Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Earth to Democrats: Don't Abandon Iraq!

Lost amidst the daily calls for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq emanating from the Democratic Party is the fate of the Iraqi people and its fledgling government. While the anti-war camps claims the moral high ground, in fact, what it is demanding is not only irresponsible, but morally reprehensible.

But the interests of political maneuvering have come to outweigh those of humanity, not to mention American national security. Does anyone really suppose that our enemies have not taken notice?

This is the message from Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi, according to an interview with the New York Post:
Iraq's U.N. ambassador has a stark message for the American people: Don't abandon us now.

"We have to know we have a partner here, that we have a partner we can rely on," Ambassador Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi told The Post in a rare interview.

"This country is at war. We are at war together. We are allied together at war against a common enemy," al-Istrabadi said. "We have one way forward: together."

Al-Istrabadi's remarks came as he warned that the debate in Washington over the course of the Iraq war is being "poll-driven" because of the 2008 elections.

It's also being closely monitored by a key enemy, he said: al Qaeda.

He also warned, "If there weren't a single American soldier" left in Iraq, al Qaeda members and other terrorists there would be "killing people, massacring them by the hundreds and thousands every month."

"It's a very real threat. It is a clear and present danger," said al-Istrabadi, who is also Iraq's deputy permanent representative to the United Nations.

Rather than a public debate that focuses on American withdrawal, al-Istrabadi said that now is the time to press ahead with the surge in U.S. troops to crush insurgent forces in Iraq.

"We've made remarkable progress, and so it seems to me that this is the time to redouble the commitment, to help us to complete that process," he said.

But instead, he noted, the early launch of the U.S. presidential campaign has turned America's war policy into a political football.

"It's been very painful to watch the political process in Washington, because it seems to have very little to do with Iraq," al-Istrabadi said.

"It seems to be poll-driven, based on internal political dynamics," he added. "It's more poll-driven than it might have been at this point in the middle of May 2004 [the last presidential-election year], in terms of the issues and how they play with voters."

"Because of this acceleration of the presidential race, I think we have less of the ability of the elder statesmen of both parties to find a reasonable compromise that is based on international interest, as opposed to what may be popular."

Al-Istrabadi's comments come as the Democratic-controlled Congress, as well as Democratic presidential candidates, including Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, have stepped up efforts to bring troops home and end the war.

Al-Istrabadi, who drafted Iraq's interim constitution and who was the principle author of its bill of rights, said he was shocked by the recent passage of Democratic-sponsored legislation to fund the war in two-month increments.

"Our mutual enemy [al Qaeda], which has a variety of funding sources available to them, is not thinking about funding only 60 days at a time," al-Istrabadi said. "It seems to me you fight fire with fire. I don't know how you fund a war 60 days at a time."

He sharply criticized proposals for a timeline to withdraw the troops, warning that such moves are "not helpful" because they send a strong message that al Qaeda only needs to wait out the United States.

"Some of the pronouncements about early withdrawal make one scratch one's head as far as trying to square that with the ultimate interests of the U.S. in the region, which have got to be predicated on stability," al-Istrabadi said.

He claimed the debate between Democrats in Congress and President Bush is being closely monitored by al Qaeda in Iraq, which al-Istrabadi described as a cunning and sophisticated enemy that is not to be underestimated.

"There are real enemies who are watching the debate, who understand what's happening here and who think they can affect the outcome of the debate," he said.
I echoed these sentiments in a March column:


As the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War approaches and anti-war groups gear up to hold rallies across the country, it might behoove the movement to think about the consequences of its actions. Demanding an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq, pushing to remove funding from military efforts and exaggerating the problems in Afghanistan only strengthen the enemies of freedom, while creating insecurity in burgeoning democratic governments. In this way, the actions of the anti-war movement may actually end up prolonging the conflict.
Anybody listening out there?

Update (5/22): Former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey says much the same thing to his fellow Democrats in a column at the WSJ's OpinionJournal.com (h/t Lew of Right in a Left World).

