Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said the difference in how he would have prosecuted the war in Iraq is: "I would have planned." Yes, the invasion of Iraq was the usual unplanned, spur-of-the-minute thing that took 14 months.
Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., noted for the record that when he voted for war with Iraq, "I said at the time that it was critical for us to have a plan. ... This president has no plan of any kind that I can see." Maybe it's that Beatlemania mop-top that's blocking Edwards' view.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn. -- the one Democratic presidential candidate too conservative for Barbra Streisand -- said that President Bush gave the American people "a price tag, not a plan." He said that "we in Congress must demand a plan." You know, like that incredibly detailed plan the Democrats have in place to spend $400 billion buying prescription drugs for elderly millionaires.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., said: "The administration had a plan to fight the war, but it had no plan to win the peace." Kennedy's idea of "a plan" consists of choosing a designated driver before heading out for the evening.
Interviewing Vice President Dick Cheney on "Meet the Press" about a month ago, Tim Russert echoed the theme, asking: "What is our plan for Iraq? How long will the 140,000 American soldiers be there? How many international troops will join them? And how much is this going to cost?" When will we be there, Daddy? Can I go to the bathroom? Are we there yet?
The same questions were asked of FDR over and over again by the American people after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. "How much will this cost?" "My husband's a sailor -- how long will he be gone?" "What's your exit strategy, you warmonger?" Wait -- no. My mistake. That didn't happen.
The Democrats' incessant demand for a "plan" tends to suggest that there is something called "The Plan," which would magically prevent bad things from ever happening -- especially something as totally unexpected as violence in the Middle East. Violence in the Middle East constantly comes as a bolt out of the blue to liberals.
Bush said deposing Saddam Hussein and building a democracy in Iraq was an essential part of the war on terrorism. He did not say that invading Iraq would instantly end all Muslim violence and rainy days that make liberals blue. We're at war with Islamic lunatics. They enjoy blowing people up. What further insights do liberals have to impart about this war?
A war is not as predictable as, say, a George Clooney movie (although generally more entertaining). Historian Stephen Ambrose described Gen. Dwight Eisenhower's genius as a soldier, noting that "he often said that in preparing for battle, plans were essential, but that once the battle was joined, plans were useless." Transforming a blood-soaked police state dotted with mass graves and rape rooms into a self-governing republic might take slightly longer than this week's makeover on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
This is not the first time an evil tyrant was deposed only for bloody elements of his regime to remain. For example, it's been nearly five months since Howell Raines was removed as editor of The New York Times. No quagmire there! What is Bill Keller's "plan" to turn The New York Times around, and how long will it take?
The U.S. military has had considerably more success in turning Iraq around than liberals have had in turning the ghettos around with their 40-year "War on Poverty." So far, fewer troops have been killed by hostile fire since the end of major combat in Iraq than civilians were murdered in Washington, D.C., last year (239 deaths in Iraq compared to 262 murders in D.C.). How many years has it been since we declared the end of major U.S. combat operations against Marion Barry's regime? How long before we just give up and pull out of that hellish quagmire known as Washington, D.C.?
The Democrats' urgent need for an "exit strategy" apparently first arose sometime after 1993, when Bill Clinton sent all those U.S. soldiers to Bosnia -- who are still there. The Democrats' conception of a "plan" is like the liberal fantasy that there's a room somewhere full of unlimited amounts of "free" money that we could just give to teachers and hospitals and poor people and AIDS sufferers and the homeless if only the bad, greedy Republicans would give us the key to that wonderful room. Republicans should claim the "plan" is in that room. In a lockbox.
It's interesting that after we've finally gotten liberals to give up on seven decades of trying to plan an economy, now they want to plan a war. Extra-credit question for the class: Comparing a peacetime economy with a war, which do you think is more likely to shoot back at the planners and require subsequent readjustments? No, no, not the usual hands from the eager YAFers in the front row. Are there any liberals in the back rows who want to take a stab at answering this one? Paul Krugman?
Needless to say, the Democrats have no actual plan of their own, unless "surrender" counts as a plan. They just enjoy complaining about every bombing, every attack from Muslim terrorists, every mishap.
Back in the 1870s, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman told a group of graduating cadets: "There are many of you here who think that war is all glory. Well, war is all hell." We didn't start it, but we're going to win it.