Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Orson Scott Card on a Withdrawal From Iraq

Orson Scott Card, in addition to being an award-winning science fiction writer, is a lucid thinker and quite the articulate columnist. I added his "Ornery American" columns to my sidebar quite a while back, and I nearly always find his columns (and his books) great reading.

His latest is no exception: Iraq: Quit or Stay? He makes the point clearly, and at great length, what a disaster a premature American withdrawal from Iraq would be. He also has some other points to make along the way:
Since we are not losing, it is hard to see what the people calling for American withdrawal think they are accomplishing.

Every speech by an American leader calling for immediate or early withdrawal leads quite directly to the deaths of more American soldiers. Because our success depends on proving Osama wrong, discrediting him and the other terrorist leaders, and weakening the loyalty of those on the periphery of the terrorist movement.

But every one of those speeches undoes the work of a thousand soldiers. It encourages borderline participants in the terrorist movement to stay involved, because it seems to prove that Osama is right and that makes it look like God is with him and he will prevail in the end.

That's why the terrorists trumpet every one of these speeches to each other as if they were a victory on the battlefield. Because each one of those speeches by an American leader is a victory for the terrorists on the most important battlefield they fight on -- the hearts and minds of the Muslim people.

Even if this war were being badly run, even if the Bush administration was full of liars and incompetents, even if we were losing the war, it would still be shameful for Americans to openly make statements that directly aid our terrorist enemies.

If during the Revolutionary War, members of Congress had made the kind of defeatist public statements that we're regularly hearing from some today, there is little chance that the war could have continued.
(emphasis added)

I agree completely. Don't Murtha, and McKinney, and Pelosi, and all the rest of them, know how often they are quoted on al-Jazeera? And does it not unsettle them, just a bit, to know that?

Card also makes a point that's been troubling me -- how will we stay the course, in Iraq and elsewhere, in January 2009? It seems clear to me that the Democrats don't have many high-ranking contenders with any credibility at all on national security... and the few that do (Joe Lieberman comes to mind) stand little chance of being nominated by the Democratic Party. But I'm not too thrilled by the options on the Republican side either.

Please note: I am not a Republican; I don't believe I've ever said otherwise. I am a strong supporter of President Bush and of most of his policies, but not of the Republican Party in general. Admittedly, the Republicans have a far greater chance of attracting my vote these days than the Democrats do... and so long as the Democratic Party continues bending its knee to the MoveOn.org / Daily Kos fever-swamps, that won't change. But that's not the point. My point is that the United States desperately needs to continue to pursue the terrorists and the regimes that harbor them, possibly for decades to come... and I'm very concerned about where we'll find the leaders to do that.

Would a President Hillary stay the course? How about a President Condi, or a President John McCain, or a President Joe Lieberman? There are arguments in favor for all of them... and I have deep doubts and concerns about all of them too.

To put it differently: can President Bush set his foreign policies so firmly in place, that even a weathervane President, who changes his mind after every poll, would have difficulty changing them? I don't think so... but I sure hope I'm wrong.

In any event, have a look at OSC's latest. He gets off track in a few places, but there's a lot of great stuff there.


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