View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Election Isn't the War 

Iraq is facing, at this point, a civil war. Now, it's not a Civil War like ours, with the sides holding roughly comparable territories, and looking even-matched at the outset. But Iraqi-vs.-Iraqi it is.

It takes a special kind of steel to order the deaths of your countrymen. Grant was not the butcher he was made out to be, he just wanted the war to be over with. Sherman understood that the US Civil War wouldn't be over until, maybe 10,000 "bitter-enders" had been killed. Lincoln gave him the room to do it, and it must have tortured his soul.

This week, this day, is a time of testing for Iraqi President Allawi. He must allow us to go in and finish the job. The enemy are men who fancy themselves tough. Their leaders routinely prove themselves cowards by blowing up unarmed and innocent men. But they are willing to do horrible things in order to win.

Weakness now will only persuade both Americans and Iraqis that Allawi is not willing to do what it takes to win.

Lincoln understood the Civil War to be a terrible price for the nation's sins, but a price we had to pay in order to emerge united and free. Allawi needs to look that bill in the face and say he's willing to pay it.

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