This is quite a turnaround. Just three months ago, Reid was one of 81 senators who voted to confirm Petraeus (zero voted against him) to go to Iraq and lead a new American approach -- the surge. Now Reid doesn’t even want to listen to the commander.
The bottom line is that if the United States pulls out of Iraq prematurely, we’ll be handing our terrorist enemies a victory they haven’t earned. “We’ve got a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. We’re going to wave the white flag there,” as Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani put it on April 23. “We’re going to cut back, cut back, cut back, and we’ll be back in our pre-September 11 mentality of being on defense.”
Not surprisingly, many Democrats went after Giuliani. Presidential candidate John Edwards said his “suggestion that there is some superior ‘Republican’ way to fight terrorism is both divisive and plain wrong. He knows better.”
But here’s what John Kerry told a reporter for The New York Times Magazine when he ran for president in 2004: “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.” That sure sounds like a man in favor of playing defense against terrorists.
Giuliani says we’ll eventually defeat the terrorists. But he adds, “The question is going to be: How long does it take and how many losses will we have along the way? And I truly believe that if we go back on defense for a period of time, we’re going to ultimately have more losses and it's going to go on much longer.”
Rudy’s right. The United States will win the long war against terrorism, and we’ll do it much sooner if we go after terrorists wherever they are -- including Iraq -- instead of waiting for them to come to us.
Last year’s elections gave Democratic lawmakers power -- but it’s up to them to show some responsibility. They should either give the surge time to work, or vote to withdraw right now. And whatever they do, they should know that Americans will hold them accountable. After all, they’re now at least partially “in charge.”