“I recently returned from Iraq and four other countries in the Middle East, my first trip to the region since December. In the intervening five months, almost everything about the American war effort in Baghdad has changed, with a new coalition military commander, Gen. David Petraeus; a new U.S. ambassador, Ryan Crocker; the introduction, at last, of new troops; and most important of all, a bold, new counterinsurgency strategy.”Two of the leading Democrats, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, have championed the cry of failure and the “surge” is not working. These irresponsible and dangerous protestations are not founded according to Senator Lieberman. He does note with cautious optimism that it is still too early to claim victory, but is enthusiastic when comparing his previous December 2006 visit with the one he just completed. In the five months between these visits, he points to quite a few specific examples of reason to give our Military and Diplomatic Policies a chance to prove the gloom and doom supporters wrong.
Senator Lieberman also refutes the claim that there is no tie between Iraq and al Qaeda. Six months ago only about half of the tribes in Ramadi supported the coalition. Today all do. This is real progress and is the kind of action, which will enable the Military to insure the Political part of the process, has a chance of succeeding.
“The officials I met in Baghdad said that 90% of suicide bombings in Iraq today are the work of non-Iraqi, al Qaeda terrorists. In fact, al Qaeda's leaders have repeatedly said that Iraq is the central front of their global war against us. That is why it is nonsensical for anyone to claim that the war in Iraq can be separated from the war against al Qaeda--and why a U.S. pullout, under fire, would represent an epic victory for al Qaeda, as significant as their attacks on 9/11.” [Emphasis mine]The Senator also revels the involvement of Iran in the unrest in Iraq. Iran has a very heavy hand in the violence, and the results of a precipitous withdrawal of the Military.
"The precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces would not only throw open large parts of Iraq to domination by the radical regime in Tehran, it would also send an unmistakable message to the entire Middle East--from Lebanon to Gaza to the Persian Gulf where Iranian agents are threatening our allies--that Iran is ascendant there, and America is in retreat. One Arab leader told me during my trip that he is extremely concerned about Tehran's nuclear ambitions, but that he doubted America's staying power in the region and our political will to protect his country from Iranian retaliation over the long term. Abandoning Iraq now would substantiate precisely these gathering fears across the Middle East that the U.S. is becoming an unreliable ally."I agree with those who say a Military Solution in Iraq is not possible. But to leave with the idea that I am part of the Liberal defeatists would be to take that incomplete thought out of context. The responsible supporters of the Global War on Terror follow that first statement with a second. To wit: But a strong Military is necessary to allow the Political Solution and Peace to grow. Order is the part of a Democracy that allows Political Dialog to rule.
As Senator Lieberman points out it is very early, but successes and victory is possible. Iraq’s Leaders expect to pass some key Legislative Benchmarks by the end of summer.
"Here, too, however, a little perspective is useful. While benchmarks are critically important, American soldiers are not fighting in Iraq today only so that Iraqis can pass a law to share oil revenues. They are fighting because a failed state in the heart of the Middle East, overrun by al Qaeda and Iran, would be a catastrophe for American national security and our safety here at home. [Emphasis mine] They are fighting al Qaeda and agents of Iran in order to create the stability in Iraq that will allow its government to take over, to achieve the national reconciliation that will enable them to pass the oil law and other benchmark legislation."I encourage you to read the entire piece. Senator Joe Lieberman incorporates a lot of additional 1st hand, on the ground observations from his recent visit.
A final note about Senator Harry Reid. If Senator Reid made the claim that General Peter Pace and/or General David Petraeus is/are incompetent is extremely irresponsible. Senator Reid voted to confirm General Petraeus. Hypocritical is too kind a term to be applied to a statement of this kind.
Update: Reid's Approval Rating is 19%. President Bush is at 32%.