Along the Tracks

Friday, March 21, 2003

Thank you

To all who watched the discussion on WBGU-TV’s “The Journal,” as well as to Marlene Harris-Taylor, the Channel 27 staff, and my fellow panelists.

My reflections: First, I hope it came across as clearly over the airwaves as it did in the studio that people can sincerely disagree with each other about these crucial issues and still be civil, still be intelligent and still be Patriotic Americans. I truly believe that if their had been a more polite, sincere and intelligent discussion of the Iraq question, with real contributions (as you witnessed last night) from the opposition rather than a regular default to smears (”Bush is Hitler” or calling him an “unelected president”), falsehoods (America seeks an empire) and anti-Semitic innuendo (Israel’s war; Richard Perle or Paul Wolfowitz’s war, etc.), we might have developed a consensus policy which had a chance of ending Saddam’s regime without war. I’m a conservative, a Bush voter and a supporter of the present policy - but I feel strongly that only by open discussion, debate and a weighing of options can we find our way toward a policy which keeps America safe and strong, and brings hope to the oppressed people of the world.

The new plan

It seems even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and then. Yesterday I suggested we may hold off on “shock and awe” until the last minute, forcing the Iraqi leadership to prove its viability - and giving Iraqi commanders every opportunity to defect. So far, that appears to be the new strategy, and so far its working.

As our troops get closer to Baghdad, the danger will increase; I anticipate those Special Republican Guard commanders will get a last chance to give up while our ground forces are still a safe distance away. If they defect, great - in we roll. However, if they waiver, all hell’s fury will come down on their heads for about two hours - “shock and awe.” Then, they might get a second chance to surrender before their complete destruction.

We’ll see how it plays out, but even if we need to pound our way into Baghdad, we have already saved countless lives by this new strategy. Bush has proven yet again to be an excellent war commander, willing to adjust to new circumstances on the fly and making the most of opportunities which arise. What can the critics say?

Intelligence coup

It is our on-the-ground intelligence which has allowed this war to proceed as cleanly as it has to this point. First, we either kill or cut off Saddam - a snap decision, at that. Then we get “understandings” with Iraqi commanders and roll into the south largely unopposed. While nobody’s looking, we take two airfields in western Iraq and one in the north, and bring in huge numbers of troops to triangulate against the most likely center of opposition - Baghdad and Tikrit. Right now, special forces and intelligence agents are combing through those cities, convincing some enemy units to lay down their guns, marking targets for potential bombing and hunting down the worst of the worst in the Ba’ath Party. It’s been at least as impressive as the efforts a year and a half ago in Afghanistan. Bravo, bravo.

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