On June 27, 2005, Donald Rumsfeld appeared for the full Hour on Fox News Sunday to talk about the two year old Iraq war. Now four years later the Troops are pulling out of the cities and handing security over to the Iraqis. They will now be stationed at bases in the countryside, not unlike Subic Bay in the Phillipines, or Ramstein in Germany. The War is over. We won.
Now the the Iraqis are the Old Sages of Liberty in the Middle East.
Here is what Donald Rumsfeld said in that interview four years ago about the average lifespan of an insurgency.
We're not going to win against the insurgency. The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.
Reading this interview now as we look back on how we won and how bad it could have been had we lost is a fascinating exercise.
At one point he is asked about a comment Cheney said about the insurgency being in its "last throes". Rumsfeld responds that people in the media use the term "Quagmire" and they ignore the Iraqi Political successes that are required for Democracy to emerge and the fact that the left and the media see the conflict through "quagmire" lenses. He explained that the term last throes could mean the Insurgency is entering a very violent "last throes" that will spike during elections and will "ebb and flow" and eventually die out once the people begin to see that the emergence of Democratic Rule is possible and a reality.
It is generally accepted that although 2007 was the most violent year, it was also the year that the Surge was methodically dismantling the enemy. The year 2006 was nearly as violent, but the violence was not the same.
Let's look at what was happening the year prior to Rumsfelds interview. The Madrid bombings scared away one of our key allies. Al Qaeda attacked the Russian school in Beslan and continuing to flex its mucscles.
A week after this interview were the Al Qaeda bombings in London. Four months later was the French Intifada that immobilized Paris.
But two events stand out as watershed events. One of them an over reach by Al Qaeda and another event that exacerbated the violence in Iraq and most definitely lengthened the occupation. The bombing of the Wedding in Jordan that killed the producer of the movie "Halloween" and his family was a major PR blunder by Al Qaeda. Many Muslims across the middle east when asked, admit that their view of Al Qaeda changed because of the imagery of such a brutal attack on such innocent civilians. This was the beginning of many in Iraqi's Sunni Triangle turning against Al Qaeda.
The other event was the bombing of the Dome of the Al Asakari Mosque in Sammara nine months after the Rumsfeld interview in February of 2006. This Al Qaeda act of terrorism turned 2006 into a bloody sectarian conflict that would take months to dampen the emotions.
What is key to remember is that one year after Rumsfeld discussed the Ebb and Flow and the "Last Throes" being possible a very violent "last throes", the commanders that would later become famous for being the architects of the winning strategy were beginning to share ideas that would later be known as "the Surge".
McKiernan, Odierno, and Petraeus were investigating new techniques and new bold personalities were moving to the forefront, as they tend to do in American Wars, and less bold personalities that lacked vision or feared the negative ramifications of American Domestic Political events on their careers fell back and eventually lost command. Civilians like Fred Kagan and Ret. Gen Keane continued to offer support and key congressional input from John McCain, Roy Blunt and estranged Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman all bolstered Rumsfeld's basic premise, which is Insurgencies take time, and especially a move from insurgency to Democracy in a land where Democracy is alien. I believe Rumsfeld was also trying to argue that the 5 to 12 year window that insurgencies usually tend to last for MAY have been a required transition period for the people to work out long simmering issues and decide whether Democracy was right for them or not.
There was a time a couple of years ago that Iraqis when polled had a surprisingly large number of respondendents advocating a "Strong man" leader with an Iron fist. Now polls show a large majority of Iraqis favoring democracy and predicting its ongoing success.
Another premise that should be considered. The left argued we should just "cut and run". They argued that these people are incapable of understanding democracy, that they are driven by primal religious bigotry and hatred and they do not deserve our help or "one more drop of American blood".
One, with the pullout of US troops today, they were proven wrong on so many levels, and exposed as cynical and bitter opportunists that are willing to put their own selfish domestic political interests before that of our nation and the freedoms and principles we are founded on.
But more importantly, what would have occurred had Rumsfeld waved the white flag and done the bidding of the Pelosis, the Reids and the Obamas.
The greatest fear of the Sunni Muslims in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the other gulf states for the last 30 years (Thanks to Jimmy Carter) has been a Hegemonistic Revolutionary Islamic campaign launched by the Shiite Muslim Fanatics that run the theocratic government of Iran. The image of Iranian tanks entering Kuwait City was the threat that Saddam used to convince the Royal family to bankroll his war. Saddam bombed the Saudis after feeling betrayed during the gulf war after he had protected them from the Ayatollah's plan to spread out across the middle east by way of Hezbollah, Terrorism, and all out war.
