Peace and Freedom
January 7, 2007
When is the last time the Washington Post's editorial page, syndicated columnist George F. Will, Colonel Oliver North of the United States Marine Corps and the Fox News Channel (hardly liberal bastions, those two), and New York Times columnist David Brooks agreed on anything of real national significance?
Let's think back now....
The answer is: Never.
Today they are in agreement on at least one thing: they all believe sending more U.S. troops to Iraq would be folly. All are against the so called "surge."
George Will, as usual, made a cerebral, lawyerly argument on why a surge was a bad idea.
But Will used the example of the soon to be home in the Pentagon General Gearge Casey as a good example of what Will sees in Iraq. Writing for Sunday, January 7, 2007, Will said, "Today, Gen. George Casey, U.S. commander in Baghdad, is in hot water with administration proponents of a 'surge' because he believes what he recently told The New York Times: 'The longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq's security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias. And the other thing is that they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq's problems, which are at base their problems."
Will makes it sound as if "You're against the surge, then you're in the purge" has become the White House mantra.
Oliver North attacked the idea in his syndicated column on Friday and again on Sunday. North has the benefit of his Marine Corps background plush thousands of hours of in-Iraq discussion with U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and marines.
Oliver North does readers the favor of quoting the two biggest supporters of the "surge" in the U.S. Senate: John McCain and Joseph Lieberman.
"'I believe there is still a compelling reason to have an increase in troops here in Baghdad and in Anbar Province in order to bring the sectarian violence under control,' Mr. McCain said after his visit [to Iraq recently]. Mr. Lieberman said the idea of sending another 30,000 troops to Iraq is "exactly" the course of action he hopes to see from the president."
Colonel North doesn't pull any punches. "Messrs. McCain and Lieberman talked to many of the same officers and senior noncommissioned officers I covered for Fox News during my most recent trip to Iraq. Not one of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Guardsmen or Marines I interviewed told me they wanted more 'U.S. boots on the ground.' In fact, nearly all expressed just the opposite: 'We don't need more American troops, we need more Iraqi troops,' was a common refrain. They are right.
North believes the U.S. troops should spend the vast majority of their time training Iraqis to take over their own war. He thinks sending more U.S. troops to Iraq is just a method of sending more "targets."
David Brooks at The New York Times comments Sunday, "Unfortunately, if the goal is to create a stable, unified Iraq, the surge is a good policy three years too late. It's chance for success is almost nil."
The Washington Post lead editorial in the Sunday, January 7, 2007 editions also states a belief that a "surge" would be fruitless. But the Post doesn't recommend a speedy withdrawal of U.S. forces altogether, either.
"The constructive alternative to a surge is not the abandonment of Iraq. Instead, it is the fashioning of a strategy that positions the United States to support the country's moderate forces over the long term - not just 18 months but the years that may pass before the country can be stabilized," wrote the Washington Post editorial staff. "That means a smaller and sustainable military force that can focus on training and backing up the Iraqi army and fighting al-Qaeda, and an aid program that supports the elected government while seeking to marginalize its extremist elements."
The days and the weeks ahead, most now believe, will feature a long and lively discussion on the future course of our nation's involvement in Iraq.
Most with something to say have already gone on the record. This week it is the president's turn.
See all our latest reasoning at: