Both Republicans and Democrats agree we cannot lose Iraq. The general insurgency in Iraq imperils our national interest and the hardcore insurgents are our mortal enemies. Talking of troop reductions is to lose sight of the goal.West calls this "common ground," but I can't help feeling that a lot of Democrats -- and others -- will refuse to stand here.
Second, America's conscience is one of its greatest strengths. But self-flagellation, especially in the early stages of a war against an enemy whose worldview is uncompromising, is absolutely hazardous. Three years gone and Iraq's most famous soldiers are Jessica Lynch and Lynndie England, a victim and a criminal, respectively. Abu Ghraib remains the most famous battle of the war.
Soldiers are sick of apologizing for a sliver of malcontents who are not at all representative of the new breed. But they are also sick of being pitied. Our warriors are the hunters, not the hunted, and we should celebrate them as we did in the past, for while our tastes have changed, warfare — and the need to cultivate national guardians — has not. As Kipling wrote, "The strength of the pack is the wolf."
Finally, today's debates are not high-spirited so much as mean-spirited. To allow polarizing forces to dominate the argument by insinuating false motives on one side or a lack of patriotism on the other is to obscure long-term security decisions that have to be made now.
May 29, 2006
Partisan squabbling "affects our warriors, who are frustrated by the country's lack of cohesion and the depiction of their war."
Writes Owen West, founder of Vets for Freedom, in a NYT op-ed: