Government needs to stay the course

Published 7:15 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2005

By By Tray Smith
During World War II, Winston Churchill said that it was not winning the war that was challenging; it was convincing people to let you win the war. In America today, the same thing is true.
Increasingly, the American public is adapting to the view that we have done all that we can do in Iraq, and it is time to bring our troops home. This opinion has been greatly exploited by liberal politicians, as they continue to seek to use our mission's flaws to their own political benefit.
But the truth is, we have not done all we that can do in Iraq. Terrorist attacks occur daily in Iraq, and the fledgling Iraqi government will not be able to survive without the presence of our forces. While the argument is made that our presence in Iraq is fueling those very attacks, that argument does not hold up when you consider the tremendous number of Iraqi troops that have been killed alongside ours by the terrorist.
The fact is, the Iraqi government and the United States have a common enemy in Iraq. We are both fighting the thousands of al-Qaeda members who have traveled into Iraq in order to weaken freedom's cause and bolster terror's expansion. As the President has said, "The terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity, and so we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror."
However, we have not yet recognized this. Despite the fact that the terrorist have stated that their goal is the establishment of an Islamic government in Iraq capable of launching attacks against the entire civilized world, many of our nation's political leaders continue to speak out against our continued presence. But our presence is the only thing preventing those terrorist from reaching that goal.
Iraq is not the only front in the war on terror, but just as the battle of Gettysburg set the course for the victory of the Union in the Civil War and just as the Invasion of Normandy set the course for the victory of the allies in World War II, the war in Iraq will set the course for either the victory or the defeat of civilization against terror.
Nevertheless, members of the Democratic Party continue to demand for an immediate withdrawal or for a timeline for a gradual withdrawal from Iraq. They claim this is because the war has been "too deadly and costly." But it is not news that wars cost money and wars cost lives. We lost 750,000 lives in World War II and as a result Hitler was defeated and the world became safer. History views World War II as a great success. We lost 50,000 lives in Vietnam and then withdrew before our mission was accomplished, and as a result, millions of people today live under a brutal communist regime that has outlived the Soviet Union itself. History views that operation as a great failure. We have lost 2,000 lives in Iraq, and now comes the time when we must decide as our ancestors decided in the past. Is our goal in Iraq to end the operation fast and less painful, or is it to end victorious and more secure?
Fortunately, President Bush is on the side of victorious and more secure. For leadership is not just defined by making decisions and leading others to support you; it is also defined by sticking to your decisions when many others are against you. And no matter how hard or how unpopular our mission in Iraq has become, President Bush continues to stand on the side of our troops and he continues to stand in defense of his decision. He knows that as a result, America will be safer. And he is showing great leadership.
For just as our predecessors defeated the evils of fascism during War World II and the evils of communism in the Cold War, our generation must overcome the evils of terror in the war on terror. In order to do that, we cannot let the terrorist win in Iraq.
A few weeks ago, I wrote that I was more concerned about the deficit than most because it is my generation that is going to have to pay it back. Similarly, I am more concerned about the war in Iraq than most because it is my generation that is going to have to live with the consequence of the outcome. That is the bottom line.
Over this Holiday Season, we all need to remember those who will celebrate without a loved one because he or she has been lost surviving in Iraq. There is no greater public service than to die in defense of your country, and there is no better person than one who is willing to take that risk. I also encourage anyone with the means to do so to go to and help make a difference in the Christmas of a soldier who is in the front lines against our enemy in Iraq. Whether or not you support the war; the troops still depend on your help.
Tray Smith is a political columnist for the Atmore Advance. He can be reached for comments at

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