This is nuts.
Within 13 months of 9/11, precisely 29 Democratic senators and 81 democratic Congressmen voted in favor of a resolution authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. The vote was based in large part on the belief - propounded by the U.S. intelligence community for at least the five preceding years - that Saddam was moving toward the development of weapons of mass destruction, indeed that he already was stockpiling such weapons in vast arsenals. Six months thereafter, the U.S. was heading into Iraq.The war occurred; guerrilla war ensued. More than 2,000 Americans have died, as have countless thousands more Iraqis. Yet Iraq has held two historic elections, with a third coming next month, and Iraqi forces are improving.
Testimonies to the spread of Islamofascist terror abound - in the U.S., across Europe, throughout Southeast Asia and Australia, in the Middle East. The most recent example happened in Amman, Jordan, where suicide bombers targeted three hotels - killing 59, including many at a wedding.
(Immediate man-in-the-street reaction in Amman blamed Israel and lamented the particular cruelty of killing and maiming innocent wedding-goers. Never mind that terrorists have randomly extinguished similar innocents in Israel for years. And never mind that subsequently the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, now the terror boss in Iraq, took responsibility for the Amman bombings.)
Oh, and in November 2004, Sen. John Kerry lost his race for the White House. In the run-up to the election, he had difficulty explaining his October 2002 vote for the invasion - saying he voted against it after he voted for it. Or something.
So what happens?
President Bush wins re-election. Nine months later the Democrats begin whipping up a campaign to cut bait and bring American forces home from Iraq. The great philosopher Cindy Sheehan makes her mark by camping out at the Bush ranch in August. Sen. Kerry - evidently forgetting his electoral loss a year ago - demands the quick withdrawal of 20,000 troops from Iraq, terming such a move necessary to get off "the road to disaster."
(This, mind you, in the face of the observation by al-Qaida's chief strategist, Ayman al-Zawahiri, that "the Americans will exit soon" - adding: "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam and how they ran and left their agents is noteworthy.")
And not content to limit their efforts to truncate the American enterprise in Iraq, the Democrats gin up the debate about going there in the first place - all the while absolving themselves of any votes they might have made as the consequences of manipulation of intelligence by the Bush administration. It was intelligence nearly identical to that provided President Bill Clinton - and moving him and his administration to words and deeds regarding Saddam similar to Bush's. Finally, this week, the Senate - led by liberal Republicans - moves toward seconding the Democratic demand for a limit on how long American forces in Iraq will remain.
(Yes, liberal Republicans. They are neither the "moderates" nor "centrists" of liberal desire. Who's a moderate? If these Republicans are moderates, so defined by the frequency with which they vote with the Democratic left, then who - pray tell - are the Republican liberals?)
It's all nuts - this seeming congressional determination to turn not only on President Bush, but on the American troops fighting for freedom and democracy on the Iraqi front of the terror war.
Tidbits in this stew:
- Polls just about hourly suggest almost half in the U.S. and Britain think their governments lied about Iraq's weapons to justify an invasion.
- A presidential commission co-chaired by former Democratic Sen. Charles Robb says it found no evidence that the Bush administration manipulated intelligence.
- The Democrats' Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid looks at Vice President Cheney and sees a Vaderlike conspirator: "The manipulation of intelligence, to sell the war in Iraq, Vice President Cheney is involved in that. The White House energy policy that puts Big Oil ahead of the American consumer, Vice President Cheney is involved in that. Leaking classified information to discredit White House critics, the vice president is behind that. Halliburton, contracting abuse - the list goes on and it goes on."
- Sen. John McCain, God bless 'im, wants not a decrease in American forces in Iraq, but an increase. Yet the nation does not possess the additional forces to send, and the administration offers no program to train and provide them.
- Islamist terrorists, many of them Wahabis from Saudi Arabia, continue to pour across the Syrian border into Iraq - Syria's president refusing to bow to international demands that he stop it, insisting he bows to no one but to God. Still, the U.S. does little to close holes in its borders against illegal immigrants, either.
- In the 538-member Congress, 43.5 percent are lawyers.
How dismaying the fickle inconstancy of too many Americans and too many in our lawyerly Congress. How dispiriting that in Iraq, the U.S. may be heading toward a pressured and premature pull-out.
What American forces abroad need to hear today is what Ronald Reagan said to assembled veterans at Pointe du Hoc, Normandy, on the 40th anniversary of D-Day:
"You all knew that some things are worth dying for. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you."