Tony Blankley

The Senate is emitting an embarrassing level of emotional policy twitching on the topic of Iraq. Sen. Harry Reid can't take the war anymore. He "knows" it is lost. Sen. Olympia Snowe has just about had it with the Iraqi government. If they don't meet her benchmarks -- that's it. Sen. Mitch McConnell thinks "that the handwriting is on the wall that we are going in a different direction in the fall, and I expect the president to lead it." Who authored that wall graffiti, he doesn't say. After talking with grieving family members of one of our fallen warriors, Sen. Pete Domenici "wants a new strategy for Iraq."

I haven't seen such uncritical thinking since I hid under my bedsheets to get away from the monsters back when I was 3 years old.

Whether they are talking about war weariness, grief over casualties, fear of their upcoming elections, disappointment with the current Iraqi government or general irritation with the incumbent president: What in the world do such misgivings of U.S. senators have to do with whether we should continue to advance our vital national security interests?

None of these senators have even addressed the question of whether the United States is safer if we leave Iraq than if we stay. Isn't that the key question? The question is not whether the Iraqi government deserves American sacrifice on their behalf. Our sons and daughters are not fighting, being grievously wounded and dying for Iraq -- but for American vital interests. If this were just about Iraqi democracy, I might join the screaming for a quick exit.

But if al Qaeda can plausibly claim they drove America out of Iraq (just as they drove the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan), they will gain literally millions of new adherents in their struggle to destroy America and the West. We will then pay in blood, treasure and future wars vastly more than we are paying today to manage and eventually win our struggle in Iraq.

Our staying power, unflinching persistence in the face of adversity, muscular capacity to impose order on chaos and eventual slaughtering of terrorists who are trying to drive us out will do more to win the "hearts and minds" of potentially radical Islamists around the world than all the little sermons about our belief in Islam as the religion of peace. As bin Laden once famously observed -- people follow the strong horse.

We have two choices: Use our vast resources to prove we are the strong horse or get ready to be taken to the glue factory.

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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