Austin Bay

On Harry Reid's planet, America's enemies need only have one objective: to murder, in a sensational, media-magnifying manner, enough of their own citizens to discomfit and distress Harry Reid Democrats.

I distinguish Harry Reid Democrats from Harry Truman Democrats. Between these two Harrys spreads a vast moral chasm that 60 years of history do not fully explain.

"Give 'em Hell" Truman possessed a large quotient of common sense, as well as the courage of his convictions.

Assess Reid for yourself. Last week, the Senate majority leader said, "Now I believe myself ... that this war is lost, and that the surge is not accomplishing anything, as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday."

But within minutes after declaring Iraq lost, Reid returned to the mikes to backtrack. "The (Iraq) war can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically, and the president needs to come to that realization," Reid said,

It's lost, but can only be won, if if what? If "Give 'em Hooey" Harry Reid is in charge?

How refreshing if Reid had the courage of his defeatist convictions, except his convictions aren't convictions, they are postures. Reid tosses a line to Democrat defeatists, then when he discovers his mistake, edges toward reality with an oily pirouette.

There are (and have been) four lines of operation in Iraq: security (military operations and building Iraqi defense capabilities), governmental (political participation and structure building), information (intel, media and political perception) and economic (economic development and infrastructure creation).

Our media tend to favor sensationalism, not contextualism. (If contextualism wasn't a word, it is now.) Reid's attempted political slither relies on "tyranny of the immediate" reporting and headline preference for violence. He's pretending his belated qualifications say something new. They don't. Mayhem and military macho are hot, fast stories. Economic development and infrastructure are incremental and slow.

Ironically, Reid's rhetorical retreat unintentionally acknowledges the hard slog of economic development and political stabilization. However, the man and those for whom he speaks lack the key traits required to achieve those goals: determined will and gutty perseverance.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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