The Washington Post has an editorial praising the President’s visit to Iraq:
President Bush delivered an important demonstration of American support for Iraq’s new democratic government in his visit to Baghdad yesterday. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki represents the best and maybe last hope that a national government can stem sectarian bloodshed, defeat Islamic terrorist organizations and die-hard defenders of Saddam Hussein, and make economic recovery possible. He has formed a unity cabinet, appointed a well-qualified defense minister and spelled out the right agenda, including an imminent campaign to pacify Baghdad with tens of thousands of Iraq’s newly trained troops. But Mr. Maliki desperately needs international help to turn the tide of violence and chaos. Mr. Bush’s appearance, and his assurance that America “will keep its word,” should reassure Iraqis who have feared that the United States would precipitously withdraw rather than defend the country’s first truly democratic government.
The idea that a withdrawal from Iraq now would make the situation any better is completely absurd. It is politically, ethically, and morally reprehensible to leave Iraq before it can defend itself. Such an action would be an immediate signal to the world that America really doesn’t care about democracy, it would create an ideal breeding ground for terrorism, destabilize the whole region, and leave a stain of shame on the American people for generations. Such an action is absolutely and categorically against everything this country stands for.
The Post doesn’t let this go unnoticed:
If Democratic leaders such as Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) had their way, almost all U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2006 — a blow that Mr. Maliki’s government almost certainly could not survive. Mr. Bush’s willingness — at least for now — to resist such politically expedient demands may not rescue Iraq’s fledgling political system; it may be that nothing can at this point. But he is — correctly and courageously — using what remains of his personal political capital to give Iraqi democracy a chance.
The last two years have been a string of failures for the President on a host of issues, and his leadership has been uneven at best. However, when it comes to Iraq, the President is right. Senator Kerry would shamefully leave the Iraqis to the wolves: and his patently idiotic plan for Iraq would leave the duly elected Iraqi government to the autocracies of Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. Kerry may have a distinguished record of service to his country 30 years ago, but like Rep. John Murtha, Kerry’s actions today are nothing short of pure cowardice.
Bush has put his entire political future on the line by staying the course in Iraq, and it has cost him dearly. However, he is right to do so, and our essential values are at stake in this conflict. Either we stand for democratic pluralism in Iraq or we hand that nation over to terrorism and violence. Those who would do the latter bear a stain of cowardice and must reconcile their chosen course of action with the fact that it would be a horrendous setback for democracy and freedom in the Middle East.
What truly disgusts me is that for some, this isn’t about democracy or freedom – it is nothing more than petty political hatred directed at this current Administration. This childish hatred stands in direct contrast to the tenacity, sacrifice, and courage of the United States military in Iraq who continue to fight with their coalition partners and the brave people of Iraq in stopping acts of terrorism and violence in that country. The President is right to stand with them, and those who truly believe in democracy, pluralism, and the concept of inalienable human rights should stand with the President in supporting a free and democratic Iraq.