Now it can be told. The Democrats do have a plan for victory in Iraq. It is as simple as it is brilliant -- confuse, confound and surprise the enemy.
[Voting for the joint resolution to give Bush authority to use force against Saddam Hussein was] the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I cast it with conviction. I want this president, or any future president, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country, at the United Nations or at war. -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., Oct. 10, 2002
But didn't the House just vote on a resolution opposing the president's plan to increase troop levels in Iraq? And didn't all of the Democratic senators -- in office at the time -- now running for president, also vote for the 2002 joint resolution authorizing the war? Yet all of these senators now support some form of withdrawal by a date certain. Talk about keeping our enemies off-balance.
What I have said is that I do think we need more troops. -- Sen. Clinton, Dec. 7, 2003
But didn't the Senate vote unanimously -- 81 to 0 -- to confirm Gen. David Petraeus as the new top military commander in Iraq? And doesn't Patraeus support the president's plan to increase the troop levels, calling this "surge" necessary to achieve our objectives? Yet the very same Democrats -- with some Republicans -- who voted for Patraeus oppose the plan to achieve his and the president's stated objectives. Right now, somewhere in Iraq, a confused al Qaeda sympathizer must be saying, "No government could be that dysfunctional."
[Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld] did not go into Iraq with enough troops to establish law and order. -- Sen. Clinton, Aug. 3, 2006
After last year's election, voters threw out the Republicans and put Democrats in charge of both the House and Senate. Democrats called this a referendum on the war in Iraq, and argued that voters wanted the troops out. But didn't a recent CBS poll find 50 percent of Americans actually positive over the "long-term prospects" for success in Iraq? Only 8 percent of Americans wanted to "Block all funding" for the troops. As to the anti-surge non-binding resolution, 45 percent said Congress should not pass it, versus 44 percent that said Congress should. As to troop levels, only 28 percent called for a removal of all troops in Iraq.
Rather than escalation of U.S. troops -- which I do not believe will contribute to long-term success in Iraq -- we should begin a phased redeployment of U.S. troops as a way to put pressure on the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its own security and future. -- Sen. Clinton, Jan. 17, 2007
But when a recent Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll asked Americans, "How important is a U.S. victory in Iraq?" 42 percent said, "Very important," and 24 percent said, "Somewhat important." Only 13 percent said, "Not at all important." Yet 70-some House Democrats -- in an act of true genius designed to keep the enemy off-guard -- formed the Out of Iraq Caucus, to erroneously convey the impression that this reflected popular American sentiment.
Meanwhile, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa. (who also voted for the war), purports to want to go even further. He actually brags about a back-door scheme to cut off funding: "They won't be able to continue. They won't be able to do the deployment. They won't have the equipment, they don't have the training and they won't be able to do the work." Our enemies' heads must be spinning.
If I had been president in 2003, I never would have started this war, and if it is still going on when I am president in 2009, I will end it. -- Sen. Clinton, Feb. 12, 2007
So, there we have it. Congress -- with substantial Democratic support -- votes to authorize the war. Many of the same people who voted for the war now oppose it. So they pass a resolution, non-binding, and therefore lacking any legal ability to stop a troop increase. The Senate unanimously confirms, as top commander in Iraq, a new general with counter-insurgence expertise -- then opposes the very troop increase that he supports. Democrats, with some Republicans, assert that last year's election showed Americans want out of Iraq, even though polls show otherwise.
This might explain why Muqtada al-Sadr reportedly took a powder to Iran. The Democrats' clever scheme rattles al Qaeda, militant Baathists, Sunni death squads and Shia militias, who now tremble, thinking, "What are these guys gonna pull next?"
Sun Tzu, in "The Art of War," says, "It is the same in all battles. You use a direct approach to engage the enemy. You use surprise to win." Brilliant, Democrats! Absolutely brilliant!