Fifty-one years ago, then-Senator John F. Kennedy published "Profiles in Courage" – a chronicle of political figures whose convictions prompted them to adopt unpopular stances for what they perceived as the Nation’s larger good.
One of the finest contemporary examples of such courage is Senator John McCain’s steadfast advocacy of American success in Iraq and absolutely correct, if unfashionable, warnings of the costs of failure. To his credit, when asked about the possibly catastrophic price such a profile might inflict on his presidential ambitions, the Senator has declared, "I would rather lose an election than lose a war."
Fortunately, fifty U.S. Senators agreed with Sen. McCain last week and rejected their Democratic leadership’s efforts to begin forcing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq and hamstringing those who, for the moment, would remain in-country. The bad news is that there are many more discouraging profiles in evidence elsewhere including, notably the following:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Defense Appropriations Committee Chairman John Murtha are making a determined effort to buy the votes needed to pass legislation similar in its essentials to that just rejected by the Senate. Billions of dollars worth of domestic pork-barrel spending have been added to the war-funding supplemental in the hopes that enough Democrats, and perhaps a few Republicans, will be induced to agree to surrender Iraq by a date certain.
One wonders what John Kennedy would make of such a spectacle. He was, after all, the man who declared so movingly in his inaugural address in January 1961: "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Would he fail to appreciate the dangers associated with sending exactly the opposite message to today’s Islamofascist adversaries – enemies who are, in some respects, even more threatening than the international communists of Kennedy’s day?
The newly announced modus vivendi between the Islamofascist Palestinian organization Hamas and its rival for power, Fatah, has been well-received in parts of Europe and the United Nations. Some now seek to deal directly with the Palestinians’ resulting "unity" government, despite the fact that the lowest-common-denominator of this unification seems to be an undisguised commitment to destroy a country that is not only, as JFK put it, of one of our "friends," but a key ally in a dangerous part of the world: Israel.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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