Another view: Play to win in Iraq or get out |

Another view: Play to win in Iraq or get out

Kirk Caraway

Dear Mr. President, I watched your speech on Sept. 11, and I was moved. I listened to your words about how important it is that we prevail in our battles with evil in this world, and I couldn’t agree more.

I didn’t vote for you, but you are my president. I disagree with a number of your policies, but for the sake of the country I do not want you to lose this war. In the aftermath of 9/11, America became one. Your critics forgot about the divisive 2000 election and stood with you as we went to war.

However, your conduct of this war from that point started raising doubts. In Afghanistan, you sent in a relatively small force, which failed in its major objective of finding Osama bin Laden. And then before the dust settled, you switched the focus to Iraq.

You started losing us at that point.

There, you sent in an invasion force less than one-fourth the size of Desert Storm. Your people said we would be greeted as liberators, and that the war would pay for itself and make us safer, none of which turned out to be true.

Sir, your words are inspiring, but your actions are troubling. Are you trying to win this war? You keep saying that you are “staying the course,” but after three-plus years, the violence is worse, the enemy is stronger, and chances for victory in either Iraq or Afghanistan look bleaker every day.

From my vantage point, it looks like you are trying your best not to lose this war. In football terminology, that’s called Prevent Defense. And as any good football fan will tell you, the only thing Prevent Defense does is prevent you from winning, especially when the clock is in your opponent’s favor.

If this really is the struggle for our civilization, then why are we holding back? Why do we continue to not have enough forces on the ground in either Iraq or Afghanistan? Everyone except for your Secretary of Defense and his team of yes-men have said you lack the troops to get the job done. You have followed your team’s advice for all this time, and they have been wrong on just about every aspect of this conflict. Perhaps you should start listening to some other people.

I’m not sure why you have decided not to send more troops into action to end this thing quickly instead of letting it play out day after bloody day. Is the approximately 150,000 soldiers we have in Iraq all we can muster to defend our civilization? If we don’t have enough troops to send into battle, then why is your Secretary of Defense continually resisting increasing the size of our armed forces? If this war is as important as World War II, then shouldn’t we have a draft? At the very least, I would think you and your top people would be on a tour of high schools and colleges to encourage young people to sign up to serve their country.

If we can’t stop the spiraling violence in these countries, then the people there will lose what little faith they have in their government, and ours. Americans are losing faith, too, that their president has the answers to these problems.

When at first people started questioning your actions, you ignored them. When the criticism continued, you sent out your minions to accuse them of being traitors. These people aren’t disloyal, Mr. President. They are just worried that we seemingly aren’t doing everything possible to win this war.

It doesn’t help matters when you go around saying that you don’t worry about Bin Laden, that he isn’t a high priority. He’s the single largest mass murderer in American history and the leading terrorist in the world. He damn well better be a high priority. As long as he is still free, the whole world believes he is winning this war, and making us look like fools. The image of a man living in a cave taking on a superpower and winning is inspiring terrorists everywhere. Take him out. Now.

We all want you to win this war. But if you’re not willing to do what it takes to win, then get out. The only thing worse than running away from a fight is going into a war without the resources and the will to win.

If you take the necessary steps to win this war, Americans will be clamoring to change the Constitution to vote you a third term. Make your actions match your words. Otherwise, you’ll just be another failed politician who gets run out of town for selling the people a big bottle of snake oil.

– Kirk Caraway is editor of, and also writes a blog on national issues at

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