I don't normally quote articles at such great length, but this recent article by Ralph Peters is so good that it bears posting almost in its entirety:
WHENEVER retreat-now activists or their favored presidential aspirant are confronted with our progress in Iraq, their stock reply is, "Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq in 2003."
Well, I happen to agree with Sen. Barack Obama and his supporters on that count: At most, the terrorists had a tenuous connection with Saddam's regime. But it's 2008, not 2003. And our next president will take office in 2009. It's today's reality that matters.
So, let's bring those quit-Iraq time-travelers back to mid-2008 and fill them in on what's happened since they were ideologically stranded five years ago:
* After our troops reached Baghdad, al Qaeda's leaders made a colossal strategic miscalculation and publicly declared that Iraq was now the central front in their jihad against us. Matter of record, in the enemy's own words.
* Some Iraqi Sunni Arabs, lamenting the national pre-eminence they'd lost, rallied to the terrorists.
* Al Qaeda in Iraq and its affiliates then embarked on a campaign of widespread atrocities: videotaped beheadings, mass bombings of civilians, assassinations, widespread rape (of boys and girls, as well as of women), kidnappings and brutal efforts to dictate the intimate details of Iraqi lives.
* Al Qaeda's savagery alienated the Sunni Arab masses in record time. Suddenly, those American "occupiers" looked like saviors.
* By the millions, Sunni Muslims turned against al Qaeda and turned to the US military, inflicting a catastrophic propaganda defeat on the terrorists.
* Supported by the population, US and Iraqi forces inflicted a massive military defeat on al Qaeda. At present, the terror organization's own Web masters admit that al Qaeda is nearing final collapse in Iraq.
Those are facts.
If we nonetheless quit Iraq in 2009, the defeated remnants of al Qaeda will be able to declare victory, after all. The organization will be able to re-launch itself as the great Muslim victor over the Great Satan. We'll have thrown away a potentially decisive triumph and revived the fortunes of the fanatics who brought us 9/11.
And the above only detailed the defeat of al Qaeda. Far more is happening in Iraq, all of it good: Muqtada al-Sadr and his thugs have suffered a series of lopsided defeats; Muqtada's hiding in Iran, afraid to return; a democratically elected government has finally taken charge in Baghdad - and gained enormously in popularity.
Iraqis look forward to the next round of elections (to the dismay of every Persian Gulf autocracy). Crucial legislation has been refined, passed and implemented. Iraq's economy is booming - and its government has begun paying its own way.
Want more good news? Iran has failed in its bid to take control of Iraq. And our military leaders are drawing down our troop levels according to a sensible plan, with the prospect of more troop cuts to come.
What don't the critics like? Democracy? The defeat of al Qaeda? Muslims turning to the US military for help? Troop cuts? The dramatically improved human-rights situation? What's the problem here?
The answer's simple: Admitting that they've been mistaken about Iraq guts the left's argument for political entitlement. If the otherwise deplorable Bush administration somehow got this one right, it means the left got another big one wrong.
The Democrats' great narrative during the past five years has been that President Bush "lied" to us, and by "lied" they mean that he did not give equal weight to both the vast pool of intelligence assessments that indicated the dangers present in Iraq, and to the much smaller number of reports and that downplayed those dangers. In other words, President Bush chose to focus on the evidence that backed up the position held by the US government for a decade: Saddam Hussein was a dangerous threat to world peace. Thus he is a "liar."
Well, well, well. If ignoring contrary evidence in favor of your own narrative is "lying," then it should be clear that no one has told more "lies" about Iraq during the last five years than the Democrats.
Democrats used to harp about George H. W. Bush's abandonment of Iraq in 1991 as one of the great moral failings of his administration. Yet "bring the troops home NOW" is suddenly chic, and as The Anchoress notes, "since it is the position of the left, it must be moral and ethical, too."
Another "failure" of the Bush administration was their inability to have predicted, with prophetic accuracy, the future events that were to unfold after we toppled the Hussein regime. But as Ralph Peters further observes, "To date, not one 'mainstream media' journalist has pressed the leading advocates of unconditional surrender to describe in detail what might happen after we 'bring the troops home now.'"
