Loading...
BYH ECU Trustees. Of course you were not told about the lawsuit against Vidant. Harry Smith and Bill Roper control it...

Great nations don't quit wars before they prevail

Marc_Thiessen

Marc Thiessen

Loading…

Sunday, February 10, 2019

"Great nations do not fight endless wars," President Trump declared in his State of the Union address. It was a line that could have been delivered by President Barack Obama, who in 2015 memorably said, "I do not support the idea of endless war."

Just a few days before Trump's address, his own party delivered the president a stinging rebuke when Senate Republicans passed a resolution opposing his Syrian and Afghan withdrawals by an overwhelming bipartisan 68-to-23 vote. Trump's defenders say: That's just the foreign policy establishment advocating "forever war." When, they ask, will these wars end? When will we be able to declare victory and go home?

These are fair questions, and they deserve serious answers.

In traditional wars, defining victory is easy. Victory comes when the enemy surrenders and lays down its arms. But this is not traditional war. We are not fighting nation-states with defined borders and armies, navies and air forces. We are fighting radical Islamist terrorists who are engaged in what Osama bin Laden called "a war of destiny between infidelity and Islam."

There will be no signing ceremony on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri. They will never lay down their arms. In this war, victory for the United States is every day that passes without a terrorist attack on American soil. And that daily victory is made possible because the men and women of the U.S. military are hunting the enemy in faraway lands.

America's enemies have a very clear definition of victory. For them, victory comes when we give up the fight before they do. We know this because they have told us so. The 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his CIA interrogator "Americans don't realize we do not need to defeat you militarily; we only need to fight long enough for you to defeat yourself by quitting." That is how the terrorists see Obama's withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 and Trump's planned withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan: America defeating itself by quitting.

It is understandable that, after 18 years, Americans want the war to end. But what we want is irrelevant. We don't get to decide unilaterally that the war is over. The enemy gets a vote. Just because we have tired of fighting doesn't mean that they have.

Here is the hard truth: We don't get to choose when the war ends, but we do get to choose where it is fought. It can either be fought over there, in the deserts of Syria and the mountains of Afghanistan, or it can be fought over here — on American streets and in American cities, as it was on Sept. 11, 2001. It's up to us.

Trump deserves enormous credit for taking the gloves off in the fight against the terrorists. He was absolutely correct when he declared in the State of the Union address, "When I took office, ISIS controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria. Today, we have liberated virtually all of that territory from the grip of these bloodthirsty monsters." But the Islamic State is not defeated. It still has tens of thousands of fighters under arms and, according to one estimate by the Institute for the Study of War, as much as $400 million it smuggled out of Iraq, money that can be used to sustain its movement and plan attacks across the world.

In Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence estimates there are about 20 terrorist groups — including al-Qaeda and the Islamic State affiliate known as Islamic State Khorasan, or IS-K — who would immediately gain an uncontested sanctuary from which to plan new attacks if America withdraws. On Jan. 28, the New York Times reported that a 2017 intelligence assessment, renewed last year, "says a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan would lead to an attack on the United States within two years."

Right now, the U.S. military has its boot on the terrorists' necks. They are focused on survival, not on launching faraway attacks. Take that boot away, though, and the terrorists will get up, dust themselves off, regroup, rebuild and go back to trying to kill Americans in the United States.

In his address, Trump praised the heroism of the men who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. "They did not know if they would survive the hour," he said. "They did not know if they would grow old. But they knew that America had to prevail."

The same is true today. Great nations do not quit before they prevail.

Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen served as a speechwriter for President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

May 25, 2019

President Trump lost a preliminary round Monday in his court battle with House Democrats when a federal judge ruled his accounting firm must obey a subpoena to provide his financial records to Congress.

Trump called the 41-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta "crazy" and said he planned…

lambro2

May 25, 2019

 

A group of health care stakeholders met in Raleigh last week for a first-ever “listen and learn” session focused on two questions: How much should we spend on health care and how should these dollars be advocated?

Dr. Bobby DuBois, chief science officer and executive vice…

Tom Campbell.jpg

May 23, 2019

Joe Biden is aiming his campaign pitch directly at the sensible center of American politics. "Compromise itself is not a dirty word," he asserted during his announcement speech in Philadelphia. "Consensus is not a weakness. It's how our founders down the road thought we would govern."

As a…

Steve and Cokie Roberts

May 23, 2019

From now on, the Trump-Russia affair — the investigation that dominated the first years of Donald Trump's presidency — will be divided into two parts: before and after the release of Robert Mueller's report. Before the special counsel's findings were made public last month, the…

Byron York.jpg

May 22, 2019

Presidential contenders are in a battle to out give one another. Sen. Elizabeth Warren proposes a whopping $50,000 per student college loan forgiveness. Sen. Bernie Sanders proposes free health care for all Americans plus illegal aliens. Most Democratic presidential candidates promise free stuff…

Walter Williams

May 21, 2019

Last week, North Carolina became the first state to file a lawsuit against Juul Labs Inc., maker of a top-selling electronic cigarette, contending that it targets underage youths with its products. Others may follow.

The last decade has seen a rise in the use of electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs,…

May 21, 2019

Not that long ago, North Carolina Democrats had the "big tent" party — an eclectic group that shared common values but disagreed on many individual issues.

Moderate — sometimes even conservative — rural Democrats in the legislature worked alongside big city liberals. The moderates…

Colin Campbell

May 21, 2019

Later this week, North Carolina will renew its partnership with a little-known country that's been bringing out the best in our state's people for more than two decades.

North Carolina's National Guard has been helping the country's defense forces throughout this time. Librarians from Wilmington…

David Jarmul

May 20, 2019

North Carolina appropriates less taxpayer money to state colleges and universities in real terms than it did before the onset of the Great Recession. Tuition has risen markedly and now accounts for a larger share of total revenue. But our state remains one of the most generous in the country when…

john hood.jpg

May 20, 2019

How many people have the ability to manipulate the stock market? One, and this isn’t a trick question. We’re watching how President Trump’s statements about slapping tariffs on China one day, or the great headway he’s making on a China trade deal the next day can tank the…

eleanorclift.jpg.jpg
249 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 25
        Next Page»   Last Page»