Tony Blankley

In Tuesday's Wall St. Journal, reporters Farnaz Fassihi and Christopher Cooper wrote the phrase: "Mr. Bush and others have stopped talking so much of an outright victory in Iraq as they focus on plans to train Iraqi soldiers … so American troops can come home."

 I guess they didn't read President Bush's radio speech from three days earlier where he said, in referring to our troops who had died in Iraq: "Now we must finish the task that our troops have given their lives for and honor their sacrifice by completing their mission. We can be confident in the ultimate triumph of our cause because we know that freedom is the future of every nation and that the side of freedom is the side of victory."

 They surely must have missed the lead of a June 30th Washington Post article that read: " … President Bush confidently predicts victory in Iraq."

 And they couldn't have heard the speech President Bush was making yesterday (as they presumably were writing their article) that we must " … win and fight -- fight and win."

 The Wall St. Journal version of reality is of a piece with the liberal journalists I debate on radio and television. They are keeping up a constant drumbeat of not only their own defeatism but the regular suggestion that President Bush also has stopped calling for victory in Iraq.

 These mischaracterizations of the president's view on victory are important, because public support of the war is largely based on an expectation of victory. In a major USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll from three weeks ago, 32 percent of the public said we can't win the war in Iraq. Another 43 percent predict victory, while -- critically -- 21 percent say "the United States could win the war, but they don't think it will."

 If one adds that "could win, but don't think we will win" 21 percent to the 43 percent who predict victory -- one has a very solid 64 percent supporting the war. But if that 21 percent become convinced that our government has given up trying to win, then they could form a 53 percent defeatist majority in the public. It is worth noting that despite the doubts expressed by the public in that Gallup Poll 53 percent of those surveyed still said it was not a mistake to send U.S. troops to Iraq.

 But although President Bush suffers from a biased, defeatist mainstream media, he still holds his (and our nation's) fate largely in his own hands. The president and his advisors should puzzle long and hard over what is in the minds of that critical 21 percent of the public who think we can -- but won't -- win the war in Iraq.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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