"If we withdraw before the job is done, the enemy will follow us here.''
-- Attributed to General John Abizaid of U.S. Central Command, which encompasses the theaters of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
How will they get here, General? That's a long way to swim.
If Abizaid really said that, or worse yet, if he really thinks it, it's little wonder we're losing two wars in his area of responsibility. That kind of talking and thinking comes from somewhere below the waist.
"They" don't have an air force or a navy that can bring them here. Nobody else does either. There is, in fact, no state or non-state entity that can bring significant conventional military force to bear on the continental United States.
Moreover, if "they" did have an air force and a navy and tried to use it to invade us, they'd be doing us a favor. Our Navy and Air Force could sink them and shoot them down before they got halfway across the ocean.
And if we take this ludicrous scenario just a bit further, it would actually make sense to "withdraw" and sucker them into trying to invade us. We could mop them up in the course of fine Navy day.
There is, of course, a problem with this operational scheme. If we withdrew, they would probably be smart enough not to squander their navy and air force in a doomed effort to invade and occupy a country halfway across the world.
Which would make them a darn sight smarter than Abizaid or anybody else in charge of this woebegone war on terror.
Handling the Truth
"Fighting them over here" will look the same whether we're "fighting them over there" or not. Terror cells will dribble in through the cracks in our ports and borders and the ones already here will stay asleep until someone orders them to go operational. No amount of U.S. military action overseas can stop that from happening.
We hear much from the Bush administration and its reverb machine about how if we pull out of Iraq, all sorts of bad things will happen in the Middle East. Iraq will collapse into civil war. The central government will implode. The violence will spread throughout the region…region…region…
But those things are already happening. Our military presence isn't doing anything to stop it, and our military absence won't do anything to make it worse.
Last October I wrote an article for the ePluribus Media Journal titled "Top 10 Bad Reasons for Staying the Course in Iraq
(and One Good One)." At the time, I thought the one "good" reason to stick around was that we owed something to the Iraqis for having screwed their country up so badly. Now, almost a year later, I'm convinced we've fulfilled our debt to the Iraqi people. Internally, they're cross threading themselves up their own countersinks, and we should feel no further moral obligation to try to unscrew them.
And there's no need to protect Iraq from external threats. After watching America's "best-trained, best-equipped, best-funded" military go bow down in a sand dune, none of Iraq's neighbors are going to invade it. As an old bathroom joke goes, they wouldn’t touch "that thing" with rubber gloves on.
If we withdraw, "they" won't follow us home, and the rest of "them" won't swarm in to fill the vacuum we leave.
And Speaking of "Crack"
Justifying his foreign policy at a televised news conference on Tuesday, young Mister Bush said, "We're on the offense." Yeah. And with every play we make we fumble or throw an interception.
The only real reason for "staying the course" in Iraq is to save Mister Bush's face, and trying to preserve this American president's pride and dignity is a losing proposition. Every time he opens his mouth in front of a camera, he gives the world another peek up his other end.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.
Staying the Course
Invasion of the Transformers