Today on Fox News, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow defended the President’s Initial Benchmark Assessment Report, which argues that the administration is making “progress” in Iraq.
Snow attacked proposals to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, claiming:
To walk out of Iraq right now would plant a seed that ultimately would lead to destabilization there, hundreds of thousands of deaths, loss of our influence in the region, would create instability throughout the Middle East throughout East Asia, throughout Europe. And sooner or later it would come to our shores, to a shopping mall near you.
But this doomsday scenario is already playing out in Iraq, worsened by the President’s misguided policies:
– Since Bush announced his surge in January, violence has skyrocketed. Close to 600 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died since January. Military assessments suggest that “the U.S. military’s plan to secure Baghdad against a rising insurgency is falling far short of its goal.” A recent bombing killed over 150 in Baghdad, “one of the deadliest single bombings, if not the deadliest, since the 2003 invasion.”
– The war in Iraq has already destabilized the Middle East and exported terrorism throughout the world. “The rate of fatal terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups, and the number of people killed in those attacks, increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks.”
– The U.S. has already “lost influence” in the region. In a poll of 18 countries, the percentage of “saying that the United States is having a mainly positive influence in the world” dropped 11 points from two years ago, down to just 29 percent. Just 17 percent believe the United States is a stabilizing force in the Middle East.
Furthermore, national security experts recently called the possibility of terrorists following us home after leaving Iraq “remote at best.” Redeploying U.S. forces out of Iraq as quickly as possible would, in fact, enable the United States to better counter the global effects of Bush’s failed strategy.