bush's stupid decision to invade Iraq made it a cause celebre for Al Qaeda. Left to their own devices Iraqi nationalists would take care of AQ in quick order once United States left Iraq. AQ was never more than 10% of the insurgency although Bush tried to make it seem the Iraq resistance was all Al Qaeda. Blaming Iran for United States' failed war & illegal occupation of Iraq just doesn't pass muster. There is no military solution only a political solution to this political war.

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