I was not necessarily in favor of our invading Iraq back in 2003 – thought there were other, more treacherous, regimes that needed our ‘attention’. But, once there, we needed to fight this war as if we wanted to win it. Instead, we are pulling another (one hand tied behind our backs) Vietnam – and allowing the political/media/academic leftists to turn it into such on the home front as well. A country cannot afford a series of Vietnams. It saps the strength, siphons respect, contorts the public reality, and causes irreparable chinks in the armor.
An enormous percentage of the ‘insurgent’ violence occurring in Iraq today is the result of constant infiltration over the roughly 1,100 mile border between Iraq and Iran, and Iraq and Syria. Yet on this front (as well as the U.S./Mexico one with which we are all too familiar), the president appears to be border-security-impaired.
In early 2004, the venerable Donald Rumsfeld observed:
My impression is that the border with Kuwait is very secure, and the border with Jordan and Turkey is secure, while the borders with Syria and Iran are not secure … we need more border patrol – Iraqi border patrol – to help do that job.
It’s three years later, and I would venture to guess that the border situation has not changed at all. And the most likely explanation for this lack of border control is lack of manpower. I suggest adding more manpower, rather than placing the manpower we already have on the ground at increasing risk by not doing so … and using advanced technology (such as remotely controlled aircraft, strategically placed monitoring equipment and the like) to pick up the slack.
The man at the helm doesn’t seem to comprehend how to keep a leaking boat afloat.
Domestically, as regards the U.S./Mexico border, he seems bound and determined to convince us that, rather than sealing the leak, it’s much more desirable to concoct hair-brained methods to design a boat that will float while continually taking on water.
In Iraq, he is convinced that ever more feverish bailing (unfortunately, accompanied by increasing loss of innocent life) will keep the boat afloat, while the leak remains forever unattended.
Meanwhile, the media have been playing up the anti-war sentiment as evidenced by recent polls, and interpreting it as meaning that the public wants us out of Iraq.
I don’t believe that. I believe that the anti-war numbers are much the same as the Bush disapproval numbers. There are, as always, leftists and useful idiots who would have no use for a Republican (even if it’s in name only) president’s policies, no matter what they are. But Presidnet Bush's anti-war/disapproval numbers are historically unique in that they also include people like many of us, who support the military, and maybe even support remaining in Iraq, but do not approve of the way in which the war is being prosecuted. We want our proud and courageous military unleashed to do what they were trained, and want, to do.
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if 15-20% of those who are labeled as ‘anti-war’ fall under that category for the reason above, and the media certainly would not be of a mind to make that portion of the 'anti-war sentiment' known.
So the president is taking it on the chin from the usual suspects on the left, as well as from a new contingent on the right that wants him to govern like a conservative should (as regards much more than his handling of the war). With both forces working against him, I doubt that his approval rating will ever again rise above forty percent, and justifiably so.
What America, and the free world, needs now – perhaps more than ever before – is leadership that doesn’t pander, waver, or relent to political correctness. President Bush, and all but one of the current declared candidates who are seeking to replace him next year, represent none of the above. This is not the stuff of which optimism is borne.