by Rod D. Martin
December 19, 2006

When last I wrote, I had just spent some time on our weekly White House leadership call making the case for increased troop strength in Iraq.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Far be it from me not to give the devil (in this case John McCain) his due here. Nevertheless, you can feel good that the NFRA — your movement — is being heard at the highest levels and getting results. You make this possible.

The situation in Iraq is more like 1968 America than 1968 Vietnam. Fourteen of eighteen provinces are safer than our major cities. The economy is booming: CNBC reported today that Iraq’s economy is growing at twice the rate of China’s. Salaries are up across Iraq by an average of 100% since Saddam’s overthrow; teachers’ salaries are up 2,700%! A real estate boom is underway, with average home values up double in the past year.

Is this the picture of a war zone?

No, this is the picture of once-upon-a-time Watts and Harlem. And just as Nixon knew, the answer is law and order. If the Iraqis can’t quite get that together yet, who can blame them. But 30,000 more boots on the ground — which Democrats were demanding just a short time ago, so don’t let them get away with anything otherwise now! — could easily, if not precisely quickly, roll up a terrorist/criminal organization (which conveniently calls itself “Al Qaeda in Iraq,” Ms. Pelosi) which is trying to steal the hard-won freedom of 25 million people and which precious few of those people even vaguely support.

The key in this deployment will be what is done with the new troops. My friends in the Pentagon and on the ground assure me that where our forces are proactive — hunters, if you will — al Qaeda gets shut down and all is well. Where they are passive — defensive — there is ongoing smoldering trouble. This is an issue of command, and clearly some changes need to be made: a political blog back home shouldn’t have to tell commanders in Iraq something so deadly obvious. But that’s the long and the short of it, and conservatives need to pressure the Administration in just this vein. I will surely continue to do so.

But the point remains that Iraq is a messy, yet thriving place. There is no excuse for defeat, no substitute for — or need for anything less than — victory. What surrender-monkey fool ever thought this would be quick or easy, much less that Iran, Syria, al Qaeda, et al. would lie back and wait for us to remake the region in an image which will ruin their totalitarian party? But Iraqis have voted repeatedly for freedom, for democracy, for the (admittedly flawed, like everyone else’s) leaders we now see. We made their freedom possible. We’ve made their booming economy possible. We must now see it through, to victory.