Several months ago I asked what the Iraq war effort might look like today if those on the left and in the media had conducted themselves differently. I said that when the Iraqi public, including the terrorists there, are given the impression that U.S. politicians have lost the will to fight, there must be an impact on their behavior. Common sense told me that it could not help but influence their morale and belief in the cause and their likelihood of success, as well as, in the case of the terrorists, their ability to recruit.
Specifically I asked if it were clear to the Iraqi people that politicians in D.C. were committed to finishing the mission in Iraq, would the attitude of the people there be different? I wondered if politicians and anti-war activists had not accused our own troops of engaging in torture, and worse, would world opinion, and specifically the opinion of the Iraqi people, be different? I expressed my hope that one day that debate, over what that impact might be, would take place.
It appears to me, after reading some of the testimony given by General Petraeus this week, that such a debate is now underway.
During Gen. Petraeus’ confirmation hearing testimony, Joe Lieberman asked the general if Senate resolutions condemning the President’s proposed new policy in Iraq “would give the enemy some comfort.” Patraeus said it would, answering, “That’s correct, sir.”
Hugh Hewitt addressed what it means to “encourage the enemy” saying it “means to increase their will to fight on, and their courage to do so even in the face of the arrival of reinforcements. It also means to increase –substantially—the likelihood of redoubled and retripled efforts on their part to kill American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”
Hewitt went on to say “Democrats are willing to encourage the enemy if it means hurting George W. Bush. They are willing to disregard the advice of the general they have just sent to do a mission if it serves their political purposes.” That is a pretty bold accusation to make and not one I am eager to embrace, but everything I have seen over the past three years tells me that Hewitt is right and that the behavior did not begin with the current resolution.