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Bush Fails To Rally America, But So Does Sheehan

Anti-war activists are planning a march on Washington. Billed as “the largest anti-war demonstration in the nation’s capital since the Iraq war began in March 2003,” the organizers expect 100,000 people to attend. But even if that many do show up (which I doubt), the demonstration pales in comparison to the massive, world-wide protests in January 2003. The fact is, most Americans aren’t yet ready to admit defeat in Iraq.

The tragedy is, President Bush isn't offering a plan for victory that Americans can rally behind. Hunkering down in Baghdad's Green Zone until US troops are replaced by half-trained Iraqis while the insurgency rages on is not a plan for victory, so it's not surprising that growing numbers of Americans are frustrated with President Bush's handling of the war.

The insurgency continues to escalate, despite assurances that it's "on its last legs", and al Qaeda continues to train and operate in Iraq (as it's done for more than two years now) despite President Bush's assurances that we are winning. Winning what? Even on the political side, the result is an impractical Iraqi constitution of contradictions that installs a socialist economy and gives Islamic scholars the power to override the will of the people.

It's easy to see why some Americans want to bring the troops home now. Why are we sacrificing our sons and daughters for a pro-Iranian Iraqi government that enshrines medieval Islamic law and buys the loyalty of its citizens with petro-dollars? If President Bush isn't going to make it right, why are we still there?

The only reason to stay in Iraq now is to keep the country from continuing on as another pre-9/11 Afghanistan. Al Qaeda must be rooted out and their training operations shut down. Otherwise, we'll soon be facing Iraqi-based terrorist attacks on America, Europe, and the rest of the world. Iraqi-trained al Qaeda terrorists are already spreading throughout the Middle East, and recently attacked two US Navy ships in Jordan.

To rally Americans, President Bush must make a resolute commitment to secure Iraq immediately, including a significant increase in troop strength and a significant increase in regional diplomacy to help secure the borders. It's hard work and politically dangerous, but with every month wasted, the chance for a successful -- or even an acceptable -- outcome in Iraq diminishes, and Americans realize that. Only a significant improvement on the ground in Iraq will restore the public's confidence in President Bush.

President Bush talks a lot about victory, but just saying we're winning doesn't make it so, and Americans know the difference. Americans want to win, and if President Bush wants to maintain public support for "finishing the job" in Iraq, he's going to have to come up with a plan to do so -- a plan to crush the insurgency, root out al Qaeda operations, and secure the country so we can leave without giving the terrorists Iraq in exchange for Afghanistan.

Posted by American Pundit at September 3, 2005 1:12 PM