For the moment, the Democratic answer is silence. And it's hard not to feel that it is probably their best bet. After all, Election Day is just four and a half months away, and there are plenty of other issues the Democrats can seize on to emphasize their sharp differences with the Republicans.
But the American people are hardly unaware of the importance of the Middle East, and of America's stake in that area. And they will credit President Bush with the wisdom to recognize these and devise policies that take them into account. Painful as American losses -- any losses -- in the Middle East may be, they pale in comparison to those our country would suffer if it lost the capacity to influence events there.
We must never forget that there are individual despots, and whole nations, in the Middle East who despise the United States and would gladly drive it out of the region, and deprive us of its oil reserves, if only they could. Keeping that from happening must be a cardinal aim of U.S. foreign policy and ought to be a matter of bipartisan agreement. That is why, despite the understandable distaste partisan Democrats would feel at having to endorse a Republican policy, the happiest result for the United States, and the soundest long-run course for the Democratic Party, would be a Democratic decision to endorse President Bush's policy in Iraq.
William Rusher is a Distinguished Fellow of the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy and author of How to Win Arguments .
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