RENDEZVOUS WITH DESTINY: Greg Buete of Tech Central Station writes that we need to stay on course to turn Iraq over on June 30th:
An arbitrary date? Tell that to Abu Zarqawi and other terrorists opposed to Iraq’s democratic transition. What we’re witnessing in Fallujah and Ramadi is the execution of Zarqawi’s playbook — in the form of a letter addressing future insurgent strategy. In this letter, captured by Kurdish soldiers, Zarqawi fretted that time is running out for the insurgency. In response, Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist linked to al Qaeda, urged sparking a civil war between Iraq’s Shia and Sunni Muslims, and most importantly, to do so before June 30, the date the US officially begins its transition of power to Iraq. At that point, Zarqawi noted, any further insurgency will be seen as a fight against fellow Muslims instead of a fight against America.
Zarqawi said, “…if we fight them [Shia], that will be difficult because there will be a schism between us and the people of the region. How can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext, after the Americans start withdrawing? The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority. This is the democracy, we will have no pretext.”
Were we to follow the leadership of John Kerry, and push back our transfer date, we would be delivering a gift-wrapped package to the promoters of chaos and instability in Iraq, just as the Spanish population delivered them a victory by capitulating to terror.
It is imperative that coalition authorities stay the course. But in a repeat of last summer, armchair strategists are misdiagnosing the issue. With every milestone achieved putting more Iraqis in control, the insurgent factions — whether former Saddam loyalists, Iranian-supported Shiite extremists or al Qaeda network terrorists — lose ground. They are threatened by the June 30 transition date because on that day forward an insurgent attack is no longer against “occupiers” but against Muslims. Their argument and support will erode.
Sen. Kerry isn’t alone, unfortunately. Over the weekend two frequent Republican critics of the president, Senators Richard Lugar and John McCain (but of course!), joined Democratic Senator Joe Biden in advocating moving the transition date. The issue is thus added to the rest of the red herrings that never die in the course of this war: The most notable others being “more troops required” and a lack of an “international face” in Iraq.