Thursday, May 22, 2008

Petraeus: Troops in Iraq Counters Iran Influence

I have contended for some time (see here and here) that the worse thing we can do to Iran is to create a free and democratic Iraq. Here's soon to be head of CentCom General David Petraeus on the same subject:

Army Gen. David Petraeus, who is to assume control of U.S. forces
in the Middle East, says that a continued U.S. presence in Iraq is more likely
to blunt, rather than inflame, Iran's growing influence in the region.
In a
46-page question-and-answer document submitted in advance of his confirmation
hearing on Thursday, Petraeus says the U.S. must work on developing more
leverage — primarily diplomatic or economic — to pressure Tehran to abandon its
nuclear program. But, he notes, the U.S. must retain military strike options as
a "last resort."


When asked by the Senate panel whether a lengthy deployment in Iraq
only strengthens Iran's influence in the region, Petraeus responded that the
opposite was true. It "has the potential to counter malign Iranian influence
against the government of Iraq, build common cause in the region and expose the
extent of malign Iranian activities to the world," he wrote.

I fear that many of the American Left actually want us to attack Iran. How can this be from a so-called Peace movement, you ask? We need only look to the Vietnam War, and President Nixon's invasion of Cambodia for the answer. While this attempt to sever North Vietnamese supply lines entering into the South gave the US Troops a short term tactical advantage, it so embolden the cause of the Anti-War Movement in the US that we were were soon forced completely out of the war by a weary and indignant public.

There is a rule in warfare of the dangers of over-extending a victorious army, examples being Hitler invading Russia in 1941, the Japanese attack on Midway in 1942, and MacArthur marching too close to the Chinese border after the victorious Inchon landing in 1950. Thankfully, President Bush understands the lessons of history, and what some may criticize as his stubbornness in many cases, at least on this issue he is exactly right to hold back.