Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Former Commandant General PX Kelley Speaks out


Don't Give Terrorists A Timetable

Letter to the Editor, Washington Post

Nov. 22, 2005, pg. 28

One of the most critical issues that members of Congress must address is
the wisdom of setting a schedule for our continued presence in Iraq. In
this regard, I would hope that they would look back to September 1983, when
both houses of Congress held War Powers Act hearings on our presence in
Beirut as part of a multinational force. I asked Congress then not to set a
schedule for our withdrawal from war-torn Lebanon. I said, "If the time is
too short, our enemies will wait us out; if it is too long, they will drive
us out."

My warning was ignored, and Congress passed a law that said that Marines
would stay for 18 more months. That in essence told the Iranians, the
Syrians, the Druze and the newly organized Hezbollah: "Put your plans on
hold for a year and a half."

On Oct. 23, 1983, they gave us their answer -- an 18-ton truck carrying the
equivalent of 18,000 pounds of TNT smashed into the headquarters of
Battalion Landing Team 2/8, and 241 of our most precious sons, who had done
nothing more than try to restore peace to a troubled country, were

My message to Congress is simple: Never tell your enemies your plans.
Ambiguity in war is essential.

My personal message to our enemies is equally simple: If you continue your
barbaric acts of terrorism, you eventually will be punished -- count on it.
Let me close by reminding all Americans of the mission given to Muslim
terrorists by Osama bin Laden in 2001: "By God's leave, we call on every
Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward to obey God's command to
kill the Americans and plunder their possessions wherever he finds them and
whenever he can."

Lest we forget!
P.X. Kelley, Arlington
The writer, a retired Marine Corps general, was commandant of the Corps
from 1983 to 1987.

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