Values Vote Leaders Sign Declaration Against Iraq Withdrawal

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A group of 44 conservative leaders released on Monday a Declaration warning Americans of the catastrophic consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq .

The Declaration is sponsored by the Forgotten American Coalition. While the Declaration's signers include some defense/foreign policy conservatives, most are recognized Values Voter leaders -- social conservatives who rarely speak out on the War on Terrorism. The include Don Wildmon (American Family Association), Pat Robertson ("700 Club" and Regent University), Paul Weyrich (Free Congress Foundation), John Hagee (Christians United for Israel ), Lou Sheldon (Traditional Values Coalition), Tim and Beverly LaHaye (Concerned Women for America) and Phil Burress (Citizens for Community Values).

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is the Coalition's chairman. He noted: "Many of the signers -- who lead organizations with millions of members -- are usually associated with issues like abortion, marriage and the family. Still, they feel compelled to speak out against a cut-and-run strategy being pushed by isolationists inside and beyond the confines of Congress."

Don Feder , a member of the steering committee of the Forgotten American Coalition observed: "By signing this declaration, religious conservatives are saying: 'Yes, we care about marriage, the family and the unborn. But we also care about national security, the morale of our servicemen and women and the war on terrorism.' The left, which thinks neo-cons are the only ones on the right opposing an Iraq withdrawal, had better think again."

Quoting from the Declaration: "The Iraq war must be seen in the broader context of Islamo-fascism's war on America and Western Civilization... . If we pull out now, or announce a timetable for withdrawal, the region will be destabilized and Israel further endangered. Iran and Syria , two legs of the axis of evil, will become far more powerful..."

"The Iraqis who supported our presence and trusted America will be subjected to vicious reprisals by fanatics who have demonstrated their utter ruthlessness..."

"It took 20 years to recover from the demoralizing experience of our failure in Vietnam... . How will we convince young Americans to enlist in the next effort to combat terrorism, if -- by withdrawing now -- we tacitly admit that more than 3,600 of our service men and women died in vain?"

The Declaration -- The Tragic Consequences of A U.S. Withdrawal From Iraq -- is below, along with a complete list of signers.

The Iraq Declaration is the first project of the Forgotten American Coalition (FAC). The first 10 signers are member of the FAC Steering Committee.

As leaders of the conservative movement and concerned citizens, the undersigned wish to make our fellow Americans aware of the tragic consequences of a precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Iraq .

Historically, conservatives have always been cautious about foreign intervention and the concept of nation-building. Moreover, conservatives have always viewed national security as the principal reason for foreign intervention.

Still, regardless of what one thinks of the president's decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein and to try to bring representative government to Iraq , we have been engaged there for the past four years at a cost of over 3,600 American lives.

Our military leaders warn us that a withdrawal under fire would be a geopolitical disaster.

The Iraq War must be seen in the broader context of Islamo-fascism's war on America and Western Civilization. It is one front in a global conflict fought from Europe and the Middle East to Africa , the Balkans, the Indian Subcontinent and, finally, to the streets of our cities.

If we pull out now or announce a timetable for withdrawal, the region will be destabilized and Israel further endangered. Iran and Syria , two legs of the axis of evil, will become far more powerful. Reformers in the region will be correspondingly weakened -- perhaps fatally so.

A Middle East in chaos could result in the disruption of energy supplies, a plummeting dollar and a devastated U.S. economy.

9/11 was in part precipitated by the perception of American weakness and lack of determination. An Iraq withdrawal before our mission is accomplished will convince the terrorists and their state-sponsors that we indeed are the proverbial paper tiger.

The terrorists, including Al Qaeda (which is currently fighting in Iraq ), will make us bleed every step of the way out of Iraq . Then, sensing the tide of history running in their favor, they will attack us with renewed vigor on every front.

Those Iraqis who supported our presence and trusted America will be subjected to vicious reprisals by fanatics who have repeatedly demonstrated their utter ruthlessness. A bloodbath resembling South Vietnam and Cambodia in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal isn't hard to imagine. That is a terrible burden for America to carry into the future.

After undercutting foreign leaders who sided with America, we will look in vain for allies for the next confrontation with militant Islam.

It took 20 years to recover from the demoralizing experience of our failure in Vietnam. How long will the post-Iraq malaise last? How will we convince young Americans to enlist in the next effort to combat terrorism, if -- by withdrawing now -- we tacitly admit that more than 3,600 of our serviceman and women died in vain?

What will we say to the veterans, the returning servicemen and the families who lost loved ones in Iraq ? We accepted your sacrifices but lacked the determination to back you up?

The main opposition to our involvement in Iraq comes from the isolationist left, which wants more than withdrawal on that front.

It also wants a pull-out from Afghanistan , negotiations with the Iranian and Syrian regimes, the abandonment of Israel and a "dialogue" with Hamas and Hezbollah. An Iraq withdrawal could leave the surrender lobby in charge of U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future.

When it comes to a threat to our national security, the easy course is usually the wrong course. Imagine if, a month after D-Day, Washington announced that if victory wasn't secured by the winter, we would begin withdrawing American forces from Europe .

The casualty figures concern us too. But which course is most likely to save American lives in the longrun -- not to mention protect our freedom -- appeasement in the form of a precipitous withdrawal or staying the course?

We believe the latter is the only sensible policy, and urge our fellow Americans not to succumb to defeatism. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur, who led American forces in the Pacific during World War II," In war, there is no substitute for victory."

SOURCE Forgotten American Coalition



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