On March 27 2002 the “Passover Massacre” occurred at Netanya. More than 20 people, eating religious meal, were killed. That massacre shook the Israel and started to turn the Israel policy in a different direction. Yesterday’s Mosul attack on American Army is similarly shaking up America. It is one thing to loose your brave soldiers in the combat and another to loose these young Americans when they are trying to have a simple meal, probably the only luxury in a war.
The real issue is whether President Bush and his Administration are doing right things to complete the mission or not. Some of the more successful political battles Democrats fought in last few years are - to force Bush Administration to come straight on Home Land Security and to set 9/11 commission along with follow up of Intelligence Reform Bill. There is no reason for Democrats to loose any such possible initiative about Iraq policy. In the current circumstances America needs to address the Iraq problem squarely. It is the test of political leadership and the good part is despite the losses in election, the test does not preclude Democrats from trying the real solution.
The obvious thing here is to beef up American Forces. Let us ignore whether the Defense Secretary remains or resigns, but bother much more about how armor protection and weapons are made available to soldiers. It is clear that Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush do falter in this task. Force them to take the right action. This Administration has been reluctant to increase the strength of Army. But as all officials admit publicly, including the President, that American forces will have to be in Iraq well past the election on Jan 30; it is clear that the current rotation policy will hit the bump. Besides there is clear requirement that America needs to have forces on hand to deploy any where else while the Iraq war is continued.
The world is watching from outside all these failures of America in Iraq. As such there are growing challenges to American ability to project it’s strength all over the world. Could this failure in Iraq would unhinge America’s ability to set the global agenda permanently? Again it is a mute point that the world would have helped if there was some one apart from Bush. That is not the case is the reality and a fact. There is no Santa Clause around – no UN, no Germany, no Pakistan and no Indian troops. For all these countries America is a kind of laughing stock. It is now the issue of America’s credibility. Let us put more troops, let us give whatever they need. Still not convinced – try watching death of young soldiers on TV and yet try to celebrate Christmas with your family.
It is the fundamental realization needed here that apart from few handful allies, no other countries in the world are going to lend the helping hand of contributing by way of troops. All other discussion about what President Bush needs to do so those countries can come along is useless. It does not matter that President Bush is adamant and hence others hesitate to help us. But we Americans are stuck with this President. What do we do? Let us do what we can. Democrats need to forget their losses in election and come forward to address this issue head on. Whether you want or don’t, the reality of war, destruction and death even on solemn holidays lie in front of America. Let us not wait what President Bush does or Republicans in Congress do. May be Republicans will be all busy in savoring their moment of glory in Congress and newly found power and running after more Tax Cuts and what not. But Democrats do not need to loose the focus. That is the moral value. There is no more need to undertake that elusive search of “Republican Moral Values”; the moral value is right there for grabs – do not worry where the chips fall, but come forward to tell the nation what we need to do so that America has gumption to sustain these attacks on it’s will and complete the mission in Iraq.
December 22, 2004.