I’m an on-again/off-again fan of John McCain. Sometimes I think he’s right on top of what’g going on, and sometimes I think he’s going right off his rocker. But I must admit that his editorial in the Washington Post this weekend was right on the money. Especially
The administration should level with the American people about the cost and commitment required to transform Iraq.
We do not have time to spare. If we do not meaningfully improve services and security in Iraq over the next few months, it may be too late. We will risk an irreversible loss of Iraqi confidence and reinforce the efforts of extremists who seek our defeat and threaten Iraq’s democratic future.
I was also struck by the distrust many Iraqis hold for the United Nations. It is questionable whether U.N. authority over Iraq’s political transition would enhance its legitimacy. A U.N. peacekeeping force like the one that stood by as thousands of Bosnians were massacred at Srebrenica would not inspire the Iraqi people’s confidence. U.N. blessing of the occupation authority, recognition of the Iraqi Governing Council and advising on Iraq’s reconstruction could help in soliciting foreign troops and reconstruction aid, but U.N. primacy would endanger Iraq’s transformation.
To be honest, I’m not really all that interested in convincing France or Germany to actively support us. Of course I’d rather they were for us as opposed to against us, and I think there’s a little room for compromise in a few areas, but the strings French commitment will come with aren’t worth it. A few years down the road, I think places like Poland may have more real power on the world stage, and I don’t think that’s a bad idea. It’s Iraq, not Old Europe, that we need to convince to actively support us. We’ve done a lot of good, but there’s a long way to go.
Americans must understand how important this mission is and be prepared to sacrifice to achieve it. Without an intensive campaign now to explain what is at stake and absent the necessary political and financial commitment, we raise the potential for a defeat that will deal a lasting blow to American interests and freedom’s progress.
We need to do it. We need to do it right. And we need to do it now.
What was initially called a Global War on Terror has degenerated into a nothing more than a series of national foreign policy pissing matches. Do I want to spend more money on Iraq? Of course not. Am I willing to spend more money on Iraq? Absolutely.
We are at war. It’s going to take a long time. It’s going to cost more than anything else in the history of mankind. We cannot get out cheap. There is no easy road. I think we need to be more up front about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how we’re going to go about doing it. I don’t care if anyone likes it or not. We need to tell the truth, set a clear policy, and stick to our guns at all costs.
There’s a two-year anniversary of approaching. I hope some folks watch the pictures and think back to how they felt on that day. And I hope that we follow through on the things we said we’d do on that day and in the fear-filled days that followed.