More words of wisdom from Joe Lieberman

Read ’em here. Snippets:

I WANT to say a few things about what I believe is on the line in Iraq, about how we are conducting ourselves here in Washington — and how what happens here affects what will happen there.

The most important debate going on here about the war is between those focused on withdrawal of our forces regardless of conditions on the ground, and the rest of us — who believe that our goal is not to withdraw but to win, so we can leave with the mission accomplished.

As I see it, the war, which arguably began as a “war of choice,” has become a “war of necessity” we can’t afford to lose.

The costs of victory will be high in American lives lost and American money spent. But the costs of defeat would be disastrous. They include: the collapse of the new Iraqi regime, civil war, regional war, a victory for Zarqawi and al Qaeda (which will embolden them to attack both other Arab countries and our homeland), the rollback of democracy in the region and the painful realization that the lives of American soldiers who have died in Iraq were given in vain.

And also a heavy cost of lost opportunities: We are in Iraq not just to defeat the terrorists — not even mostly to defeat the terrorists. We are there to provide the security for self-government by the Iraqis — the creation of a modern, open, thriving state in this historic center of the Arab and Islamic worlds. If we accept defeat in Iraq, we will have lost the opportunity to create a larger victory in the so-called war “for the hearts and minds” in the Islamic world.

It is probably these enormous costs of failure that explain why so few in Congress have joined the calls for a preset, timed withdrawal.

Read the whole thing (reg. req.).

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