I was talking with a friend who works on Capitol Hill yesterday. Lately he’s been a little frustrated with his job, with the inertia of the Hill, and as he put it the “lack of statesmanship” that he sees from the members. Most days I couldn’t agree with him more, but today (thankfully) I could disagree. Sen. McCain’s speech on Iraq and the broader war on Islamic radicalism is the very definition of statesmanship:
If we leave Iraq prematurely, jihadists around the world will interpret the withdrawal as their great victory against our great power. Their movement thrives in an atmosphere of perceived victory; we saw this in the surge of men and money flowing to al Qaeda following the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. If they defeat the United States in Iraq, they will believe that anything is possible, that history is on their side, that they really can bring their terrible rule to lands the world over. Recall the plan laid out in a letter from Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before his death. That plan is to take shape in four stages: establish a caliphate in Iraq, extend the “jihad wave” to the secular countries neighboring Iraq, clash with Israel – none of which shall commence until the completion of stage one: expel the Americans from Iraq. Mr. President, the terrorists are in this war to win it. The question is: Are we?
Look, you can count me among those who are glad to see his poll numbers dwindling. But you can also count me among those who have an unlimited amount of respect for a man who has risked life and limb for our country and who now risks his entire political career for that same country–and for the sake of freedom everywhere. Thank you, Sen. McCain.