FOX News has this report
about the testimony today of SecDef Rumsfeld and others before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Gen. John Abizaid, Commander of the U.S. Central Command, and Gen. Pete Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff also testified. The entire event was something less than positive.
Senators Clinton and McCain in particular, both potential 2008 presidential candidates, put the witnesses through the ringer. All three men agreed that there have been setbacks in the war with Iraq, and that civil war is always a possibility, but they also suggested that victory can still be achieved.
Quotes from the hearing:
Rumsfeld: "Americans didn't cross oceans and settle a wilderness and build history's greatest democracy only to run away from a bunch of murderers and extremists who try to kill everyone that they cannot convert and tear down what they could never build. We can persevere in Iraq or we can withdraw prematurely until they force us to make a stand nearer home. But make no mistake, [extremists] are not going to give up whether we acquiesce to their immediate demands or not. Ultimately the sectarian violence is going to be dealt with by Iraqis."
Abizaid: "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it." "I think there is a demand for military, political and diplomatic activities that move Iraq toward stability ... and I believe this current government, which is a four-year government, has that opportunity." "Iraq is only one part of a broader regional struggle underway. ... The vast majority of the people in the region do not want extremists to win,"
Pace: "Shiite and Sunni are going to have to love their children more than they hate each other. The weight of that must be on the Iraqi people and the Iraqi government." "We are a nation at war, fortunately most of our fellow citizens are not affected by that war every day. Our enemy knows they can not defeat us in battle, they do believe however they can wear down our will as a nation. They are wrong." Winning the global War on Terror "will not be easy, this will not be quick and this will not be without sacrifice, but we will persist and we will prevail."
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, in Baghdad: His government is "highly optimistic that we will terminate terrorism this year. The Iraqi forces will take over security in all Iraqi provinces by the end of this year gradually, and if God's will, we will take the lead."
I don't know what to think about this mess anymore. There is no doubt in my mind that our troops are fully capable of winning any conflict that they are involved in, but politics is taking a heavy toll here. Reality just isn't what it once was.
Part of me says just get out, and if they want to kill each other, as they have for thousands of years, then let them! Why should our brave men and women fight and die for something that many Iraqis don't seem to be willing to fight and die for? But I know that if we did pull out, we would be back there within ten more years, spilling more blood in the same old mud. And it would be much more difficult an endeavor the third time around.
Staying in Iraq to finish the job seems the only reasonable option. We cannot abandon all of our efforts there thus far, just because things are not improving vastly. We knew it would be a fight going in and it has been. But leaving now would only render worthless all of the sacrifice offered thus far. And I know that we can win, if the politicians and the negative news media will just shut up and let our troops prosecute their battle plans. But that's not about to happen, is it?
Also in Iraq, the completely worthless SecGen Kofi Annan wants the UN mission in Iraq extended for another year.
Huh. What, exactly, is the UN doing in Iraq? Here's a hint: it's doing the same thing in Iraq that it's doing in Lebanon, Darfur, Iran, North Korea, Syria, the Balkans, etc. In a word, nothing.
If the UN really wanted to do something, they could take over peace-keeping duties in Iraq, freeing US troops to return home. Wouldn't that be something?