For this extended primary season, we have an extraordinary opportunity to get acquainted with the men and women who want to run for the Presidency. I have extended invitations to all campaigns to have their candidates post their messages to CQ readers. Today, I'm happy to introduce Representative Duncan Hunter, in an exclusive post regarding the surge strategy in Iraq.
An Exclusive Post For Captain's Quarters On The Surge In Iraq
I would like to thank Ed Morrissey for giving me the opportunity to write a guest blog at Captain’s Quarters about the surge in Iraq. The courtesy is much appreciated.
Now, let me take a moment to talk about Iraq. What we're doing in that country is following the same basic pattern that we've used to expand freedom around the world for more than 60 years in places like Japan, Europe, and El Salvador. First, you stand up a free government. Next, you stand up a military capable of protecting that free government, and lastly, the Americans leave.
We've stood up this free government in Iraq and we've also stood up 129 Iraqi battalions that are trained and equipped. What we need to do now is rotate all those Iraqi battalions into combat zones, which will help re-enforce the chain of command, develop combat effectiveness, and help validate the civilian government's control over the military.
While those Iraqi troops are getting battle hardened, they'll need the support of American troops. That's where the President's plan comes in. You can call it a surge, you can call it an escalation, you can call it whatever you want, but what the President is doing is sending reinforcements to Iraq to help mentor and train the Iraqi troops, secure the country, and complete the mission.
I returned this week from a fact-finding trip to Iraq where I met with top U.S. military commanders in Baghdad, Ramadi, and Fallujah and was briefed by Iraqi Army and police officials.
In a letter to the President, I made several recommendations and attached a sample schedule for three-month field operations for all 129 Iraqi battalions, a plan that can be executed within the next six months.
Once the Iraqis are capable of taking responsibility for their own security, then we can rotate American troops home with the knowledge that Iraq is not a threat to our nation and will not be a state sponsor of terrorism.
At this critical point, the members of Congress who are engaging in political posturing, while our soldiers are carrying out their mission, are doing a real disservice to the troops. Let me add that if the Democrats were to cut off reinforcements and supplies to our troops in Iraq, our troops will never forgive them and I don't think the American people will ever forgive them either.
Speaking from experience as someone who has had a son who spent two tours serving in Iraq as a Marine, I know that it's not easy for us here at home to know that our troops are risking their lives expanding freedom in a foreign country. But, even though it's difficult and dangerous work, it's also vital.