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The Washington Post editorial board recognizes the value in yesterday's surprise visit to Baghdad by George Bush. In its unsigned editorial today, the Post applauds the message that Bush delivered by his presence as well as his words -- and the Post has a few words for John Kerry as well:
PRESIDENT BUSH delivered an important demonstration of American support for Iraq's new democratic government in his visit to Baghdad yesterday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki represents the best and maybe last hope that a national government can stem sectarian bloodshed, defeat Islamic terrorist organizations and die-hard defenders of Saddam Hussein, and make economic recovery possible. He has formed a unity cabinet, appointed a well-qualified defense minister and spelled out the right agenda, including an imminent campaign to pacify Baghdad with tens of thousands of Iraq's newly trained troops. But Mr. Maliki desperately needs international help to turn the tide of violence and chaos. Mr. Bush's appearance, and his assurance that America "will keep its word," should reassure Iraqis who have feared that the United States would precipitously withdraw rather than defend the country's first truly democratic government. ...
[W]hat Mr. Bush can do is give the government some precious time by continuing to provide American troops and aid to a regime that is nowhere near able to defend itself or rebuild the country on its own. ... If Democratic leaders such as Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) had their way, almost all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2006 -- a blow that Mr. Maliki's government almost certainly could not survive.
The Post editorial notes that Bush is spending what little political capital he has left to buy more time for Maliki's government to survive by defying calls from Kerry and others to announce withdrawal dates. Bush has made it clear that he will not get pushed into a precipitous withdrawal but will wait for conditions on the ground to improve enough to allow for a sensible and rational reduction in forces in Iraq. This mission has not yet been completed, and the Post recognizes that without Bush's will to see it through to the end, it will certainly fail -- with dire consequences for the Iraqis and the region.
Kerry, for his part, continues to demand not only a withdrawal but an invitation to Syria and Iran to determine the fate of the Iraqi people. In fact, the junior Senator from Massachussetts would have us enter into diplomatic relations with Iran for the first time in 27 years specifically to allow us to capitulate on Iraq, even though the Iraqis have their own elected government to represent themselves. Kerry manages to make Neville Chamberlain look prescient in Kerry's rush to give terrorist-supporting states sovereignty over Iraq and its future in the region.
The Post, at least, understands the stakes involved in Iraq. It keenly observes that victory will have to come from the Iraqis themselves, but they need help to stand up to those who want to turn Iraq into a Somalia with better oil reserves. Kerry's insistence on surrender to Syria and Iran demonstrates how fortunate we were to re-elect George Bush.Sphere It View blog reactions
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