Leaning Forward In Iraq and the Global Conflict
Last night, President Bush delivered to the nation and the world a plan for Iraq that indicates a resumption of a forward-leaning American posture in Iraq and, by extension, in the global conflict before us. Before that call, ThreatsWatch participated in a conference call with White House press secretary Tony Snow and the Iraq Director for the president’s National Security Council, Brett McGurk.
Others participated as well and many excellent questions were asked. Participants included Wizbang, The Truth Laid Bear, RedState, Right Wing News, Austin Bay, Dean's World, Winds of Change, Power Line and others as well. Austin Bay put together a fairly comprehensive summary of the items discussed including some of his accompanying commentary at Pajamas Media and the full audio of the Q & A session has been generously provided by Robert Bluey of Human Events, another participant. We thank David Almacy, Internet and E-Communications Director for the White House, Tony Snow and Brett McGurk for providing such access and the opportunity to pose questions directly.
A full ThreatsWatch analysis of President Bush's new plan will be published shortly as well as additional commentary in the coming days. In the immediate, a brief reaction for our readers is due.
As I said in a radio interview last night: All debatable specifics aside, the overall tone of the president's speech and the general posture of his "New Way Forward" in Iraq is a much welcomed change. For many months it has seemed the US policy has been to primarily lean back on our heels and play defense, largely reacting to enemy strikes. We have been playing defense against a shadowy insurgent and terrorist enemy while ceding the initiative to the likes of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Muqtada al-Sadr. This simply will not do.
Defense may win Super Bowls, but it will never win wars. It can only prevent them and preserve the absence of open hostilities through deterrence.
To that end, there can be no mistaking the forward-leaning new direction in Iraq and elsewhere going forward. Within the context of the very aggressive ongoing operations in Diyala province north of Baghdad, the capture today yet six more Iranians – this time in Irbil – and even the successful violence brought directly to al-Qaeda terrorists in southern Somalia, there is little room for debate that the president is shifting gears and turning loose the dogs of war against those who have or aim to kill Americans.
It must be understood by the American public that much of the world and its various governments and organizations will never openly support aggressive American action abroad. Likely among those killed in the American airstrikes on al-Qaeda in southern Somalia was one of the leaders of the 1998 simultaneous bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Even with that news, the United Nations, the European Union and others criticized the action and “expressed concern” of the rising violence.
Al-Qaeda and aligned movements (AQAM), Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, the Iranian regime and other terrorist groups remain undeterred and unfazed by diplomatic decree and international negotiations. They must be defeated in the language they choose to speak: Violence and death. To fail to do so is to invite their violence and the deaths of our own, defended primarily with ineffectual noble decrees and ‘strongly worded statements’ that are seen by these enemies as a weakness in our character.
Within this context, ThreatsWatch welcomes the current shift afoot in our prosecution of a conflict. It is a conflict for which we did not ask. It remains one in which we must engage fully.
The consequences of our failure to do so will not be paid for by us, but by our children.