The Democrats predicted that the so-called "surge" would be a failure even before the boots of the first additional personnel stirred up the dust in Iraq. They accused Gen. Petraeus of "betraying us" even before he spoke a single word in front of Congress, on the presumption that any revelation outside of their narrative of defeat and failure was a lie.
And the lies and distortions continue to this day. Even in the face of all that has happened during the last year, the Democrats still insist that the "surge" was a failure. Nancy Pelosi recently told the San Francisco Chronicle,
Well, the purpose of the surge was to provide a secure space, a time for the political change to occur to accomplish the reconciliation. That didn’t happen. Whatever the military success, and progress that may have been made, the surge didn’t accomplish its goal. And some of the success of the surge is that the goodwill of the Iranians-they decided in Basra when the fighting would end, they negotiated that cessation of hostilities-the Iranians. (emphasis added)
Absolutely incredible. Just ... incredible. IRAN has contributed more to the defeat of al-Qaeda that our military? Iran -- who is giving sanctuary to Muqtada al-Sadr? Who armed and trained terrorists and smuggled them over the border into Iraq in order to increase civil unrest and distract our troops from engagements with al-Qaeda? Who has been in a state of holy war with the US since 1979? Who is currently developing nuclear weapons technology? Who, through their support of Hezbollah and Hamas, is the leading supporter of terrorism against Israel? IRAN? I've got to stop now, or else there will be lots of profanity.
There is also another big lie being perpetuated by the left, particularly anti-American groups masquerading as "anti-war" activists, which is the story that Iraq is like a bad Vietnam movie. According to this narrative, American troops are poor rednecks and ghetto trash who have no idea what they are doing or why they are there. They simply travel down every road and path, from one village to another, from one building to another, raining hell down from the sky, indiscriminately firing RPG's and tossing grenades, wildly mowing down everything that moves with machine gun fire, running down animals, beating and raping civilians, imprisoning and torturing others, and slaughtering whole villages of Iraqis for "not cooperating." Officers looked the other way and "official" reports were fabricated, while Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney received the "real" news via secret communique, licking their chops and rubbing their hands together while chuckling impishly.
The implication, of course, is that any journalist not reporting this faux-Vietnam nightmare has sold out to the evil minions of the Bush White House and is spreading their imperialist, war-mongering propaganda. Thus Abu-Graib merited press coverage and political pandering an order of magnitude greater than all our Iraqi public works projects like roads and bridges and clean water wells and sewer treatment facilities and electric power plants will ever receive. Our troops at Haditha were slandered as "murders" by elected officials even before any evidence was made public. The lies of Jesse MacBeth and Scott Thomas Beauchamp were eagerly swallowed by left-leaning publications without even the most basic fact checking.
The Democrats lied during the 2006 elections, promising to immediately force the withdrawal all US troops from Iraq if they regained control of Congress. It is still unclear what was the deciding factor among the general public in the 2006 elections, but undoubtedly "bring the troops home now" was the biggest theme pushed by the Democrats to their loyal party base. Unfortunately, it was all a big lie:
Ignoring contrary evidence in order to advance your agenda. Lying. It's what the left seems to do best, regardless of the claims they project against President Bush or the Republicans.
Here is my prediction for 2009. If Democrats win the White House and retain control of Congress, look for good news to begin flooding out of Iraq. Look for the New York Times and other liberal flagships to begin running "we can't leave yet" editorials, pointing out all the positive changes that are happening in Iraq and once again recycling the argument that it would be unconscionable for the US to leave Iraq when her people are the most vulnerable to outside terrorist threats. Look for the press to credit the Democrats solely with every post-2006 Iraq success, including the troop surge. Look for the troop surge to magically begin working some time around December 2008. Look for US civilian contractors, who are doing most of the security and public works projects in Iraq, to be defended and praised for their hard work. Look for everything to be sunny again once right-thinking, enlightened, caring politicians are put in charge of things.
And so the lying cycle begins all over again. Just remember, you read it here first.
(Paul Kanjorski video added 6-2-08)