Here is a must read piece in today’s Washington Post:
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SYKES, Iraq, Nov. 5 — For the U.S. troops fighting in Iraq, the war is alternately violent and hopeful, sometimes very hot and sometimes very cold. It is dusty and muddy, calm and chaotic, deafeningly loud and eerily quiet.
The one thing the war is not, however, is finished, dozens of soldiers across the country said in interviews. And leaving Iraq now would have devastating consequences, they said.
With a potentially historic U.S. midterm election on Tuesday and the war in Iraq a major issue at the polls, many soldiers said the United States should not abandon its effort here. Such a move, enlisted soldiers and officers said, would set Iraq on a path to civil war, give new life to the insurgency and create the possibility of a failed state after nearly four years of fighting to implant democracy.
Need more reasons not to abandon the job before it is done? James Carafano gives you five.
Michael Barone links to a report of ours at the Heritage Foundation. The report directly contradicts the notion that our military is composed of under-educated men and women:
Overall, the wartime recruits are more similar than dissimilar to their civilian counterparts. The all-volunteer force displays near proportional representation of income backgrounds. Whites serve in approximate proportion to their population, although representation of minority groups varies. Recruits must meet educational standards, and the military provides resources for furthering education to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend four-year colleges. Although rural representation is disproportional, the military offers the opportunity to gain new skills and enter industries that are not available in rural areas.
With regard to income, education, race, and regional background, the all-volunteer force is representative of our nation and meets standards set by Congress and the Department of Defense. In contrast to the patronizing slanders of antiwar critics, recruit quality is increasing as the war in Iraq continues. Although recent recruiting goals have been difficult to meet, re-enlistment is strong and recruit quality remains high. No evidence supports arguments for reinstating the draft or altering recruiting policies to achieve more equitable representation.
The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes previews the potential/likely foreign policy shifts that we can expect from a Congress run by a liberal majority:
On Iraq, many Democrats - led by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) - have said they’d push for an immediate “redeployment” (i.e., withdrawal) of U.S. troops, leaving who-knows-what kind of nightmare behind.
A premature withdrawal would cause unimaginable instability in the Middle East. And there’s no doubt that jihadists would chalk up Iraq as proof positive that terrorism works - adding it to other “successes” in Lebanon (1983) and Somalia (1993).
Worse, an ignominious U.S. retreat would prove to countless other troublemakers that America is nothing more than a paper tiger.
A liberal majority would also drastically change course on North Korea, pushing for direct U.S. talks with dictator Kim Jong Il - despite his recent missile tests and nuclear blast. Caving in to Pyongyang’s demands for one-on-one negotiations would reward its nuclear brinkmanship and blackmail. The lesson wouldn’t be lost on its nuclear kindred spirit, Iran.
Speaking of Iran, it’s not clear what a liberal congressional leadership would do. They don’t seem to say much about it - other than carp about the White House’s multilateral efforts to curb the mullahs’ nuclear ambitions.
But you could clearly forget about missile defenses to protect the homeland and troops deployed overseas. Liberals see such defenses as provocative. (In fact, leaving ourselves deliberately vulnerable to ballistic missiles is truly provocative - and foolhardy.)
What would a liberal Congress propose regarding the terrorists/terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay? Some of these prisoners are so dangerous even their own countries won’t take them back. What of the Patriot Act, Terrorist Surveillance Program or the terrorism-financing surveillance efforts that have been so successful in preventing another attack on the homeland for more than five years?
Here’s a clue: 90 percent of House Democrats voted against the NSA’s Terrorist Surveillance Program; 80 percent voted against the terrorist interrogation bill. All these counterterror programs are at risk if House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gets the speaker’s gavel next year . . .
Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum kicked of a series of four speeches yesterday across the state in which he addressed “a gathering storm.”
The Philly Inquirer:
As other Republicans attempt to steer away from Iraq and terrorism, Sen. Rick Santorum argued yesterday that America must stop “sleepwalking” while “evil enemies” plot the nation’s destruction - making foreign policy a focal point in the final days of his campaign.
In the first of a two-day series of speeches across the state, Santorum also described his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., as being “unready, unqualified for the high office he seeks at a time when our survival as a free people is at stake.”
Santorum linked Iran and North Korea with a network of enemies that include Venezuela, Cuba, Syria and Islamic extremism in general. Quoting Winston Churchill, Santorum said that, as in the lead-up to World War II, America does not recognize the “gathering storm.”
“Unlike the past, the wicked are not just building a military machine that can threaten us with a large war on the ground and in the air, they are building weapons of mass destruction unlike anything we have ever seen… . The consequences are higher than they’ve ever been,” Santorum told cadets at Valley Forge Military Academy and College in Wayne.
Santorum is no stranger to this topic. Aside from being one of the Senate’s leading hawks on Iran, Santorum recently delivered a major policy speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on the same issue.
The New York Times:
Democratic leaders and candidates are virtually unanimous in opposing the president’s conduct of the war, and most advocate American disengagement — either quickly or slowly. But most are not calling for an immediate withdrawal of American forces or offering a vision of what postwar Iraq should look like. They say they stand for change, but the variety of formulations is dizzying.
Nineteen House members sponsored a bill to cut off funds for the war. The Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania opposes a deadline for ending American involvement in Iraq. The Democratic candidate for Senate in Ohio wants all the troops out within two years. Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the current minority leader who is likely to be the next speaker of the House if Democrats win back the chamber, is calling for immediate steps to begin to remove American forces, with all of them out of Iraq by the end of 2007.
Senator Rick Santorum will launch a series of Pennsylvania speeches tomorrow in which he talks about what he calls “a gathering storm.” Santorum has often said he thinks we live in a time like no other and he has challenged many to acknowledge the threats America faces today. I have always thought this was his strong suit — speaking about the threats of Islamo-fascism in morally unambiguous terms.
Read the press release in the extended section.
Dear Leader is sorry…
This morning President Bush signed the Military Commissions Act into law. The bill, Bush says, “will save lives.” Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell explains the legislation in the following statement:
“This legislation ensures the President will be able to continue the terrorist interrogation program that has saved innocent American lives and prevented attacks here at home and around the world. By passing this bipartisan legislation, the Congress recognized, as the President does, that we are a nation at war against extremists who want to kill our citizens, cripple our economy and discredit the principles we hold dear – freedom and democracy.
“The military commissions system codified in this legislation protects our troops and protects classified information. And most important, it protects America. It is a critical component of our national security effort.”
“The bill I sign today will help secure our country,” said Bush before the signing. “By allowing the CIA program to go forward this program is preserving a tool that has helped save American lives…Were it not for this program our intelligence believes al Qaeda would have succeeded in another attack.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes gives readers a look at what life is like in North Korea under the brutal rule of an evil regime:
AS many problems as North Korea’s Stalinist dictatorship makes for the rest of the world, what it inflicts upon its captive population is far, far worse. Life in Kim Jong Il’s iron-fisted police state is a hellish nightmare.
It’s the most repressive country on earth, under absolute control of “Dear Leader” Kim. Fear, intimidation and wild-eyed propaganda dominate every aspect of society.
From outside, it can seem comical - like Pyongyang’s recent boast that Kim had fired 11 holes in one - in 11 holes, of course - the first time he played golf. Somehow, that whopper was supposed to boost the tyrant’s image.
But let’s take a peek behind Kim’s Iron Curtain.
Read the rest here.