Ross Mackenzie

New York's great Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said it:

"This is a campaign. We are going to keep at it, and we are going to continue this discussion (of America's military involvement in Iraq) for the good of the country. And we believe the more it is debated and discussed, the more the difference between the parties is apparent to the American people, the less flexibility the president will have in maintaining his course."

So there you have it: As we enter the fifth year of war against jihadism, the Democrats will keep pounding on Iraq (a) to achieve liberty's defeat there and (b) to regain the White House. Their principal acolytes in this twofold enterprise will be those preening Hollywood twits and the press - both cohorts as lopsidedly hostile to our success in Iraq now as they were to our success in Vietnam back when.

In disarray, the Democrats cannot prevail with any of their endless measures to shackle our Iraqi enterprise. They lack in Congress the numerical clout and the ideological cohesiveness. Every legislative initiative carries with it the implication of undermining the troops. And any successful votes will face the presidential axe.

Notes Democratic Congressman David Obey of Wisconsin: "We don't have the votes to defund the war, and we shouldn't. . . . It's time these idiot liberals understood that." Republican Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon concurs: "Congress is an institution incapable of playing commander in chief, and the Democrats are proving that."

Unable to win in Congress, the Democrats are working to win the White House. The ultimate potential victims are the Iraqi people and - longer term, denying the rightness of the American effort to extend democratic freedom into the Arab world - the American people. Failure to plant freedom there directly threatens the survival of freedom here.

Wars tend not to go according to plan; few ever have. And contrary to the preachings of pessimists and defeatists, wars can be turned around - as Gen. David Petraeus may be doing now.

The shortcomings regarding the U.S. enterprise against jihad have been primarily these:

First, the failure - through relentless articulation - to build and maintain public support for the task at hand. This struggle for our lives may prove the struggle of our lives. It certainly is the most serious threat to the Free World since communism.

Second, the failure to boost military manpower to levels sufficient to meet our needs. Right now, the armed forces are undermanned, under-equipped, and under-trained. Readiness is marginal. Backup forces are thin. The burden of service falls on far too few.

Ross Mackenzie

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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