Ross Mackenzie

The latte lefties in Congress really are pieces of work — intent, as they seem to be, on crippling the nation’s economy and judiciary, as well as its energy independence. Oh, and declaring defeat in the war on terror.

On the economy, their cry — and the insistence of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — is to raise taxes or to let the Bush tax cuts expire. Obama, for starters, also wants to double the capital gains tax, from 15 to 28 percent.

On the judiciary, they seek to stymie nearly every administration nominee to the appellate courts. Currently 11 nominees are awaiting congressional action, seven of them for vacancies deemed emergencies because of heavy docket load. Congressional leftists are determined to maintain as many vacancies as possible until after the presidential election, when they hope to pack the courts with their ideological own.

On energy, they prevent drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, restrict offshore drilling, and pile on regulations for the burning of coal and the extraction of oil from shale. No new oil refinery has been built since 1976, no new nuclear generation plant authorized in nearly as long. Now all the talk from the congressional left is for “excess profits” taxes on the oil companies, and for the green hot-air agenda of solar and wind.

Yet on Iraq in particular, and the war on terror more broadly, congressional liberals are as shamelessly apologetic as they are shamelessly defeatist. They say Iraq is, as Vietnam was, a quagmire: Bring home the boys and girls, and spend the money on infrastructure and welfarism here at home. We must stop antagonizing the Islamic world (they say), and let it sort out its own problems — those few we haven’t caused.

With House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now effectively running the appropriations process, the Democrats are loading an administration $178 billion supplemental measure for the troops in Iraq with $70 billion in domestic pork-barrel spending. Having tried and failed on dozens of votes during the past year to limit funding for Iraq, now the leftists’ goal is to force President Bush to accept their wacko domestic spending agenda — or, because of their add-ons, to veto his own Iraq supplemental funding bill.

In the process, of course, they cheapen the deaths of 4,000 American troops (islamofascism, they say, poses a threat vastly less than Nazism or Communism did) — and implicitly declare that the long war on global terror pales in importance against, for instance, the war on global warming. And never mind that doubts about the human role in global warming are markedly greater than — given the surge — doubts about the success of the American enterprise in Iraq.

The pre-emptive American enterprise in Iraq has destroyed a horrific Saddamite regime as well as its big-time role in funding global terror and training recruits. In addition, the U.S. has dared to make possible a fragile Middle Eastern democracy and associated freedoms for the Iraqi people. An ABC/BBC poll last month found 55 percent of the Iraqi people describing their lives as going well. Some quagmire.

Said Senator Obama in September: “Let me be clear: There is no military solution in Iraq, and there never was.” He believes, with his spiritual adviser Jeremiah Wright, that we were wrongly led into Iraq by a lying “C student,” and the only reasonable way out is to surrender — admit failure and defeat — and get out. No pullout could be premature, could come soon enough.

Gen. David Petraeus’ surge of 30,000 U.S. troops has worked far better than any congressional leftist thought it would or, even now, admits. Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham wrote in early April how unfortunate it is that “so many opponents of the surge still refuse to acknowledge the gains we have achieved in Iraq” — and how clear the choice “between the general who is leading us to victory and the critics who spent the past year predicting defeat.” A terrorist victory in Iraq simply would embolden islamofascists across the globe.

Iraq under Saddam was a haven — an enabler, a nexus — for jihadists meaning to do harm to us and liberty-loving people everywhere. Saddam his Baathist Sunnis are dead, isolated, or gone. By nearly all accounts the surge is working, and promoting internal stability and reconciliation. But U.S. troops must remain there to enable those processes to proceed — and the majority Shiites to resolve their differences.

In all this, Iran plays a huge role — with Moqtada al-Sadr in hiding there under extremist ayatollah tutelage, and with Iran funding, training, and arming dissident Shiites to disrupt Iraq and kill Americans. How much sense would it make to cut and run, thereby adding more strain to the already overstrained forces that remained? Further, how much sense would it make to withdraw American forces from the Iraqi border with Iran — an Iran posing the largest threat to Iraq’s long-term stability, and an Iran moving resolutely toward the practice of nuclear terror worldwide?

Let the shameless congressional defeatists explain how the nation — its surrendering forces brought home from Iraq — would avoid the consequences of failure. Despite leftist prattlings, the U.S. must stay in Iraq till the day is done and victory won.


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.

Be the first to read Ross Mackenzie's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.