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October 12, 2007

Would the Marines leave the central front in the war on terror?
Posted by Max Bergmann

The answer is of course not. The Marines want to be where the rubber meets the road and to them that is in Afghanistan, not Iraq.

Right-wingers have been trying to spin this story by claiming that the Marines are leaving Anbar because they have already “succeeded.” I am not sure what is more ridiculous - thinking that we have succeeded or thinking that it would be okay for the Marine Corps too leave Iraq if they were succeeding.

If “success” had been achieved leaving should be absolutely unacceptable. You don’t stop what’s working. As Andrew Bacevich explains, “It is one of the oldest principles of generalship: when you find an opportunity, exploit it. Where you gain success, reinforce it.” What you do not do is take your foot off the gas by decreasing troop levels or taking out the Marines. To Bacevich “this defies logic.”

While wing-nuts maybe so deluded, Secretary Gates and the leadership of the Marine Corps are not. So why would the Marine Corps abandon the President’s central front on the war on terror?

While there is clearly a basic logistics dimension argument, easing the logistical situation is likely not reason enough to make this change after four years. One plausible explanation is that the Marines read the writing on the wall – that our situation in Iraq is ultimately irrecoverable and untenable. So instead of playing second fiddle to the Army in Iraq, why not take the lead in Afghanistan. And after our inevitable departure from Iraq, the Marines will have their own theater and will be the sole ground force engaged in the “war on terror.” Or maybe they are just sick of working under a sycophant Army General.

Whatever the reason one thing is clear they aren’t leaving Anbar because the job there is done.


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Sure, a lot of liberals think that Afghanistan is the "good war" but the US already won that war.

President Bush, Jun 15, 2004: "Coalition forces, including many brave Afghans, have brought America, Afghanistan and the world its first victory in the war on terror, . . "

The Enemy says that Iraq is where the US should be.

President Bush, Jun 28, 2005: Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory, or misery and humiliation."

So the Marines seem to be disregarding Bush and his family friend and want to move to . . . the poppy fields of Afghanistan! I guess that they haven't read Kipling: When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains, and the women come out to cut up what remains, jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your gawd like a soldier.