That fear of a Shiite wave spreading west across the Mid East never went away and the image of Iranian tanks and Missile launchers arriving on the shores of the Red Sea in site of Israel and Egypt was a very really concern during the "Cut and Run" debates of 2006. When the Left claimed the Mid East countries hated us, they would have heard a very different tune behind closed doors had we pulled up stakes in 2006 and left.
Of course the left argue that we would "redeploy" to Turkey or Okinawa and if "things got real bad" in Iraq, we would come back and show 'em who's boss!
Does anybody really believe that if we had pulled out after the Sammara Mosque Bombing and let them kill each other that we would under any circumstances have gone back in, especially if the violence was far worse? Even Obama argued that we were willing to tolerate Genocide if need be to get out. The Jordanians, Saudis, and Gulf States knew good and well, that if we left, there would be no cavalry, and no hope of return. If the Al Sadr Militia took on the Sunnis and without the Americans in country then asked for help from the Iranians, there would be nothing stopping the Iranians finishing the unfinished business of the Iran Iraq war of the 80s and reuniting Iraqi Shias under the banner of their Theocracy. Obviously they would not stop there. Knowing that the Americans political situation, they would only have a limited amount of time to take the ground to the west without western intervention, and surely they would have struck.
The Genocide Obama referred to would have occurred and what would have happened when the Iranian and quite possibly Syrian tanks arrived on the Jordan River. Would Obama's Genocide turn into a Nuclear Holocaust?
Obama ran on the premise that the Iranian government "Might" want to solve our differeances peacably. They may want to bargain away their Nuclear Weapons through negotiations. The Iranians can be reasoned with. There was also the premise that, if we discover that they can not be reasoned with and if they turn out to be garden variety thugs that oppress their own people, are not interested in the prosperity of their populace and who are neither religious nor are they interested in Morality, that we would fall back to a more aggressive approach.
I think we have discovered just that. Obama seems to be frozen like a deer in the headlights. Iran is not coming over for the Fourth of July BBQ, they are not to be reasoned with. Important Religious leaders like Ayatollah Montezeri, Rafsanjani, and yes, even Ali Sistani from, hold on,...drumroll,...the Democratic and Sovereign nation of Iraq are meeting in Qom to argue that the Iranian leadership is not only not behaving in an islamic or moral manner, but that they are actually just a brutal dictatorship that lives to retain its own power.
So where does that leave Obama. He claimed to have a hidden backup plan that contained a more "aggressive approach". He claimed that a Nuclear Iran was "unacceptable".
OK, so baby back ribs and sparklers for the Ayatollahs didn't work out so well, so whats next? We're all ears.
I happen to think Obama has no backup plan. They loved asking Bush, "If the Surge doesn't work, what is yoru back up plan?". I think his term "unacceptable" really means "hope". As in...I "hope" the Iranians "change" and disarm themselves. Turn on your TV and see if they have any intention of being peaceful and reasonable.
I like Donald Rumsfeld and I realize George Bush was President and deserves the majority of the credit for standing firm and winning this war, but on this VI day (Victory in Iraq) I wanted to revisit Donald Rumsfelds contribution to winning in this theater of "the long war". I miss his clarity, his honesty, and his ability to dispose of bullshit questions from "Drive by" media Dingbats and Info babes who have no idea of Rummys 5 decades of service to his country.
Rummy was right. This Insurgency would take 5, 6 8, 10 or twelve years. It was actually over in 5, which is the low end estimate, but here we are at 6 so lets celebrate. Whether the insurgency we fought in the Philipines or in Latin America or any number of examples in the last century by the British. This is not the first time this has happened, nor is it a re-run of Vietnam as the questioner posited. Rumsfeld had studied this well and he served his President well. The level of force over the long run was not to small, and he was right that a larger force would have alientated the populace.
In the end we leave Baghdad as victors. The people we liberated are our friends and for now, they are greatful for our sacrifice. Rumsfeld knew this was merely a theater in the long war, but as we are seeing Iraqi Shiites lecturing their oppressed brothers in Iraq about the right path to take...as if the Iraqis are old and wise regarding the ideals of Freedom and Democracy,...Well, Ironically, in that part of the world, they are the old sages of liberty, and like our forefathers they earned the title through their blood sweat and tears. In fact they are wiser about liberty than the Americans that were willing to watch them all die in a genocide for their own selfish power grab.
Yes, the Iraqis are the Old Sages of Liberty in the Middle East. God Bless them and wish them well.