Tom Tancredo is best known for his strong statements on behalf of secure borders and not spending taxpayer dollars supporting illegal immigrants. He also has a very rational position concerning Iraq and our national defense. Here it is...
"In the wake of the September 11th attacks and the ensuing war on terrorism, it has become clear that the United States is facing a new security threat. The war America is already engaged in will not be fought like the wars of the past. After witnessing the tragic terrorist attacks against the nation, it is now time to coordinate the efforts of federal, state, and local agencies to provide better homeland defense.
Tomorrow's attacker is more likely to board a commercial airliner bound for the U.S. with a tourist or student visa - or he may simply walk across our porous southern or northern border carrying a device in his backpack. These issues must be addressed.
We are, I believe, in a clash of civilizations. That clash is fought on many fronts-some military, some diplomatic, and still others, ideological. On the military front we have won two significant victories. One was in Afghanistan where we destroyed the Taliban and Al Qaeda's command and control network. The second victory was in Iraq where, by toppling the Sunni dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and creating the embryonic infrastructure of a democracy, we set in a motion a chain of events that could lead to a major strategic advantage for us and for the West. This advantage emanates from the forced political equilibrium that can be brought to the region and Iraq itself now that Saddam has been dispatched. The deep schisms in Islam will force countries in the region to impose this equilibrium. Our continued presence in Iraq as the referee in a civil war inhibits this development.
We must take whatever steps are necessary to assure our ability to respond quickly to events in the area as the process of creating this new balance of power goes on. But the quicker that process starts, the better.
In his speech to the nation on the war in Iraq, the President said he was establishing a "November benchmark" for the Iraqis to complete the task of controlling all provinces of the country. This should be more than a benchmark. I believe it should be used as the time frame for our disengagement from Iraq. We can maintain a military presence in the area to act as a quick response force with a mission to destroy Al Qaeda elements while simultaneously aiding the new balance of power in the region to develop.
I am not alone in my thoughts about what to do in Iraq. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, in a recent interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, concurred.
"I think it's clear that the United States has met the obligation that it incurred when it overthrew Saddam Hussein. And that's to try and provide some conditions of security for the Iraqis to determine what kind of country or what kind of society they want in the future. We have met that obligation. That obligation does not need to be extended. And this is really the last chance for them. After that, we need to pursue very narrowly what our strategic interest is. And that's making sure that terrorism doesn't find root in that country."---
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton
At the end of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a lady asked Benjamin Franklin, "What have you given us?" He replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it." We have purchased an opportunity for Iraq and the entire Middle East with the blood and treasure of America. It was a noble endeavor for which all who served can be immensely proud. It is now time to see if the Iraqis can take advantage of the opportunity and "keep" what has been so dearly purchased."
Do I think Iraq will take advantage of the opportunity and "keep" what has been so dearly purchased? Hell no, they won't. They don't have a clue. It's not that they don't have the ability. They don't have the desire. Two or ten years of US occupation will not reverse 1,500 years of uncivilized, deviant religion-based mad dog behavior. Case in point. A $50,000,000 reward has been established for the capture of Osama Bin Laden. This reward has been in effect since 2004, with no takers. Why is that, do you suppose? Is it because Pakistanis and Afghans don't like money? No. It is because the zealots surrounding Bin Laden believe in their cause more than in money. If any Christian in this country felt as strongly about his faith as the Islamo fascists believe in theirs, they would be jailed for committing hate crimes. Our religions to not tolerate zealots. They are labelled intolerant bigots. We cannot fathom being as zealous for our faith in the west as most radical Muslims are about theirs. As long as this nation, our leaders, do not understand that distinction, and they don't, we have no more business being in Iraq.
We are not there to "win" (whatever that is). We are there to sap the vitality and morale out of our own armed forces - or so it seems. I agree with those who are tired of the rhetoric of our president when on one hand he claims how critically important it is for our nation to win this war in Iraq, yet for the past two years he had not shown a strong will to win by committing the resources necessary to complete our mission. As in Vietnam, our troops are hamstrung by politically correct strategic and tactical constraints. Some of our troops fear killing the enemy because they may get charged with a crime, as some of our soldiers have. We don't understand the enemy. We do not allow ourselves a level playing field. We will lose doing what we're doing. Stepping back from this battle does not mean we lose the war. It means we come up with more intelligent, better informed methods, and hopefully, a stronger will to be effective.