By morning of the day John Kerry accepted his
nomination, it was clear the Kerry Party at the FleetCenter was perpetrating
a fraud on the delegates and on the nation. And many in the Big Media were going
Consider. Among the more than 4,000 delegates, two passions were predominant:
detestation of Bush and hostility to his Iraq war. Delegates were as united
in their desire to get out of Iraq as they were to get out of Vietnam at the
McGovern convention of 1972.
Yet, in primetime speeches, George W. Bush's name had barely even been mentioned.
And, on the Iraq war, Sen. John Edwards, the vice presidential nominee, declared,
"We will win this war because of the strength and the courage of our people."
"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?
These are not academic questions. There is a 50-50 chance Kerry and Edwards
will win, and America will face that situation in January. For it appears today
that if we are not willing to commit additional U.S. forces, for a longer time
than previously thought, we cannot win the war.
The day Edwards declared the United States will "win" this war, a
suicide bomber in Baqouba killed 68 Iraqi police recruits and wounded 58 in one
of the deadliest attacks since the war began. Nor was that the sole incident
on Edwards' big day.
As The Associated Press reported, "Elsewhere U.S. and other forces were
caught in fierce gun battles ... including a fight with militants who are thought
to have entered from neighboring Iran." In that battle, 42 died on both
sides, 10 Iraqi security police were wounded and 40 enemy were captured. A Polish
major would not say whether the captured enemy combatants were Iranians.
The AP story continues: "Nearly 1,000 Iraqi civilians and security personnel
have been killed or wounded in guerrilla attacks since the U.S.-led coalition
handed power to an Iraqi government, a senior U.S. official told Reuters news
In The American Conservative for
Aug. 30, foreign policy scholar Andrew Bacevich writes: "History suggests
that one precondition for defeating guerrillas is overwhelming numerical superiority,
with a ratio of 10:1 traditionally cited as the minimum requirement. Even counting
the fledgling Iraqi army, allied contingents (some of dubious quality) and the
modern-day mercenaries known as private contractors, counterinsurgent forces
available in Iraq today fall well short of that 10:1 standard."
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
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. This week's fraud at the
FleetCenter failed the test.
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