Since the American Revolution, there have always been naysayers, doubters, fellow travelers and willing or duped enablers of America's enemies. There have been politicians, academics, clergy and journalists who claimed that U.S. foreign policy, whether promoted by a Democratic or Republican president, was the wrong policy and a different one should be tried. Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt had strong opposition to their conduct of the Civil War and World War II. Harry Truman left office with record low approval ratings. Those presidents eventually won favor from historians and most Americans because they stuck to their guns - figuratively and literally - and were proved right.
No one can predict whether the policy in Iraq and against terrorism by the Bush-Cheney administration will similarly be proven correct. We may not know until both men are long gone from politics and possibly many years after they have left this earth. This is a world war unlike any we have ever fought and it cannot be fought like we fought other wars.
The latest National Intelligence Estimate concludes that al-Qaida is continuing to focus on high profile political, economic and infrastructure targets in America for the purpose of causing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, economic aftershocks and fear. Democrats argue that Iraq has emboldened them and served as a recruiting tool. But American troops were not in Iraq on Sept. 11, 2001, or in 1993 when the World Trade Center was first hit. Numerous other attacks against American forces and interests occurred before the Iraq War. Al-Qaida needs no excuse for recruiting and killing Americans.
There will be plenty of time for debate in September when the report on the effectiveness of the surge comes from Gen. David Petraeus. Do Democrats fear it will be a positive report and so they are doing their best to undermine it now? Has our politics become so cynical that some would prefer defeat for political advantage than victory because it might aid the "other side," meaning Republicans?
If so, God help us.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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