As noted over in the Corner, Bill Bennett wants the Republican field to come out and make clear their thoughts on the current debate in Iraq right now. (To his credit, of sorts, I think we know where Ron Paul stands.) I was delighted to receive this e-mail from a .mil address:
I am an American officer currently stationed in Kurdish Iraq. You mentioned women being trained at a Peshmerga base near (if it’s the one I’m thinking of, then it’s actually within the city limits of) Sulaymaniyah. I may have visited this base, and have visited quite a few.
Americans, you see, are rock stars here. Why? Because for decades the Kurds have been hunted and killed by everyone around them; the Iraqis, Syrians, Turks and Iranians. Everybody hates them. But the Americans came to their aid. So Kurds love Americans.
I am one of two Americans embedded with the Iraqi military academy near here. We are the only Americans in a 40 mile radius. I am not on a base, but am surrounded by hundreds of Peshmerga.
We go shopping in the city (population: 1.2 million) and walk around freely. Everyone who sees us waves, shakes our hands, or asks us to take a photo with them. We spent several hours walking around Freedom Park, which was Saddam’s detention (and murder) facility before 1992. The Kurds turned it into a garden park.
The Kurds never want the Americans to leave; actually, they want us to build permanent bases here. Why? Because they know if we’re here, no one will attack them anymore. All they want to do is live without being exterminated.
If those who support the war can get our friends on the left side of the aisle to recognize that the work we’re doing over there is important, that it is a good thing, and that we should not abandon communities like the ones described in the e-mail above, the debate will be more than halfway won. At that point, we would no longer be arguing over what the goal should be (U.S. troops out as soon as possible vs. a stable Iraq), but the best way to get there.