first want to thank The Chairman for inviting me back for my second
Iron Blog Battle. I have enjoyed this debate immensely and appreciate
the confidence he's had in me to give a good and informed fight. I
trust that I've repaid tht confidence and the hard work he's put out
(in some very trying circumstances) with a good debate here this week.
I also want to thank my opponent, the estimable Jay Bullock. I know he
has had to spend a good amount of time at the computer when it might
have been a lot more comfortable for him to be resting elsewhere. I
appreciate the time he's spent in crafting his arguments and in
forcing me to work very hard indeed to rebut them. I hope that I've
given him a battle worthy of the work he's invested. Lastly I want to
thank all of you. None of us debate simply because we want to hear the
sounds of our own voices. We want what we say to be heard, considered,
and weighed. I appreciate greatly that you all have taken the time to
read what I've had to say. Whether in the end you agree with me or
not, I know that you have at least given me the respect of considering
what I've written. I consider that valuable and am grateful to all of
you for it.
Now to the question: Are we winning in Iraq?
Well, of course we are. By any reasonable metric - several of which I
demonstrated to you in my First Rebuttal, we are defeating the
disaffected Baathists, the paid mercenaries from Syria and Iran, and
the al-Zarqawi terrorists who seek every day to convince us that we
are not. We kill them in almost unbelieveable numbers, we have largely
driven them from their places of sanctuary into smaller and smaller
areas where Coalition military encircles them while the Iraqi
government erodes their support inside the country with newly-found
political acumen. National election planning continues apace as Iraq
builds polling places and prepares for a January election - the first
free election in the country in over three decades.
You had only to watch the leader of Iraq - the man who heads a
government given unanimous legitimacy by the UN Security Council -
address a joint session of Congress to see a tangible sign of how we
are winning in Iraq.
Yet the war we fight is not won.
My opponent would have you believe that because we face setbacks -
some serious - that we are losing. He would quote opinion pieces from
news magazines and anti-war bloggers living in Iraq to bolster his
opinions. He points you to a National Intelligence Estimate that he
says he tends to believe aftre he's already told you how he's doubted
its veracity. He says the President had no plan but quotes the
analysis of a man who tells you that not only was there a plan but
also that the plan has changed to fit the rapidly-changing reality of
I've chosen largely not to use the opinions of others because I
beleive we've already heard far too many of them. Blogs far and wide
are chocked-full of people who are all too willing to give their own
opinions on someone else's opinions until it's nearly impossible to
tell what the original opinion was. I don't believe that is how we
ought to debate this issue. In my arguments, I've tried very hard to
give you news articles, statistical abstracts, and the words of the
people with their hands under the hood, so to speak, so that you can
decide for yourselves. I've shown you, using the words of the Iraqi
Prime Minister himself, that there is a plan and that it's being
implemented. I've shown you who the enemies are in Iraq and how we're
beating them tactically and for the minds of the Iraqi people. I've
demonstrated that we've won the first war and are winning the second
(which, I ought to note commenced the moment that the first shot from
the assorted rabble rang out against our troops and our soldiers, in
defense of themselves and the innocents around them, fired back.
Constitutional approval for our troops to defend themselves against
terrorists and assorted rabble? You don't need me to demostrate that
to you, do you?).
Much of my opponent's response to my arguments have been, "Oh yeah?
Well this critic disagrees with you!". And of course they do. Critics
disagree with people. That's the one and only thing in their job
description. Amd Jay's critics excel in their jobs. Their criticisms
flow like a river from the Internet and right into his arguments. But
they're not facts. They're opinions - no more valid than yours and
mine. But that's what he has.
I'm not saying that our fight in Iraq right now has been perfect. I'd
be foolish to do so. But I'm also not willing to equate a difficult
fight to losing which is exactly what Jay has done during this debate.
Because our soldiers are being killed, we are losing. Because parts of
Iraq are not secured, we are losing. Because we are spending a lot of
money to rebuild Iraq, we are losing. Because the whole of Iraq did
not erupt into Times Square on New Year's Eve, we are losing. What he
has not considered - what he can not
consider is that we are
losing soldiers because there is a concerted effort from two other
nations to ensure that the Iraqi government fails, that reviving the
spirit of a nation made insensate by decades of abuse and cruelty
takes more than a year, that convincing those who want back the
uncontested power they once had takes time and stubborn determination,
and that putting back together a country that has been ruined and
despoiled by a man who chose to enrich himself while children starved
and died can not be done cheaply. He can not consider these things
because if he does - if any of us do - we have to admit that just
perhaps what the President has been doing in Iraq for over a year may
make some sense. If he considers these things, he may find that he
will have to give the President some credit for the good things that
have happened in Iraq. My friends, I assure you that you will see the
sun moving backwards in the sky or John Kerry taking only one position
on an issue before you see that happen.
In early 2003, US forces, "unilaterally" accompanied by soldiers of
several other nations stormed back into Iraq with the goal of
defeating the Iraqi Army and deposing Saddam Hussein. We accomplished
that without question. Then we marshalled more allies to rebuild a
broken but hopeful Iraq and were saddened when some who had promised
to help us in this just cause decided to forego their promises. But we
continued on. It didn't take long, though, before others came to Iraq.
Bearing weapons given them by hostile neighbors and with pockets
bulging with money to buy anything they wanted, foreign fighters -
some who carried the names of Hezbollah and Hamas but some who merely
wanted their chance to shoot and kill Great Satans - found those
remnants of the prior regime intent on halting this new government and
taking back the power they once held. Soon, they found others who were
more than eager to help - terrorists who had operated with Saddam
Hussein's support under a man named al-Zarqawi. They wished to bring
their own war to Iraq, and so they have.
And so here we are. The question The first question The Chairman asked
was "are we winning the war?". I believe I've shown you that we've
already won one war and, in ways that matter a great deal, we are
winning the second.
My opponent would show you otherwise, but I believe he has failed. You
have not been deceived.
And still, we are winning.
-Jimmie Bise, Jr., Challenger.