The Dalai Lama addressed the issue of Iraq during his speech at UM last week. What he told the predominately anti-war audience gained no applause; in fact, many left after his statement. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate said the U.S.-led coalition has the right intent in Iraq but only the war’s outcome will determine its justness. Tibet’s leader-in-exile explained that World War II and Korea were just wars, Vietnam was a total failure and Iraq is “too soon to tell.” The central question for the U.S. presidency should ask which candidate would do whatever it takes to achieve a peaceful and democratic government for Iraq.
Whether or not the coalition accomplishes its goals in Saddam’s former graveyard will largely determine whether our world continues its steady march towards democratic freedoms or yields to those who use terror as a tool to advance their ideologies of hate and oppression. Battle lines drawn in Iraq pit the coalition fighting for democracy versus fascist terrorists and former Baathists trying to break the coalition’s will by blowing up soldiers and civilians alike. An American retreat before the emergence of a stable democratic government in Iraqi would surely embolden Al-Qaeda, as it did after our exit from Somalia, and encourage the pursuit of WMD by rogue nations such as Iran, Syria and North Korea. A democratic and prosperous Iraq and Middle East represent our best long-term solution to Islamic fundamentalism. It would deal a major defeat to terrorists.
The U.S. has bet the house on Iraq. Which candidate will take the Dalai Lama’s advice and hold our cards until the job is done, and which one will fold them?
Statements by Sen. John Kerry indicate he’ll fold the first chance he gets. The senator has demoralized our troops in battle and emboldened the terrorist enemy by declaring Iraq “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Kerry claims he will bring more foreign allies to Iraq but simultaneously refers to our brave partners as a “coalition of the bribed.” He claims he will work with the new Iraqi government but questions Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi’s credibility. Will this quintessential liberal dove that made his career by declaring himself and all Vietnam soldiers “war criminals” stick it out in Iraq? Will this senator that voted against the Gulf War and numerous defense-spending initiatives keep America’s commitments in Iraq?
Kerry’s words and actions are not that of a man committed to democracy in Iraq but of one suffering from Vietnam syndrome. The choice this November between defeat and victory in Iraq is clear.
Pete Trombadore can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.