With President Bush's veto of the Democrats' measure to tie funding of U.S. troops in Iraq to stipulated dates for their withdrawal, the Democrats continue outdoing themselves in the realm of shamelessness.
In the hall of fatuous behavior, Nancy Pelosi has taken a seat alongside Jane Fonda. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has declared the war "lost." This is the same individual who has termed (1) President Bush "a loser" and (2) former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan "one of the biggest political hacks" ever spied in D.C.
In Iraq, American lives are on the line to guarantee the future of freedom throughout the world. That includes right here in the U.S. - right here in River City. Says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: "I can't begin to imagine how our troops in the field, who are risking their lives every day, are going to react when they get back to base and hear that the Democrat leader of the United States Senate has declared the war is lost."
The war probably is not lost.
As Reid's self-appointed explainer Chuck Schumer, New York's other senator, has put it, albeit murkily: "What Harry Reid is saying is this war is lost . . . (but) the war is not lost." Joe Lieberman, who speaks as sensibly as any senator, starkly described the U.S. presence in Iraq during remarks on the Senate floor last Thursday:
"Al-Qaida is not mass-murdering civilians on the streets of Baghdad because it wants a more equitable distribution of oil revenues. Its aim in Iraq is not to get a seat at the political table. It wants to blow up the table - along with everyone seated at it. Al-Qaida wants to destroy any prospect for democracy in Iraq, and it will not be negotiated or reasoned out of existence. It must be fought and defeated through force of arms. And there can be no withdrawal, no redeployment from this reality."
Alas, President Bush possesses little of Lieberman's eloquence. But the president says these things - and they are right:
- (The Democrats have) passed bills that would impose restrictions on our military commanders and set an arbitrary date for withdrawal from Iraq, giving our enemies the victory they desperately want." And . . .
- "This is a prescription for chaos and confusion and we must not impose it on our troops. . . . (The bill would) mandate a rigid and artificial deadline (for troop withdrawals, and) it makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing." And . . .
- "Our troops and their families deserve better, and their elected leaders can do better. Whatever our differences, surely we can agree that our troops are worthy of this funding and that we have a responsibility to get it to them without further delay."
So the stage is set for a decision on how serious we are - as a people - on the task we are about in the war on terror.
The West has no reasonable alternative to prevailing in Iraq. And whatever one may think of the situation there now, wars can be turned around. Matthew Ridgway demonstrated that within weeks of replacing Douglas MacArthur in Korea. General Omar Bradley noted in his "General's Life" that Ridgway's "brilliant, driving, uncompromising leadership would turn the tide of battle like no other general's in our military history."
David Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, just may have been built in the Ridgway mold. Last week he went to Washington to plead for patience.
According to a Washington Post report, Gen. Petraeus "described progress in Iraq as mixed. Sectarian slayings in Baghdad are down by a third since January, he said, and progress in the Sunni province of Anbar has been 'almost something that's breathtaking,' he said. On the other hand, he said, 'the ability of al-Qaida to conduct horrific, sensational attacks obviously has represented a setback.'"
Not only would adoption of a timetable now put a bullet in the heart of U.S. troop morale. It also would tell the terrorists their attacks in Baghdad - aided by their useful, shameless Democratic fools - are winning the war in Washington, and all they need to do is wait us out.
Either we as a nation are serious about defeating rampant jihadism, or we are not. If we are, then we must remain in Iraq until a freely elected government can stand on its own. If we are not, then we might as well tuck tail and get out now - and start preparing the barricades here. The measure of our seriousness about the future of freedom and our own preservation may well be contained in the bill finally enacted to fund the troops.