Thursday, November 24, 2005

Victor Davis Hanson

A very smart guy, historian senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and prolific author wrote something very insightful about the current stance of Dems and their flirtations with the "cut and run" mode of thinking....

So Democrats have overcome two caveats. First, they are beginning to sound like Michael Moore while distancing themselves from Michael Moore. Second, they have come up with a clever escape ploy from their own previous rhetoric. Yes, they voted for the war, but the intelligence they had was “not the same” as the president’s. And besides, they were merely senators who fund wars, while George Bush was the commander-in-chief who directs them. “He started it — not us” may be the stuff of errant boys on the playground, but it apparently offers a way out of past embarrassing speeches and votes. Even more clever, they now claim that voting “to authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq” in October 2002 is not quite the same as actually authorizing a war in March 2003.Consequently, the Democrats are now inching toward jettisoning their final reservation and embracing the Howard Dean cut-and-run position. Still, shrewd pros like a Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, or Chuck Schumer are not quite there yet for two other understandable worries. The polls say Americans are tired of the war, but not yet ready to quit and give up on all that has been achieved, leaving brave Iraqi reformers to ninth-century beheaders and suicide-murderers. Second, these more astute Democrats are not sure that the Iraqi gambit might not work, especially with the December election coming up, the public trial of Saddam, the growth of the Iraqi security forces, and the changed attitudes in Europe, Jordan, and Lebanon. Many talk a lot about Vietnam circa 1967 but deep down and in silence most have mixed emotions about Saigon 1975.
For now Democrats stammer, sputter, and go the Bush shoulda / coulda route — not quite ready to take the McGovern sharp turn, forever waiting on polls and events on the ground in Iraq, always unsure whether peace and democracy will come before the 2,500th American fatality.
Yet as they hedge — on television praising Congressmen Murtha who advocates withdrawal, but making sure they vote overwhelmingly on the record to reject his advice — they should consider some critical questions.
First, are the metrics of this war in the terrorists’ or our favor? Are the Iraqi security forces growing or shrinking? Are elections postponed or on schedule? Are Europe, Jordan, Lebanon, and others more or less sympathetic to a war against Islamic terrorism in Iraq? Are bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarqawi more or less popular or secure after we removed Saddam? Is al Qaeda in a strengthened or weakened position? Is the Arab world more or less receptive to democracy in the Gulf, Egypt, Lebanon, and the West Bank? And is the United States more or less vulnerable to a terrorist attack as we go into our fifth year since September 11?
I ask those questions in all sincerity since the conventional wisdom — compared to the true wisdom and compassion of those valiantly fighting the terrorists under the most impossible of conditions — is that we are losing in Iraq, our enemies are emboldened, and the Arab world has turned against us. But if we forget the banality of New York Times columnists, the admonitions of NPR experts, and the daily rants of a Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, or Al Gore, more sober and street-smart Democrats are in fact not so sure of these answers.
So these wiser ones wait and hedge their wagers. They give full rein to the usefully idiotic and irresponsible in their midst, but make no move yet to undo what thousands of brave American soldiers have accomplished in Iraq.
What exactly is that? Despite acrimony at home, the politics of two national elections and a third on the horizon, and the slander of war crimes and incompetence, those on the battlefield of Iraq have almost pulled off the unthinkable — the restructuring of the politics of the Middle East in less than three years. And for now that is still a strong hand to bet against.


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