The Democrats made the final payment this week. They are no longer just partially invested, but now they own defeat in Iraq, going on record with their votes in favor of retreat. What is most disturbing though, is not so much that they have made a tactical decision to broadcast our military’s itinerary to the enemy, putting our troops at a tremendous disadvantage and all but ensuring failure, but that so many of them seem to relish the prospect of defeat.
These are harsh words, to be sure, but it is evident in their words and actions that Congressional Democrats’ strategy on the war contains a political component they believe will win them additional seats in 2008.
From the beginning of the war, many opponents of invading Iraq compared the conflict to Vietnam. Many of those using the comparison then seemed determined to make the Iraq conflict fit the Vietnam mold. Democrat politicians through their unquestioning mouthpieces in the media stirred up discontent at home by saying the commander-in-chief “lied us into” the war and that the war was unwinnable or even “lost,” and then took every opportunity to broadcast that message to the world. They trumpeted every setback in Iraq, while ignoring every accomplishment. This week they attempted to ensure the Vietnam comparison fit by sending the President a funding bill they knew he would veto, setting up two possible scenarios. If the bill were signed we would be telling the enemy not only of our intention to retreat, but our schedule for it. If the bill were vetoed, which it was, the military would go that much longer without funding for the things they need to fight the war.
Democrats say (as does Rosie O’Donnell ), by the way) that they really love and support the troops. They want to bring them home from this horrible war so that no more of them will be killed or injured. So they decided the best way to do that was to let all the terrorists (insurgents, murderers, whatever you choose to call them) know how and when we would be leaving Iraq. A week ago presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani asked, "When in the history of war has a nation that decides to retreat printed up a schedule of that retreat and handed it to its enemies?" My answer would be a week ago, when the political opponents of the commander-in-chief decided a U.S. military defeat was in their best interest.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “For the first time, the president will have to face up, will have to be accountable for this war in Iraq…And he doesn't want to face that reality."
So to make the President accountable, they are attempting to take away his ability to control strategy for the war? Pelosi is the one having a problem understanding the reality of the situation. Democrats pushing for retreat will get lots of help from the media, and they may get some short term political advantage, but they will not be able to divorce themselves from a resulting defeat in Iraq if they get their way.
With the president acting as commander-in-chief, he has made the decisions and has faced the consequences, including a costly political price paid last November. When Democrats insert themselves into the role of directing war policy, they buy into the outcome. In this case, when they are attempting to force retreat, they are buying some responsibility (and accountability as Pelosi put it) for defeat in Iraq.
The war in Iraq is not, as so many vain, self-important opportunistic politicians believe, a matter of U.S. party politics. It is a battle for our security and for our very existence. If you doubt that statement, just consider the consequences of an early withdrawal from Iraq, which even most opposed to the war admit would be an incredibly unstable and dangerous situation. Add to that the message a U.S. defeat would send to the world. It would seem to vindicate Osama bin Laden’s opinion that we are soft and don’t have the will to fight or the capacity to endure losses. That image of weakness only emboldens terrorists and invites more attacks. Compare that to what could be gained by success in Iraq – not only in the immediate advantage of having a free democracy in the heart of the Middle East, but in the statement that it would make to the world and to terrorist leaders and their potential recruits about our willingness to fight them, even at great cost.
This should not be about doing whatever will win one party or the other political advantage, but it should be about what is in the best long term interest of the country. Unfortunately, it appears political considerations are playing a significant role and, even more unfortunately, it seems that, yet again, for the Democrats to win, America must lose.