Paul Greenberg

The terrorists and their sympathizers in Iraq keep saying American resolve is fading - and that American troops will soon fade away with it. But a headline last week told a different story: "U.S. general says Iraq needs buildup into '08."

What's this - are the Americans still determined to win in Iraq? How unsettling that possibility must be for Sunni insurgents, Shi'ite zealots, al-Qaida killers and any armed Baathists still lurking about.

This can't be what they'd expected. At this point in a long cruel war, the Americans were supposed to be packing up and pulling out. Instead they're being reinforced.

Our enemies weren't counting on American resilience. Of course not. They don't believe in it. Indeed, they've made its absence an article of faith.

The supposed weakness of the decadent West - our lack of staying power in any protracted conflict-is central not just to the enemy's strategy but its ideology, which holds that a corrupt, faithless West will be no match for a newly militant Islam.

It hasn't been too long since al-Qaida's second-in-command was confidently saying that Iraq would prove just a repeat of Vietnam. Speaking of those Iraqis now cooperating with our troops, he predicted that America "is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam."

What a shock it must been when a new American general took command with a new strategy. Another 20,000 American troops are now being readied to secure Baghdad. And then, in cooperation with Iraqi forces, they're to begin spreading out, taking and holding enemy strongholds beyond the capital.

The terrorists are reported to be clearing out of Baghdad, headed for safer havens. What a revolting development this must be for our enemies.

And not just for our enemies. Because a new, Democrat-dominated Congress is objecting mightily to this show of strength - and this administration's determination, despite everything, to pursue victory. Democratic leaders are reacting with cries of outrage - and mounting threats to cut off support for the war, all the while proclaiming their support for the troops.

It seems a strange way to support the troops, shutting off funds for the military and objecting to reinforcements - even while padding this latest appropriation for the war with all kinds of pork, from assorted farm subsidies to flood control projects. There may be a war on, but the special interests will get their money as usual.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.