Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum. I was a political columnist for (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the Algemeiner, Daily Caller, Washington Examiner, Independent Journal Review, American Thinker, FrontPage Magazine, Jihad Watch, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, Jewish Press, J-The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, and many others.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Democratic Party Leadership Embraces Its Anti-War Past

My latest column at SFGate:

Democratic Party Leadership Embraces Its Anti-War Past

Looks like the Dem Party leadership just can't resist lurching leftward - to their own detriment and that of the country...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we define "win" as complete cessation of terrorist activities, then to think we can ever win against Islamic Terrorism is at best extremly naive and at worst dangerously ignorant. If we define a "victory" in Iraq is a western-style democracy, then to think we can ever "win" in Iraq in less than 30 years and at our current troop level is also at best dangerously naive and at worst dangerously ignorant.

Let's first look at Islamic Terrorism. As long as there is a group of fanatics who are willing to die for their cause and they are able to obtain funding and arms to advance their causes, there will be terrorism. Islam is a religion that will not go away any time soon so Islamic terrorism will not go away any time soon. Why would anyone ever assume or expect we can ever achieve complete victory against Islamic Terrorism? Does this even make any sense?

Today's Islamic Terrorism is global, with fundings from Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. So the question regarding Islamic Terrorism is not one of "winning" but one of scale. We need to remove nationalistic support from these fanatics, we need to remove funding sources from these fanatics and we must create conditions to starve them of recruits in order to shrink their ranks. Only when we can achieve these three goals globally, do we stand a chance at controlling them. To think we can achieve a "victory" against such well supported fanatics by simply "winning" in Iraq is extremely naive and ignorant.

Winning or losing in Iraq has little to do with Islamic Terrorism against us.

As for winning in Iraq, we need to learn from history, especially colonial and imperial hisotry of England and France. England because of its Imperial history and France because of its experience in Algiers and Vietnam.

The British and French were not afraid of using force. They were brutal in colonial warfares in order to suppress rebellions. Only after complete sudmissions by the locals were they able to impose Western style rules and laws. They then stayed in many such colonies for one or two generations so that the local population actually identified themselves as "Bristish" subjects or citizen of the French Republic. Upon leaving, some colonies deterioprated into failed states but several were able to govern themselves.

They were able to achieve such feat because they were militarily superior. The occupying power had better soldiers and better equipment. The local population also had no international support. It was difficult to continue a rebellion against cannons and Enfield rifles when all one had was a Machete.

When local population were able to obtain arms and supplies (as in Vietnam, Algiers, India, Israel, etc) and when the rebels are as willing to die as the professional colonial soldiers, then suppression became costly and difficult if not outright impossible. The most recent lessons were Vietnam and Afghanistan.

England and France both knew when to quit. When a colony cost too much to administer, when the colony had little economic return and cost too much blood, they wisely let go.

The Iraqi insurgents have no shortage of money, supplies and most importantly, foot soldiers willing to fight and die. Are we smarter than England and France? Iraq is more similar to the WWII examples of Japan and Germany. A well armed nation, willing to fight.

To apply the WWII lessons, that means we need to take off our velvet gloves and restart "Major COmbat Operation". We have to introduce 200K troops, take over the Iraqi government and brutally fight to destroy the insurgents. In the process, if we have to fire-bomb Sadr city and Saddam's hometown killing thousands, so be it.

We will have to destroy the Iraqi will to fight but overwhelming force as General Shinseki and General Powell had recommended. And then we have to execute a "Belin Airlift" type program to swiftly and quickly rebuild Iraq. Most importantly, we may have to occupy Iraq for at least 20 years because unlike Japan and Germany, Iraq does not have a homogenous population. The Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis have been at each other's throat for a long time.

So to "win" in Iraq will require 200K combat troops, countless deaths, and at least 20 years of occupation.

