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Abandoning the Democrats' timeline idea, that's a good thing

By Frank Salvato
web posted November 21, 2005

Last week the Senate blocked an attempt by Democrats to force the White House into establishing a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq. This rebuke is a good thing. If the Democrats were to have succeeded in mandating a timeline it would have done two things; given al-Qaida in Iraq and Saddam loyalists a timetable for their next offensive, and signaled the surrender of the Republican Party to the pollsters.

It cannot be repeated enough; for the United States to establish a timeline for troop withdrawal from Iraq is to aid the enemy in their quest for victory. It is tantamount to telling them straight away that if you just wait until such-and-such a date you can save all of the terrorist lives and ammunition you would have used battling coalition forces so that you can use it to roll into Baghdad unhindered by superior firepower. It is a kin to bringing Abu Musab al Zarqawi into the Pentagon for an operations briefing. It is a stupid idea and anyone who believes such a timeline should be established joins the ranks of the terminally moronic.

The fact that the liberal left still doesn't understand the very simple set of goals already repeated ad nauseum by the president, his staff, and the Pentagon only goes to reinforce the thought that either those leading the left are significantly devoid of the sense of hearing or too intellectually challenged to understand what has been laid out in language so simplistic a third grader could understand it.

President Bush has stated quite a few times that US forces will start to leave the Iraqi theater as the Iraqi government begins to competently takeover its own security operations. It is a process that requires thorough vetting and intensive training. To prematurely depart before this process is completed in total is to invite opposition forces (read terrorist entities) to exploit the Iraqi military's weaknesses. It would also place the fledgling government at the mercy of nefarious forces whose tactics mirror the transgressions of the not too distant past, paving the way for a re-emergence of the criminal human rights violations that were outlined in the three premier reasons for toppling Hussein in the first place.

Already we are beginning to see the barbaric component of the old Arab culture quietly creeping into the promise of a new era in the Arab World.

Last week, US and Iraqi troops raided a ‘secret jail' housed in an Interior Ministry building in Baghdad. Inside they found over 173 starving prisoners, mostly Sunni Arabs, bearing the unmistakable signs of torture and abuse. While Iraqi Major General Hussein Kamal, the Interior Ministry's under-secretary for security, said that all those being held in the facility were "terrorists," it is clear that transition from the totalitarian and tyrannical tactics of Saddam Hussein's regime to a truly free democracy requires more than simply training Iraqi troops in the tactics of war. It requires the evolution of the basic Arab and Islamic mindsets of brutal dominance – might makes right – to one of not only religious tolerance but non-violent conflict resolution.

I find it important, albeit sad, to have to state for the record that the tortured souls that were liberated from the Interior Ministry building in Baghdad were not tortured at the hands of US soldiers or those under their control. Rather, they were abused by those who embrace the Arab mindset of old. Because the mainstream media and the liberal left cannot be trusted with open-ended information, lest they make false statements against our troops, this needed to be stated, pathetic as it may be.

Senate Minority Leader and political opportunist Harry Reid said of the Senate vote, "Democrats and Republicans acknowledged that staying the course is not the way to go. This is a vote of no confidence on the Bush administration policy in Iraq." Of course, this, once again, is the exact opposite of the truth.

The vote approved by the Senate actually requires the Bush Administration to stay the course. It simply mandates the Bush Administration to – for the zillionth time – define what the course of action is (and always has been) while stating their requirements for withdrawal. Again, either Reid is exhibiting his intellectual shortcomings or he is being a disingenuous, politically partisan opportunist.

Reid's additional statement that, "Iraq now risks becoming what it was not before the war – a haven for international terrorists," further calls into question whether he actually reads the intelligence reports afforded him or just skims the Executive Summaries.

It has been well established that Hussein not only helped train terror operatives for "jihad" against the US and other Western allies, even rewarding families of martyrs with monetary awards, but that he hosted the Ninth Popular Islamic Congress of 1999 which Ayman al-Zawahiri attended. Iraqi intelligence documents confiscated by US forces after Iraq's liberation further place Hussein in the thick of anti-American/anti-Western terrorist efforts in Somalia and across the Arabian Peninsula. In light of just these few facts, of which there are literally hundreds more, Reid's statement is incredulously devoid of substance.

It cannot be denied that Iraq is part of the War on Terror and that it is better to be fighting the ground battles of this war on the streets of Iraq than on the streets of New York. Saddam Hussein aided, abetted, gave safe haven to, promoted and took part in terror campaigns against the US and the West throughout his tyrannical reign. To deny this is to deny the truth. To champion Senator Reid's position over these truths is to be seditiously without a clue.

Frank Salvato is the managing editor for TheRant.us. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, socio-political education project. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2005 Frank Salvato

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