Crush the insurgents

Lewis E. Lehrman and William Kristol:

"The United States will lead, or the world will shift into neutral." Wise words from President Bush on May 20 to congressional Republicans. From the beginning, the president has made clear that we must lead and win the war on terror. To win the strategic war, we must of course win tactical battles. The central battle in the war on terror is Iraq. Unless we win that battle, we will see America itself, and the world, shift disastrously into neutral in the broader war.


So any armed insurgency opposed to a peaceful transition in Iraq must be destroyed. Fallujah must be conquered and terrorists denied safe haven in Fallujah and other centers of insurrection. Moqtada Sadr's militia must be rendered powerless. This will have to be accomplished primarily by American and British military power -- however useful various political efforts can be, however useful Iraqi and coalition forces can be. Then a sovereign Iraq, with continued U.S. military and other assistance, will be able to move ahead with the task of political and economic reconstruction.


Strategic success for the global war on terror depends on a decisive tactical victory over the armed insurgents of global terrorism in Iraq. Decisive military blows struck against violent opposition to the July passage of sovereignty and the January general election in Iraq would permit a supportable outcome at the polls in Iraq and the subsequent successful reconstruction of a democratic nation.

Meanwhile, as after William T. Sherman's victory in Atlanta, the reelection of the president at home would follow -- with a mandate to carry on, and to win, the global war against terror.

Defeating an insurgency is vitally important to winning the war on terror. That is the fatal mistake Democrats are making in Iraq. Because of their obsession with Vietnam and their inablity to comprehend what they did wrong in that war, Democrats have the attitude that any insurgency is a hopeless quagmire for which full retreat is warranted. That is why they should not be trusted on national security issues. Until Democrats are willing to accept responsibility for their mistakes in Vietnam they are incompetant to lead in this war. There mistake was not going into Vietnam, their mistake was in the way they fought that insurgency. They want to make a worse mistake now, running in the face of a defeated enemy. The only way this enemy can win is if Democrats are elected and the US quits the war.


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