And James Taranto, in an item titled "Unholly Alliance" (no doubt in reference to David Horowitz' eerily prescient book of same name) in today's "Best of the Web," notes that:
"...the donks and the mullahs--even if not, strictly speaking, allies--are working in concert to bring about an American defeat."
Indeed.

15 Comments:

Blogger diurnalist said...

It is absolutely horrendous that he has to plead not to be abandoned. Just like we abandoned the Vietnamese.

Well if we do run out on them get ready for the invasion of "refugees."

Monday, May 21, 2007 9:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few points left out of your column:

1 - The Istrabadi family came from Iraq to the United States in the early 1970's. He's got little experience on the ground in modern-day Iraq and even less influence there. He's only one voice out of many more influential and powerful voices for Iraq.

2 - In 2005, President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said that foreign troops could start leaving in 2006 or 2007.

3 - Also in 2005, at a reconciliation conference in Cairo, Iraqi leaders called for a timetable to be set for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The Associated Press reported that the gathering of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish leaders (under the auspices of the Arab League) also said that Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right to resistance."

4 - Seattle Times: May 11, 2007: A majority of Iraq's parliament has expressed support for a proposed bill that would require a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Iraq and freeze current troop levels.

5 - Terrorists can already easily "follow us home" as Bush likes to say - whether we're in Iraq or not. Meanwhile, we're going bankrupt from our runaway spending in Iraq (with little infrastructure to win Iraqi hearts and minds) and we've done little to make ourselves safer (nuclear facilities, chemical factories, borders, etc.)

6 - Your rants against Democrats are not helpful to your case. They just prove your irrational political bias, not a well-rounded argument for "staying the course."

Monday, May 21, 2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

1. Your first point is absolutely meaningless and pretty lame. Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi is the Iraqi UN ambassador, which probably means nothing to you unless it's a hate-America type filling the job.

2. Since when do we base our war/foreign policy on a statement made by something a Kurdish politician said in 2005? This one's a pathetic reach.

3. See 2.

4. See 3.

5. Going bankrupt? Verification please. Congress should be addressing the holes in our supposed security. Have you written to your Rep demanding these improvements? The ball's in your court now.

6. Your flippant "stay the course" is just a BDS inflicted DNC jabbing point. We changed course but you don't care about that, you just want to score political points. And work for defeat asap.

I bet you're ready to go into Darfur though. After all, as long as there are no American interests at stake liberals are always ready to invade.

Monday, May 21, 2007 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

It doesn't help that the msm won't report something like this either. Wonder why?

"MNF-I has issued a press release detailing the repelling of a large-scale terrorist attack by Iraqi Security Forces"
http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/227227.php

Monday, May 21, 2007 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That "Kurdish politician" was the president of Iraq.

If the majority of Iraqis want us out and think they could better defend their nation, then who are we to tell them otherwise? For conservatives who rail against the "nanny state," I guess that just means they don't want a nanny for their own "kids," only their neighbor's.

The 2005 comments from iraqi government officials illustrate this sentiment is nothing new. It has grown to the point that a majority of parliament now supports timetables for our withdrawl. You conveniently ignore that point in your rebuttal.

The longer we've stayed, the less security and services there are, the more Iraqis resent us and the more they view us as occupiers. It's common sense, which is in short supply in your neck of the woods. ("the insurgency is in it's last throws," "they'll greet us as liberators," "you can't call it a civil war," "we're making progress...")

Few Democratic politicians demand immediate withdrawl of all our troops. Most put forward some kind of reduction over time, a redirecting of energy into building up the infrastructure we helped to destroy, and building up regional support for Iraqi security needs (which would have far more legitimacy to Iraqis at this point). We cannot be the lead there any longer. Iraqis have to be given back the dignity of self-determination or the insurgency will continue to grow along with the civil war.

Your concept of a new strategy is laughable. More troops carrying out the same strategy is not new, it's more of the same.

