The Democrats' long-entrenched position, partisan interests and ideological inclinations militate against them changing their mind on Iraq, regardless of the facts on the ground.
First, please consider honestly what the Democrats' reaction will be if in September, Gen. David Petraeus reports that our troop surge in Iraq is yielding unambiguously successful results against the enemy and in training Iraqi security forces?
Do you believe there is any realistic possibility Democrats will rejoice at the news, applaud the efforts of our troops and retreat from their demands that we begin immediate troop withdrawal? (Their reaction to the surge's success so far give us some clues, does it not?)
If I am correct that they will not -- and I would be most happy to be wrong -- why do you think that is?
One major reason, of course, is that they cannot stand President Bush nor bear the prospect of history vindicating his stubborn determination. They have staked the last four years on discrediting him on Iraq and know that history cannot vindicate him without repudiating them.
Their repudiation would decrease their chances of electoral victory in 2008. Can you imagine all the capital they will have wasted on their efforts to destroy President Bush and undermine our mission in Iraq?
They shouldn't have the economy as an issue, including the deficit, since Bush's tax cuts are leading to fulfillment of his promise to cut the deficit in half. They'll still trot out class and race warfare and push national health care. But a consistently strong economy, apparent success in Iraq and an earned reputation for softness on national defense and security during time of war will be formidable hurdles.
But I submit that their unremitting hostility toward Bush and their partisan interests are not the only reasons for their intractable opposition to the war in Iraq. The Democrats want us out of Iraq, not necessarily because they don't think we can win, but perhaps because they fear we can, because they don't believe our cause there is just.
Not that I need further proof for these suppositions beyond my observations, but I received an e-mail recently from an articulate, passionate liberal saying he had no desire to wave the American flag because of his contempt for our policies in Iraq, which has resulted in the unnecessary and unjust waste of lives and resources. The e-mailer's sentiments were nothing exceptional, but fairly typical of the antiwar position.
We know, because they say so, that they don't believe Iraq is part of the war on terror. To them, it is truly a civil war that we have largely caused by our unjust ouster of Saddam and our prolonged, provocative "occupation" of that country. The sectarian strife and violent opposition to the burgeoning Iraqi government is being caused by our "occupation," as opposed to Al Qaeda and Iran, and will probably end upon our withdrawal.
They believe either the terrorists are so few in number as not to constitute a global threat or that they are only directing their terrorism against us because of our policies, a matter on which they seem to sympathize with the terrorists.
They don't understand that people who engage in terrorism don't need provocation, that their terrorism is ideologically and theologically based and that it will not stop or be redirected away from the United States no matter what accommodating policy changes we make.
We are the great Satan that represents a cultural, ideological, theological, political and military obstacle to their goal of worldwide domination. Unless we submit or convert, they will not relent; indeed their theology commands them not to, no matter how much we tailor our policies to accommodate them.
Democrats obviously don't believe our precipitous withdrawal from Iraq will strengthen the terrorists' ability to wage war against us. Curiously, however, key antiwar Democrats are now saying they would not recommend a complete withdrawal from Iraq, but would keep a residual force there to prevent Al Qaeda from using it as a safe haven.
Sorry to break the news to them, but preventing Al Qaeda from establishing a permanent beachhead in Iraq for terrorist operations is one of the main reasons for the surge. They will be able to operate out of Iraq unless we keep sufficient forces there until the Iraqi security forces are able to assume primary responsibility for maintaining the security and protecting the new government -- however long that takes.
The Democratic leadership simply will not be on board to help us protect ourselves against this global jihadist threat as long as they grossly underestimate its nature and scope and until they subordinate their partisan interests to the national interest. Sadly, President Bush will have to persevere without their help and over their opposition.