Joe Lieberman wrote in OpinionJournal America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists - I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
Joe is absolutely right. I just hope that he can convince his fellow Democrats that our troops must stay until the Iraqis are able to handle things without us. We can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists.Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.
It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again
And then rather than confronting the Islamoterrists in Baghdad and Basrah we will confront them in Boston, Baton Rouge, Birmingham, Bismarck, Boise, Buffalo, Broken Arrow, or Beaumont; rather than confronting them in Mosul we will confront them in Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Mobile, Memphis, Muskogee, or Mesquite; rather than confronting them in Karkuk and Karbala we will confront them in Kansas City, Knoxville, Ketchum, or Kilgore; rather than confronting them in Tall Afar and Tikrit we will confront them in Tulsa, Tallahassee, Tampa Bay, Terre Haute, Toledo, Topeka, Tucson, Tahlequah, Texas City, or Texarkana.and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.