Monday, April 30, 2007

Of Animals, Casualty Counts, Idiocy and Dishonor

Today's Washington Post contains a Reuters story reporting and commenting upon U.S. operations in Diyala province. The story opens with a description of a typical case of animal savagery that bears all the hallmarks of al Qaeda. Mourners had gathered in Diyala to bury a young Shia man killed in the fighting. A bomber wearing a vest laden with explosives joined the throng of mourners, then detonated, killing himself and thirty two others.

The people who commit these atrocities are animals, and we can ill afford to give them any quarter. Their goal is to reignite sectarian violence - to goad the Shia into equally mindless violence in retaliation. It is important to understand that acts like these are not evidence of a civil war. Rather, they are evidence of al Qaeda attempts to reignite the one that they partially succeeded in starting with the bombing of the Mosque of the Golden Dome in Samarra early in 2006.

These facts seem lost on both Democrats and the MSM. Thus we have Harry Reid willing to surrender to al Qaeda over their four bombings in Baghdad last week.

We are now taking the fight to al Qaeda and militant militias, and we are doing so hand in hand with an increasingly united Iraq - Sunni, Shia and Kurd - fighting for their own freedom. Because we are flushing the animals out, we are going to suffer more casualties then we have using the failed strategy of staying in large cantonments. That is an inevitable price to be paid unless one is to surrender to the animals and accept their ascendancy. Thus it is maddening when Reuters states:

Diyala, a religiously mixed area, has been the scene of fierce fighting between U.S. troops and al Qaeda as well as Sunni Arab insurgents. Last month, U.S. commanders sent a force of armored vehicles and 1,000 extra soldiers to the province.

. . . Five U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq over the weekend, raising the number of American troops killed this month to over 100 and making April one of the deadliest of the war for U.S. forces.

The toll could increase the pressure on U.S. President George W. Bush, who is fighting a plan by Democrats to set a timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.
I will say again, as a former infantry officer and as the son, grandson, and father of soldiers, I am deeply saddened by each casualty we suffer. But there is an infinite divide between honoring our war dead and using their sacrifice as a reason to surrender the fight in Iraq. We understood this bitter truisim in World War Two, when our total dead numbered well over 100 times what we have suffered in Iraq to this point. The foe we face in radical Islam is no less potent a threat to our national security then we faced in World War Two. Thus, while there may be legitimate justifications for leaving Iraq, given that doing so will inevitably be portrayed as a victory of the Islamists and greatly embolden them, I believe strongly otherwise. But in any event, an American casualty count is under no circumstance a legitimate reason for surrender. Using that as a justification, as suggested by Reuters today and by Harry Reid but a few days ago, is despicable and dishonorable.

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