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Backing Down from the War We Can’t Lose

by on October 12, 2009

The Commander-in-chief’s Nobel Peace Prize aside, there’s a war to win.  Regrettably, some of our representatives aren’t eager to back the crucial effort in Afghanistan at a critical time.  General Stanley McChrystal’s call for 40,000 more troops is being met with opposition by politicians from one of the states targeted on September 11:

In separate interviews this week, three of Western New York’s four House members and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., all said they were reluctant to quickly agree with the recommendation of America’s commander in Afghanistan, who is calling for 40,000 additional troops.

Who’s not on board other than Chuck Daddy?

Reps. Louise M. Slaughter, Brian Higgins and Eric Massa all expressed varying degrees of concern about McChrystal’s written recommendation, which was leaked to the Washington Post two weeks ago.

Higgins, who is eternally busy failing at replacing the Skyway, took a break from that full-time unsuccessful pursuit to announce he wants to fight on a more philosophical plane:

“I’m not convinced that increasing the troop levels is justified at this point,” Higgins said. “Let’s find a more effective way to deal with the real existential threat, which is al-Qaida.”

It’s odd that there’s apparently a reason it’s suddenly not worth combating the regime that let al-Qaida operate at will.

More importantly, the skeptics are ignoring the advice and experience of professionals.  Many of New York’s representatives and senators are missing the lesson we should have learned from Iraq, namely that a counter-insurgency can turn the tide in our favor.  Interestingly, some have recently claimed that the principle also worked in Vietnam, and that a battlefield win was only turned into a loss by political decisions.  Does it need to be repeated what happens to those who don’t remember history?

Despite what our Capitol-dwellers think, a surge focused less on hunting and more on overall control appears to offer the best chance for victory.  But the opinion that should matter most isn’t that of any representative or senator; it also shouldn’t be up to any other civilian, including, frankly, bloggers.  The only take that should matter to the president/Nobel Laureate is McChrystal’s.  After all, the general has dedicated his adult life to determining the best strategies and tactics for keeping us safe.

But the Schumers and Slaughters of the world have their priorities elsewhere.  They’re so fixated on inventing good government that they’re disregarding what government does well.  Our national public servants love cap and trade, but can’t bring themselves to support an effort that’s actually within federal jurisdiction.  Namely, killing terrorists and their enablers in the most obviously just war possible is one of the few useful efforts Washington can lead.

Victory is the only option.  Neither previous strategic missteps nor Afghanistan’s corruption can hide the necessity of triumph. This isn’t like blowing an Olympic pitch: we have to win what Obama once deemed the “good war” if we’re at all serious about beating terrorism.

The top general in Afghanistan has laid out a course that he feels will do the job.  Despite that, many of New York’s elected officials have frighteningly short memories about what happens when we’re tepid about defending ourselves.  At best, they want to stay the course on a clearly rickety path; at worst, they’re succumbing to fatigue at a moment when we should be shaking it off and preparing for overtime.  Either way, they’re sorely mistaken if they think not fighting back will end the fight.

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