Why we still should root for vic­tory in Iraq

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Bill O’Reilly

With the na­tion hav­ing voted on the Iraq war — and don’t kid your­self, that’s ex­actly what the elec­tion was all about — it may be in­ter­est­ing to ex­am­ine the emo­tions in play. Most Amer­i­cans, I be­lieve, have turned against the Iraq cam­paign be­cause the United States is not win­ning it. We’re not los­ing ei­ther, but a bloody stale­mate half­way around the world is no sane per­son’s idea of a suc­cess story.

And so all the polls show a deep dis­en­chant­ment with Iraq, but it is based on per­for­mance, not a moral ob­jec­tion as we saw in the Viet­nam era.

Clear-think­ing Amer­i­cans un­der­stand that re­mov­ing Sad­dam Hus­sein from power was a noble ef­fort. Giv­ing a dev­as­tated coun­try a chance at free­dom is hard to knock. But there comes a point when Amer­i­can blood and trea­sure is ex­hausted, and that point has been reached in Iraq. If those peo­ple will not step up and stop the chaos them­selves, then they will have to live with the re­sult. The United States can­not ab­sorb much more pun­ish­ment on be­half of a pop­u­la­tion that, at this point, doesn’t seem en­tirely com­mit­ted to fight­ing for free­dom.

Pre­dictably, the far left in Amer­ica has seized upon the Iraq sit­u­a­tion to once again paint their coun­try as vil­lain­ous. That is both sad and in­fu­ri­at­ing. Re­cently, I ap­peared on “The View” and “The Late Show with David Let­ter­man” flog­ging my book “Cul­ture War­rior.” Both Rosie O’Don­nell, the new lead on “The View,” and Mr. Let­ter­man are lib­eral peo­ple who ve­he­mently ob­ject to the war. So I asked them: “Do you want your coun­try to win in Iraq?” Nei­ther would an­swer the ques­tion.

Ms. O’Don­nell told me the query was an ex­am­ple of “an­ti­quated think­ing.” Mr. Let­ter­man said he couldn’t an­swer be­cause he was “thought­ful.” I say, with all due re­spect, baloney. Ev­ery Amer­i­can should want Iraq to be free and an ally against Is­lamic fas­cism.

There is no ques­tion that if Iraq and Afghanistan be­come func­tion­ing democ­ra­cies, Al Qaeda and Iran will suf­fer ma­jor blows. That’s why Iran is ac­tively fos­ter­ing vi­o­lence in Iraq and why Al Qaeda con­tin­ues to mur­der peo­ple in both the­atres. Free­dom is the arch­en­emy of ji­had. At this point, even the dimmest among us should re­al­ize that.

So why do Rosie O’Don­nell, David Let­ter­man and oth­ers hes­i­tate to say if they want a U.S. vic­tory in Iraq? The an­swer, of course, is ide­ol­ogy.

Any suc­cess now in Iraq would help the be­lea­guered Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion, and that is in­tol­er­a­ble to the far left. Thus, hurt­ing the pres­i­dent and his crew has be­come more im­por­tant to some Amer­i­cans than see­ing a vic­to­ri­ous Iraqi cam­paign. That kind of think­ing is dam­ag­ing to the coun­try, be­cause, in the long run, Amer­i­cans are go­ing to have to con­front the ji­hadists and de­feat them. Sorry, Bar­bra Streisand, the ter­ror­ists are not go­ing away even if we do pull out of Iraq.

That doesn’t mean Amer­i­cans should sup­port “stay­ing the course.” The course must be shown to be smart and ef­fec­tive be­cause lives are at stake. There is noth­ing wrong with be­liev­ing the Iraq war has been in­eptly waged. That de­bate is cer­tainly valid.

But pulling against your coun­try in Iraq is sim­ply not ac­cept­able. The Amer­i­can mil­i­tary has fought long and hard to de­feat ter­ror­ism and op­pres­sion there. We are the good guys, and all the twisted ide­ol­ogy in the world is not go­ing to change that.

I may be an “an­ti­quated” thinker, and I might not be as “thought­ful” as some lib­eral en­ter­tain­ers. But I do un­der­stand right from wrong. And it is wrong to root against Amer­ica in Iraq.

Bill O’Reilly is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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