Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Cost of the Democrats' Foregone Conclusions on Iraq


The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.

- John F Kennedy


Pete Petraeus will be reporting to the President, then to Congress, in about three weeks. While no one knows for sure exactly what he is going to say, there are indications that the report will be far more positive than negative.

I’m not sure that it’s going to make a lot of difference. The overwhelming majority of Democrats and their anti-war base concluded that Iraq was an abject failure before the surge began. They did vote to fund the surge, but I think that was only because they feared a backlash from the American people, who don’t lean nearly as far to the left as the Democratic base. Others have seen things in a different light. In May, former New York Mayor Ed Koch had this to say:

“The Democrats, like terriers shaking a rat (Iraq) using a plan of funding war for three months -- salami tactics -- causing the Army command to recognize that the Congress, not the President, is effectively in charge, have achieved their goal: implementing withdrawal.”

It could be. But, whatever their reasons, I’m certain that come September their political wheels are going to be spinning madly. There will be little offered in the way of strategy. What I believe we’ll see is more triangulating and political maneuvering. Will they play to their base and cut off funding? Or, will they endure till the 2008 election and then pull all the plugs.

The President, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars last week, drew several parallels between the war in Iraq and other conflicts. Most Democrats didn’t seem to mind the comparisons to World War II or Korea. But they went ballistic when the President compared Iraq to Vietnam. They claimed that the comparisons were inaccurate, that there were few, if any, parallels between the two.

I think there’s much more to it. Vietnam will always be a great revealer of the Democratic Party’s intent and the intent of their anti-war base. That’s what made them climb the rafters, screaming like banshees.

This morning I read an op-ed piece by Robert Tracinski. I think he got to the heart of why the Democrats don’t like the comparisons. He claimed, I believe correctly, that the Democratic Party’s left wing base clamored for defeat and the Democrats gave it to them:

“Whatever the failures of American strategy in Vietnam, there is no doubt that the anti-war left pushed for American failure and accomplished it by persistent and vigorous legislation. And that is the crucial issue. If the architects of the Vietnam War in the Johnson administration can be criticized (as Moyar does) for not doing enough to win the war, the later anti-war left actively pursued American defeat and humiliation as their goal. They didn't merely want us to withdraw; they wanted us to lose, and they did whatever was necessary to make sure that happened.”

I then came across this from Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:

“It is troubling that there are no such profiles (referring to John Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage) among the Democrats running for president this year. JFK was elected at a time when Americans could trust his party to confront international threats with resolve. That changed after Vietnam, where the Democratic left insisted on defeat and got its way.”

I remember coming back from my tour in Vietnam. I kissed the ground at Travis Air Force Base, then proceeded to the transit barracks with some of my buddies. That night I watched the news from “the world” and was treated to left wing demonstrators chanting, “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh, the NLF is gonna’ win.” Later, like a lot of others who served, I was called a “baby killer” by young students exercising the right of free speech I went to Vietnam to preserve for them. They were determined, loud, offensive, and wrong, but in the end they got all they wanted and then some – boat people, genocide in Cambodia, re-education camps for those who trusted us in Vietnam, and international retreat under Jimmy Carter.

I think about the Democrats’ current strategy and I get a bit cynical. Why not give them what they want now, like we did in Vietnam? That will make the parallels between the two wars much more understandable. If they want defeat, let’s pull the plug. Hell, I’m an old retiree and the terrorists won’t make it to Emporia, Kansas by the time I’m pushing up daisies. But, then I think of my children and grand-children, my brother and sister and their families, my friends and neighbors, the thousands and thousands of Iraqis who have cast their lot with us, civilization itself, and the cynicism fades.

The majority of us don’t want to lose this war. We actually want to win it. But, the Democrats, dangling like puppets on the strings of the far left, are going to pander their way to defeat in Iraq. We cannot allow that!

1 comment:

Nelson said...

Phil, Thank you for your service to our country. Your thoughts are right on.