Cliff May

With a little effort, the congresswoman can remain ignorant of the likely consequences should Congress force the administration to withdraw American troops before their mission is completed. Major General Rick Lynch, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, told CNN’s Jamie McIntyre: “Those surge forces are giving us the capability we have now to take the fight to the enemy, and the enemy only responds to force and we now have that force. ... If those surge forces go away, that capability goes away … if you did that …you'd find the enemy regaining ground, re-establishing a sanctuary … Over time we can turn the area over to Iraqi security forces, and then we'll be ready to do something that looks like a withdrawal. … People keep wanting to put a timeframe on this. It’s just not possible.”

Surely you can see how possession of such information would make it more difficult for Congresswoman Boyda to do her job -- second-guessing military commanders? And she’s right that such information can divide Americans. It might even stimulate serious debate -- a frightening thought.

As House Majority Whip James Clyburn suggested this week, success in Iraq also would be awkward for those who have bet their political chips on American failure.

To be precise, Clyburn said that it would be “a real big problem for us” should General Petraeus return to Washington next month and present a positive report on progress in Iraq. Moderate Democrats might listen and decide that for America to be defeated in Iraq by al-Qaeda and Iranian-backed militias is neither inevitable nor in the national interest. These same moderate Democrats also might decide that, for them, the national interest trumps the partisan interest.

If Congressman Boyda were to hear that, she wouldn’t leave the room – they’d have to carry her out.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.