August 02, 2004

The Fraud at Fleetcenter

Pat Buchanan on the Democrats and Iraq:

"We will win this war," Edwards said. Kerry has said he would be willing to send additional U.S. troops.

But what if Kerry and Edwards win in November and it becomes clear that for America to win in Iraq will require more than the 140,000 troops already there? Will Kerry, who would then be leading a nation that already believes this war was a mistake, and a party that believes it was an unnecessary and unwise - if not unjust and immoral - war, be able to unite their party and the country behind the commitment of thousands more of America's young?

Would Howard Dean and Teddy Kennedy, both of whom opposed the war, back a Kerry war policy? Would the black leaders of the party like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Charlie Rangel, who want the troops home now, support sending more troops to fight to win this war? Would President Carter support more U.S. ground forces?

(...)

A year ago, U.S. Gen. John Abizaid estimated there were 5,000 insurgents. Since then, U.S. forces have killed and captured thousands. Yet official estimates of enemy strength are now at 20,000, and the incidence of attacks on U.S. troops and our Iraqi allies is continuously rising.

"How many U.S. troops," asks Bacevich, "do we actually need to pacify Iraq, a landmass the size of California, with long, open borders and an increasingly alienated population of 25 million? A quarter of a million soldiers - almost twice the number currently deployed - would not be too many."

While he admonishes America's generals not to replicate the moral failure of Vietnam - refusing to tell civilian superiors what was needed to win - Bacevich suggests it is also a time for truth for the White House: "Either the Bush administration needs to get serious about winning the war that it so recklessly sought in Iraq, or it needs to cut its losses."

Kerry and Edwards, too, need to tell us how much blood and treasure they are willing to expend on a democratic Iraq, how many more troops will be needed and for how long, and what are the chances of victory. And we need to be told before November.

We need to be given a cold, hard, honest assessment of what we hope to gain there, and what it will cost this nation, so we can decide whether or not we wish to pay that price. We need an honest election. Last week's fraud at the FleetCenter failed the test.