So what happens during this 20 years? Do we expect the Islamic world to sit silently on the sideline? Or will it become a rallying cry for the terrorists? Will Iran and Syria behave like good little children or will they keep sending in money, arms and advisors?

So do we all believe that by occupying Iraq, terrorism will actually diminish and go away???

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This week General Peter Pace (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) re-defined (downgraded) victory in Iraq: "Winning to me is simply having each of the nations we're trying to help have a secure environment, inside of which their government and people can function."

No mention of democracy there. George W. Bush told us that security was the obsession of the former foreign policy of this country and it only led to trouble. Now, according to General Pace, it's our much sought goal.

Remember when Kerry was skewered for saying during his campaign that you could reduce the level of terrorism to a nuisance? In his interview this week General Pace continued, "You're not going to do away with terrorism, but you can provide governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, and elsewhere, with enough security capacity to keep the acts below a level at which their governments can function." Sounds like nuisance level to me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006 1:05:00 PM  
Blogger Fregoo said...

Just a note on your comments about the Lamont loss:
If Iraq were indeed the pivotal issue of the election, why did the decidedly hawkish Joe Lieberman handily defeat the much-vaunted anti-war candidate Ned Lamont in Connecticut? Why did Democratic candidates across the country win on a pro-military, moderate-to-conservative platform?

Here's some reporting on why Lieberman won (hint: most say it was not because of his pro-war stance, but despite it:

With his reelection, Lieberman said Connecticut voters "chose progress over partisanship, problem-solving over polarization and the mainstream over the extreme."

He pledged to return to Washington an independent senator "beholden to no political group." He said he would work toward a new bipartisan strategy to bring troops home from Iraq without compromising America's security.


Connecticut is a Democratic-leaning state where the war and Bush are unpopular. But Lieberman's aggressive campaign downplayed his support for President Bush's Iraq invasion. He has hammered Lamont as too partisan and too inexperienced to be an effective senator, a classic incumbent re-election message.


Polls show that the Iraq war is the top issue in Connecticut. A majority of voters disapprove of the war and President Bush's job performance. Gary Rose, a professor of politics at Sacred Heart University, said that Lamont has made some late headway with unaffiliated voters as the Iraq war turns uglier.

"He gained 5 points from Oct. 20. I think it is the death toll in Iraq that is at work here," he said.

Lamont has tried to tie Lieberman to Bush — a strategy that worked with Democrats but not as well with unaffiliated voters, who make up the bulk of Connecticut voters.

The latest Quinnipiac poll showed Lieberman backed by 73 percent of likely Republican voters, 51 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats.

Chris Barnes, a University of Connecticut pollster, said that Lamont failed to make a strong transition from primary victory to the general election campaign.

"If Lamont loses he can track it back to those turncoat ads, which were basically marketed to Democrats," Barnes said. The advertisements humorously portrayed Connecticut voters inverting their coats in protest of Lieberman defying the Democratic primary results to run as an independent.

While the advertisement was intended to sew seeds of distrust — that Lieberman would do or say anything to retain his seat — it came off as reinforcing Lieberman's independence from the Democratic Party to Republicans and unaffiliated voters, Barnes said.

"It was too subtle," Barnes said.

Barnes also believes that Schlesinger's strong performance in the debates hurt Lamont by reinforcing Lieberman's moderate credentials.

On one side, Schlesinger criticized Lieberman as too liberal while Lamont criticized Lieberman as too conservative. That put Lieberman in the middle — squarely where most unaffiliated voters reside in Connecticut, Barnes said.

Scott McLean, a professor of politics at Quinnipiac University, said that Lieberman's campaign should also be given credit for getting itself on track after the primary loss.

"He has downplayed the Iraq situation and played up his experience and attacked Lamont for his lack of it. It is textbook and I think the Quinnipiac poll bears that out. Independents do disagree with Joe Lieberman on the war but are not willing to bet the farm on Lamont," McLean said...


Friday, November 17, 2006 1:27:00 PM  

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