We need to put Democrats' insurgency behind and win

Frederick Kagan & William Kristol:

The war over the war in Washington is quiet for the moment. Congress has finally appropriated funds for America's warriors without setting a deadline for their defeat. Now the president can turn his undivided attention to fighting the enemies who are attacking our soldiers.

Op-ed writers (and presidential candidates) will of course continue in the coming months to deny the obvious: That we are fighting (pace John Edwards) a real war on terror; that Iraq is, as al Qaeda says it is, the war's central front; and that the Iranians and Syrians are actively supporting our enemies. But the Bush administration, with congressional obstruction on hold, can move ahead with policies that deal with reality.

The reality is that foreign fighters are flowing into Iraq to kill Iraqis and Americans. Almost all suicide bombers in Iraq are foreign fighters, for whom this is the crucial battle. This means that our victory there will be an important victory in the larger struggle against terrorism--and our defeat there would embolden and empower our enemies. And the reality is that Iran and Syria are enemies. Most foreign fighters join al Qaeda in Iraq via Syria. And Iran has been sending advanced weapons and advisers into Iraq. These weapons and insurgents supported by Iran are killing our soldiers on a daily basis. There should be no doubt about the hostile role Iran and Syria are playing in Iraq today.


Meanwhile, the State Department toys with fantasy diplomatic solutions based on overtures toward Iran and Syria. The Iranian regime has resolved to help Iraqi militants kill as many Americans as possible. The Syrian regime permits al Qaeda terrorists to move into Iraq for the same purpose every day. These actions are not the result of some sort of miscommunication that could be cleared up with a frank discussion of real interests. They represent policy decisions in Tehran and Damascus to defeat us in Iraq. Diplomatic engagement by itself is a trap, at least until we have turned the tide in Iraq and regained leverage.


The Syrian-Iran diplomacy is necessary to demonstrate to the Democrats how futile it is and take away excuses for doing what needs to be done. We are jumping through hoops to show that the Democrats and the Euro wimps have that diplomatic solutions with evil people are a waste of time and effort. You would think that the European negotiations with Iran on the nuke issue would be ample proof of this proposition, but the Baker Hamilton Commission makes the absurd claim that a stable Iraq is in Iran and Syria's interest, so the political imperative is that we give Iran and Syria a chance to demonstrate that the commission is out of its mind.


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