"I am convinced, based on everything I have read, it won't be a hell of a lot worse than it is now." -- Rep. John P. Murtha
Jack (redeploy to Okinawa) Murtha was speaking of Iraq after an American pullout. He's not worried. Nor are most Democrats now urging America to flee Iraq. There really ought to be a name for the "it can't get worse" fallacy. For the moment, let's just call it Democratomyopia. It has a long pedigree.
One thinks of March 1975. Liberal New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis scoffed at warnings of a coming bloodbath in Southeast Asia. "Some will find the whole bloodbath debate unreal. What future possibility could be more terrible than the reality of what is happening to Cambodia now?" Most Democrats agreed with Lewis.
Six weeks later, the last Americans lifted off in helicopters from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon, leaving hundreds of panicked South Vietnamese immediately behind and an entire region to the mercy of the communists. The scene was similar in Phnom Penh. The torture and murder spree that followed left millions of corpses. The psychological effect on America -- despite dozens of declarations that the Vietnam Syndrome is dead -- has not yet been transcended.
Democrats like Murtha and Rep. Lynn Woolsey ("I believe, if we leave, the region will pull together") represent the myopia school. But to be fair to the Democrats, there is another perspective; call it the TDB school, best represented by Rep. David Obey. Asked by the Los Angeles Times whether he didn't think Iraq might experience violence akin to that in Bosnia during the 1990s, Obey responded, "I wouldn't be surprised if it's horrendous. The only hope for the Iraqis is their own damned government, and there's slim hope for that."
And then, a perennial: The diplomacy first, last and always school. Sen. Carl Levin, co-sponsor of a withdrawal resolution, calls for the United Nations to appoint an Iraq mediator. (Of course! Why didn't we think of that before?) Sen. Harry Reid believes we should withdraw our forces in Iraq immediately to be replaced by "tough and strong diplomacy." Threaten me one more time with that IED, and I might just have to convene a roundtable discussion!
The Democrats have convinced themselves, once again, that the enemy is us -- or at least our fault. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded the country, they argue. If it exists now, it's entirely our own doing. It is our presence that causes the violence in Iraq. In fact, our presence in Iraq is the greatest recruiting tool the terrorists have!