Emmett Tyrrell

WASHINGTON -- Wherever they are I hope the authors of our Constitution are pondering the spectacle now bedazzling Capitol Hill. In the admirable governing document that the Founding Fathers fashioned they made the president "Commander-in Chief" of our military. Yet, according to the novel reading of the newly elected Democratic majority, the Founding Fathers denied the president the instrumentalities to be commander-in-chief. For more than two centuries, through wars large and small, American presidents have been equipping armies, deciding strategy and sending those armies into battle. Now, however, along come the Hon. Nancy Pelosi, the Hon. Harry Reid and the incomparable Hon. John P. Murtha with their exegesis of the Constitution.

Past presidents were in error. They acted unconstitutionally when they in their impertinence had their generals and admirals train and equip our forces. Those duties, according to this trinity of fantasists, were to be left to committees on Capitol Hill, even committees dominated by a president's opponents. Thus Speaker of the House Pelosi has charged Murtha to divine the conditions under which reinforcements will fight in Iraq. The Democrats approved of putting Lt. Gen. David Petraeus in charge of coalition forces in Iraq, but they do not approve of his strategy of "surge." Thus he will apparently have to sit tight until Murtha, an opponent of the war, decides how his troops will be armed and trained.

Does this sound a bit fla fla? Has any war ever been fought this way? What are the Democrats thinking? They are thinking of more electoral victories in 2008. If they can effectively hamstring our efforts in Iraq, they somehow think the American electorate will blame the whole thing on the Republicans. The worse the sectarian violence becomes, the better for Democratic prospects. The more Iraq descends into anarchy, the more likely the American people will whoop it up for the political party that, as the Washington Post has put it, linked "support for President Bush's war-funding request to strict standards of resting, training and equipping combat forces."

Frankly I think the Democrats are taking reckless chances with their fate. For a certitude, they are treating our military even more recklessly. The Democrats' political meddling in this war is obviously dragging it out and endangering our troops. In fact, the rancorous way they have moved from support of the war to opposition has had to encourage our enemies in Iraq and elsewhere.


Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
 
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