Ayn Rand Institute Press Release
You Call this "Victory"?
March 24, 2008
Irvine, CA--In Congress, on the campaign trail, and across America, many have accepted a strangely favorable view of what President Bush's war policies have accomplished.
Conservatives regard his "surge" as a master stroke and celebrate what Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell calls the "extraordinary progress that has been made in Iraq." The popular sense that the war is going well is at least part of the story behind the comeback of McCain, whose support for Bush's policies initially dragged him down.
Democratic candidates Clinton and Obama both concede that the "surge" has worked and grudgingly quibble about the slow pace of political reconciliation among Iraqis.
"But the idea that we're nearing 'victory' in Iraq is a fantasy," said Elan Journo, resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. "Iraqis may now be butchering each other a bit less often, but Bush's war policy has done nothing to protect Americans."
"Cheerleaders of the President's policy focus myopically on whether insurgents have been kicked out, for the time being, from one street in one neighborhood of Baghdad. But the only rational benchmark for the war's success is whether it has made the lives of Americans safer from the threat of Islamists. Our security depends on how we're doing in the face of the global enemy, the ideological movement of the jihadists, which is widely popular and sponsored by states such as Iran.
"Far from working to defeat the enemy, Bush's war policy has been, not to defeat the jihadist forces, but to show 'compassion' to Iraqis and Afghans, to raise them out of poverty and give them elections. Bush's policy has left the enemy undefeated and empowered."
It is not Washington, but the hostile Iranian regime that can definitely claim to have scored "successes" thanks to Bush's policies, argues Mr. Journo. "As the leading sponsor of Islamist hostility and terrorism, Iran has grown stronger in the face of Washington's inaction. Iran arms insurgents in Iraq and jihadists across the region in attacking Americans. And Iran has won enormous power over Iraq.
"The loudly touted security 'gains' of the surge in Iraq are but a momentary reduction in bombings and attacks on U.S. troops. The Iraqi government is still the theocratic regime dominated by Islamist groups, which still operate death squads, and it is still in Iran's pocket."
Mr. Journo continued: The Iraq fiasco is emblematic of the turmoil Bush's policies have caused across the region. U.S.-backing for elections has given Hamas, Hezbollah, and other Islamists more political power and added confidence. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the U.S. National Intelligence Director, al Qaeda is gaining in strength and improving "the last key aspect of its ability to attack the U.S." (i.e., new recruits who can blend into American society and attack domestic targets). The creeping Talibanization along the Afghan-Pakistan border poses a real threat of further attacks on the United States.
"All Americans should ask themselves: Why has Bush's 'compassionate' war policy not only failed to confront the major enemy, but strengthened it--and left us more vulnerable? How can we truly defend ourselves against the Islamist enemy? If we are to protect American lives, we need to answer these questions correctly, now."
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Mr. Journo is a resident fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute. He specializes in foreign policy and the Middle East. His writings have appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Philadelphia Inquirer, Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Sun Times, and the Globe and Mail of Canada. He is also a contributing writer for The Objective Standard, a quarterly journal of culture and politics. Mr. Journo has been a guest on numerous nationally syndicated radio programs.
Elan Journo is available for interviews.
Contact: Larry Benson
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