Bitter Democrats never have recovered from their 2000 presidential defeat. Many of them still refuse to accept George Bush as their president. The administration has fallen victim to postwar realities on the ground in Iraq, combining with an American public never good at the long haul. And this war — the War on Terror, the Long War, World War IV, the war for civilization, whatever — is playing out in Iraq and not going as well as it could or should.
The Democrats have carped, caterwauled, and criticized, but they have conspicuously offered little in the way of alternatives in Iraq except…end it, get out, come home.
If they hold true to form, the Democrats, controlling the House and perhaps the Senate, will seek to do these things: raise the minimum wage, cut subsidies to the oil industry, kill temporary federal tax cuts, penalize outsourcing, throttle all talk of privatization initiatives for Social Security, and stymie the confirmation of Bush nominees to the federal courts. Given even a Democratic House armed with subpoena power, expect as well highly publicized “investigations” of Republicans in Congress and the White House.
The administration response should contain two principal elements: inflexibility regarding low taxes and decisive steps regarding Iraq.
Policy in Iraq should be based on pacifying the populace so as to build a government both stable and free. This can be accomplished in Iraq in ways only the administration and the military can know — and let us remember that the military remains the public’s most respected profession (far more than Congress, the administration, or the press).
And it should be accompanied by demanding sacrifice from the American citizenry via such things as a war footing for the population at large and compulsory universal service — with a front-end military component — for all men and women 18-23.
For in Iraq and the Long War, there can be no compromise. Churchill voiced for all time the ultimate necessity and the ultimate consequence of failure: Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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