Going Bankrupt? Yes. Look at the trade deficit, the budget defecit, the huge increase in spending under Bush, the dropping value of the dollar. Our middle class comforts are dwindling. We're already living on borrowed money. Get a clue.

As Bin Laden has said, one of his goals is to bankrupt us. He appears to be getting his way thanks to Bush. When we have no money left will we be able to defend ourselves any better?

You just don't get it.

Monday, May 21, 2007 3:19:00 PM  
Blogger Lew Waters said...

Former Senator Bob Kerrey chimes in as well, to his fellow Democrats, The Left’s Iraq Muddle

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 7:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Influx of Al Qaeda, money into Pakistan is seen
U.S. officials say the terrorist network's command base is increasingly being funded by cash coming out of Iraq.

Intelligence experts: al Qaeda in Iraq 'poses little danger' to US
...Al Qaeda's Iraq operation is now "overwhelmingly Iraqi" and is "focused on the struggle against the Shiite majority in Iraq."

Decline and fall of the neocons

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 9:25:00 AM  
Blogger diurnalist said...

Anonymous:

I guess you haven't noticed that all the "ideas" you said Democrats put forward on Iraq are already being done. Democrats have nothing to offer but endless investigations and race baiting.

What's the rush to defeat? Nobody said this would be easy or short. The initial battle was amazingly fast though, don't you think? Just because you and your ilk don't have the grit to do this anymore doesn't mean that's a policy to pursue. Or is in our national interest. Coincidentally that's the same policy Islamic terrorists want to pursue. Does it bother you that you're completely in sync with Al Qaeda and all the other nutcases? Maybe you need to look into this and see if it's your callow nature at fault or perhaps soaking up too much Air America.

So just give the Iraqis a swift talking to and wash our hands of the whole lot? There is no plausible explanation for willing a disastrous outcome for this country and Iraq, besides the desire for defeat. If hating Bush and the right has blinded you to those obvious-to-anyone-but-a-leftist consequences of not finishing what we started, then that's another thing to consider.

You can't just stamp your foot and say I'm bored with all this and can't we just leave and everything will be wonderful then and all the Euro-trash appeaseniks will thrill to a weakened America and there'll be no more terrorism.

Fighting radical Islam will be the fight for our generation. And our childrens'. If you won't recognize that Iraq is part of that fight, and leaving that country in chaos will strengthen them and weaken us, then you are not thinking things through.

It must be so depressing to be a leftist.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007 4:40:00 PM  
Blogger Lew Waters said...

A bit lengthy, but a good read. Alan Keyes, The moral basis for the war on terror

I like, "When dealing with terrorists, the first achievement is to force them to make war instead of practicing terror; to prevent them from using their hard violence against soft targets in our country."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007 12:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, May 25, 2007 10:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This National Intelligence Estimate report, written in April 2006 and declassified in part on September 26, 2006, states that jihadists are "increasing in both number and geographic dispersion" and that increased attacks are in order if the trend continues. It analyzes the state of the jihadist movement, noting its underlying factors, vulnerabilities, and possible means of terrorism.

The Iraq war has become “the ‘cause celebre’ for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement.”

Friday, May 25, 2007 11:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Friday, May 25, 2007 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Lew Waters said...

Goash, anonymous, can't you bring anything up that is new and hasn't been refuted time and time again?

Friday, May 25, 2007 6:36:00 PM  
Blogger Lew Waters said...

Here is some more up to date material for you, anonymous;

Navy SEALs Share War Stories From Anbar Province


Army Paratroopers Share Thoughts on Surge

Iraqis taking the lead at Al Suleikh

Appeals court bars Cheney foes from West Point

Friday, May 25, 2007 6:57:00 PM  
Blogger Cinnamon said...

Hey, anonymous--The other thing that's not welcome here, besides personal attacks, is simply posting links and long excerpts from articles. Apparently, you have no thoughts of your own and can only parrot what you've read. Your absolute insistence on American defeat is really rather pitiful. But you're certainly not going to convince anyone around here to follow you off the cliff.

Saturday, May 26, 2007 11:42:00 AM  

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