It Takes A Commander-in-Chief To Bring The Troops Home In Victory

The success of the surge and the relative stability that it has brought to Iraq has moved the issue of the war from dominating the national discussion to being one of several important issues. 

This is healthy, as it has given us the chance to focus needed attention on other important issues, such as the economy and healthcare.  But we should not forget that whoever is elected president will be charged with managing the situation in Iraq.  That person will fulfill his our her role as commander-in-chief in a very direct and meaningful way.  Even as troop levels are reduced, the president will still be responsible for ensuring that the strategies and tactics employed in Iraq are successful.    

In the midst of an intense primary schedule, the candidates have focused predominantly on whether or not we should stay in Iraq – whether we should remain until the job is finished or start withdrawing as soon as possible.

This is indeed the main point.  But the devil is in the details.  Yes, we need a commander-in-chief who is willing to stay in Iraq until stability is fully established, militant groups reigned in and Iraq’s security systems and political systems independently operational. 

But we need more than that.  We need a president who understands how the military works, who has a deep understanding of defense and foreign policy issues.  We need a president who can work with military leaders to employ not just the right timeframes but the right tactics.

For we have learned, and learned the hard way, that if we do not employ the right tactics, we can never achieve our goals, regardless of how long we stay.  Nor can we just hope to withdraw the troops if the right tactics have not been employed in the right timeframes.  For if we withdraw before military and political stability is established, we will only be drawn into war again.  We will only face stronger enemies and more difficult challenges. 

We should trust the candidate who showed us the right way forward with his plan for the surge.  He is the candidate that most truly understands these essential military and national security issues.  He is the candidate who will give us the best hope of success in Iraq.  Because in a time of war, it takes a commander-in-chief. 

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