W. Thomas Smith, Jr

Party politics have always made me uncomfortable – I’m an issues man – and when discussions of such have cropped up, I’ve usually gone to great lengths to focus instead on ideologies that cross party lines because most Americans seem to have more in common than not. But just a few weeks shy of midterm elections and with so much at stake in the war on terror, I’m making an exception.

The Democrat Party’s “message is murky,” writes commentator Howard Fineman in a recent article for MSNBC Interactive. “In the Senate, they decry the Mexican fence, then more than half of them vote for it. They label the Iraq war as a mistake, then vote $70 billion more for it. They object to Bush’s torture [sic] bill, yet flinch at a chance to block it in the Senate.”

Fineman’s comments mirror those of the late Democrat Congressman Morris “Mo” Udall, who said of his own team, when Democrats “form a firing squad, we form a circle.”

So why would anyone in their right mind believe that the Democrats could or would do any better in the prosecution of the war on terror than the Republicans? Not that the latter haven’t made mistakes. In fact, there have been some major miscalculations in the prosecution of the war, as there have been in every American conflict since the Colonial era. There also have been innumerable strategic successes and tactical victories on a variety of fronts since 9/11.

But I am convinced the Democrats (including moderates, the blame-Bush crowd, the cut-and-runners, and the extreme Left) would fail miserably in the leadership of this current fight as they have time-and-again since President Jimmy Carter’s micromanaged debacle at Desert One in 1980. There are several reasons why.

On October 10, The Washington Post published a group-written piece entitled, “Bush's ‘Axis of Evil’ Comes Back to Haunt United States,” which leads with:

“Nearly five years after President Bush introduced the concept of an ‘axis of evil’ comprising Iraq, Iran and North Korea, the administration has reached a crisis point with each nation: North Korea has claimed it conducted its first nuclear test, Iran refuses to halt its uranium-enrichment program, and Iraq appears to be tipping into a civil war 3 1/2 years after the U.S.-led invasion.”

The article goes on to describe events that would remind any military expert that most battle plans survive only to the point at which initial contact is made with the enemy. But the article does so in a way that becomes obvious to the expert that:

a) Those who wrote the piece probably do not understand the dynamics of military operations.

b) The writers might be counting on their readers not having any grasp of military operations.

W. Thomas Smith, Jr

W. Thomas Smith Jr. is a former U.S. Marine rifle-squad leader and counterterrorism instructor. He is the author of six books, and he has covered war and conflict in the Balkans, on the West Bank, in Iraq, and Lebanon. Visit him online at http://www.uswriter.com.
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