Jonah Goldberg

Another Democratic dodge is the demand for a "political solution" in Iraq, the preferred talking point among Democrats these days. This is either childishly naive or reprehensibly dishonest. No serious person thinks that peace can be secured without a political solution. The question is how to get one. And nobody - and I mean nobody - has made a credible case that the Iraqis can get from A to B without more bloodshed, with or without American support.

Saying we need a political solution is as helpful as saying "give peace a chance." Peace requires more than pie-eyed verbiage. In the real world, peace has no chance until the people who want to give death squads another shot have been dispatched from the scene. It reminds me of the liberal obsession in the 1980s with getting inner-city gangs to settle their differences with break-dance competitions. If only Muqtada al-Sadr would moonwalk to peace!

Wednesday, Bush finally acknowledged what Americans already knew: The war has not gone well. But he also acknowledged what few Democrats are willing to admit: If we leave - i.e. lose - it will be a disaster, a geo-strategic calamity for America and possibly a genocidal one for the Iraqis. One moral argument against the Iraq war in 2003 was that it would create an enormous humanitarian crisis in the form of refugees spilling over the borders, which in turn would destabilize the region. That didn't happen. But it would be the most likely result of a U.S. withdrawal now. Yet that's a risk the antiwar crowd is suddenly willing to take.

Bush declared that "victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship. ... A democratic Iraq will not be perfect." This sober, stubborn emphasis on victory puts Bush at odds with much of official Washington. He wisely refused to abdicate his war responsibilities to lead to the Iraq Study Group and instead launched a broader effort to find a way to win in Iraq - a goal former Secretary of State James Baker explicitly dismissed.

Bush came up with the "surge" plan. Will it work? Nobody knows. But the one thing the American people know about George W. Bush is that he wants to win the war. What the Democrats believe is anybody's guess.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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