More Republicans have defected to the withdraw-from-Iraq Democrats. They have read the polls that show falling support among the American people for the war in Iraq, and have concluded that continuing to support the war will cost them their Senate or House seat.
Is it possible that some of these Republicans have simply consulted their consciences and decided to abandon positions they have held since the beginning of the war? It is possible. But consider this: If the American people continued to support the war, does one reader of this column believe that one Republican defector would have in fact defected?
The sad truth is that moral courage is rare -- whether among private citizens or among political leaders. Even opponents of the war have to admit that, given the polls, it takes no courage for a politician to call for American withdrawal from Iraq. Whether or not you agree with those who want American forces to stay in Iraq, that is a far more courageous position in today's America -- just as, right or wrong, it admittedly took more courage for a politician to oppose the war when America deposed Saddam Hussein's regime.
So with the mainstream media and the Democrats -- often interchangeable entities -- relentlessly pushing for withdrawal from an increasingly unpopular war led by an unpopular president, it takes a lot of courage to argue against what would be the most costly defeat for America in its history. And how often in history did the right thing not take courage? And how often was the right position the most popular position?
Despite all this, however, in this matter victory will go to the courageous. If America stays in Iraq, America will win and then the courageous will surely be victorious. But the courageous will gain a victory even if they lose their fight for America staying in Iraq. For then the supporters of the American presence in Iraq will be quickly proven right as Iraq descends into ethnic cleansing, creates millions of refugees who destabilize nearby countries, emboldens Iran to directly enter Iraqi life, spawns a potential genocide, and produces the largest base for Islamic terror in the world. These are not the predictions of pro-war advocates. Every one of these consequences of an American withdrawal was acknowledged as likely in a recent New York Times editorial arguing for American withdrawal from Iraq.