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September 23, 2004
Carter Advocates Cut And Run

For those of us who remember the Jimmy Carter presidency, this story will come as no shock; it merely reminds us where we've heard the (latest) John Kerry war policies before. Speaking at a town-hall meeting on Tuesday and reinforcing his remarks on Wednesday, Carter called for an early withdrawal of American troops in Iraq in order to reduce the insurgency:

Former President Carter said Tuesday that violence in Iraq could be greatly reduced if the U.S. government set a date to withdraw its troops.

"The main thing that sustains violence there is the apparent long term presence of U.S. troops," he said. ... Carter said he would like to see troops withdraw as early as next year if Iraqis show they can establish self-government.

Once again, we have Jimmy Carter advocating American withdrawal in the face of the enemy. During his administration, that happened in both our Cold War standoff with the former Soviet Union and in Iran, the birthplace of Islamofascism. Having failed miserably at least twice during his own presidency and once in North Korea during the Clinton Administration, Carter now appears to be Kerry's leading light on Iraq. Certainly Kerry's latest policy switch on Iraq mirrors Carter's insistence on setting a date for our exit, regardless of the status of the mission.

Carter and Kerry reveal a hopeless naivete' -- just plain hopelessness -- in believing that the source of the problem in Iraq is the presence of American soldiers. Our presence may draw out the terrorists, but the terrorists would come to Iraq in any case, as the toppling of Saddam gives them an opportunity to fill the power vacuum left behind. They recognize that they have the same opportunity we do -- to remake Iraq into a new vision of their ideology. What Kerry and Carter fail to appreciate is that their vision is murderous and oppressive, and it represents a clear danger to American interests, especially if they get their hands on Iraq's oil revenues.

The Carter/Kerry withdrawal deadline would have catastrophic consequences for both Iraqis and Americans. First, the Iraqis still feel a sense of betrayal over our failure to give material support to their 1991 uprising in the South. Giving the terrorists the date on which we'll leave, mission status notwithstanding, will convince everyday Iraqis that we're bugging out on them again -- and they will naturally make bargains with whomever holds the most power just to survive. Terrorists in Iraq will simply bide their time, using this impression to build political strength and intimidate Iraqis to turn the entire country into a greater Fallujah. And Islamofascists around the world will see, once again, that Americans will not fight to maintain the security of their friends, let alone in their own interests, and will become emboldened in their efforts to chase us out of the Middle East altogether.

If this all seems like deja vu, then like me, you've lived through the Carter presidency. And like me, if you've lived through it once, you'll have no desire to live through its sequel.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 23, 2004 6:30 AM

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