Today, House Democrats introduced a 10-line non-binding resolution criticizing the new strategy for victory in Iraq being implemented by General Petraeus. According to many liberal Democrats, this non-binding resolution is just the “first step” in their plan to cut off funding for American troops fighting the Global War on Terror.
In this resolution, Democrats use 27 words not to put forward their own plan for victory but to instead bash the President and “disapprove” of the latest effort to succeed in Iraq. What is the Democrats’ plan for victory exactly? There is one simple answer: they don’t have one.
The Washington Times put it best in an editorial this morning:
“[T]here is no serious way to square ‘support for the troops’ with a vote for a resolution that expresses contempt for what the troops are attempting to achieve in Iraq. Any such resolution is step one of a multi-step process aimed at ensuring that U.S. troops are withdrawn from Iraq in failure.”
This isn’t the first time Democrats have walked us down a path to failure against radical Islamic terrorists. In his book, Guests of the Ayatollah, Mark Bowden describes in detail the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The book refers to the crisis as America’s “first battle … with militant Islam.” A liberal Democrat, President Jimmy Carter, was in the White House and Congress was controlled by Democrats.
What did the policies of President Carter and the Democrats do for America’s national security in 1979? Radical Islamic terrorists were able to hold American citizens hostage for 444 days in Iran. Islamic terrorists burned down the U.S. embassy in Pakistan. The Soviet Union was on the march, funding anti-American activities and suppressing anti-communist forces worldwide. Inflation soared to 13 percent; interest rates hovered at 22 percent; and Americans lined the streets waiting to buy gasoline.
The Iranian hostage crisis was the first test of American resolve in our war with radical Islam. For more than a year – at least until the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan – America faltered, emboldening our enemies and laying the groundwork for the 1983 suicide attack on the Marine Barracks in Beirut. That attack killed 241 American servicemen and injured 60 others. A decade later, on February 26, 1993, the first World Trade Center Bombing killed six people and injured more than 1,000 others.
Bowden wrote a book about another example – one that is frequently cited by al Qaeda: Black Hawk Down. In late 1993, much like today in Iraq, American troops engaged in combat while Democrats in Washington were calling for retreat.
Looking back on that episode, Osama bin Laden has said, “In Somalia... the United States [pulled] out, trailing disappointment, defeat, and failure behind it.”
The retreat in Somalia was all the impetus al Qaeda needed to believe it could attack the United States with impunity. On June 25, 1996, the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia killed 20 people and injured 372 people. On June 7, 1998, the Kenya Embassy Bombing killed 213 people and injured 5,000 people. That same day, the Tanzania Embassy bombing killed 11 people and injured 68 people. On October 12, 2000, the U.S.S. Cole bombing killed 17 people and injured 39 people.
These are all vivid reminders of the cost of weakness.
For 22 years, U.S. and world leaders viewed radical Islamic terrorism as something that could be managed by law enforcement and the justice system. It is unfortunate that only after the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001 did we open our eyes and acknowledge the fact that we are involved in a global struggle – a global war to defend all that is sacred to our way of life.
Do Democrats really think that if we pull out now, and leave Iraq to the terrorists, that al Qaeda will throw up their arms and leave us alone? It was just last August when British and American intelligence officials uncovered a plot to bomb American airliners over U.S. cities. And we recently uncovered new al Qaeda documents – in Iraq – detailing plans to attack Americans.
The consequences of failure in Iraq are too high for non-binding criticisms designed to score political points. If Democrats want to have a serious debate about national security – and Iraq’s role in the Global War on Terror – they will allow Republicans the opportunity to put forward our own proposal which says we will NOT cut off funding for our troops. Anything less will show how unserious Congressional Democrats are when it comes to protecting America’s troops and defeating our terrorist enemies.