Along the Tracks

Friday, December 02, 2005

We are winning – and the cut-and-runners know it

The past few weeks, it has seemed as if someone turned up the volume on the Iraq war debate – not the war, the debate.

Actually, the war appears to be going better than ever, with the number of deaths falling, the Iraq economy growing and a political campaign in full-swing with participation levels shaming most U.S. elections. The Iraqi army now controls the ground in areas which used to require coalition troops, local Iraqis are turning in the foreign fighters who have so brutalized them in the past two years and the insurgency has fallen to putting out faked videos of their “offensives.”

Yet the debate blares louder every day. “Pull out! Now! Not later, NOW! You know you’ll have to anyway sooner or later! It’s a lost cause, so get out! There’s nothing more we can do! OUT! OUT! OUT! NOW! NOW! NOW!”

Oh sure, there are a few more “controlled” voices calling for timetables to temper the outrageous suggestions – but their point is the same as the screamers: We’ve already lost, so let’s tuck our tail properly between our legs and accept the inevitable.

The argument is strange, and the mainstream media’s wall-to-wall promotion of it is frustrating and excessive, even if not surprising.

Still, why now? Why has this suddenly hit the top of all their talking points? Why are they now coalescing around this message? Why not 14 months ago, when it might have gotten Kerry elected (and things seemed at least as bad, if not worse, on the ground)? Why not last spring, when insurgent attacks remained high despite the first Iraqi election’s success? Why not this summer, when London was attacked and the momentum against the war internationally was peaking?

Why, when nearly all indicators have improved and there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, do these opponents – many of whom once favored the war and until recently remained willing to “stick it out” until we achieved our goals - suddenly call for our precipitous exit?

Today it finally dawned on me: They want out because they now recognize we will soon achieve victory!

The vagaries of insurgent strategy, Middle Eastern politics and religious fervor may be unpredictable, but every politician worth his or her salt knows how to read tea leaves and adapt accordingly. The majority of Washington Democrats and their leadership (Joe Lieberman and a few other notables excepted) have utterly failed on the Iraq war as a political question, gaining nothing despite standing on every side of the debate and even inventing some new ones. Their bet-hedging has been accurately seen by the public as based on partisan schemes rather than any principle (how could there be a principle when their stances cover the spectrum and change color like a peacock’s tail?).

Now, they recognize the war is coming to a successful end, and they have squandered away their opportunities to gain political credit for the victory. They have only two hopes for achieving some partisan advantage: 1) By demanding a pullout by the end of next year, they may be able to lay claim to “forcing” the exit they now know is inevitable as Iraqis successfully join the family of democracies and the Iraqi military takes the lead in restoring security inside that nation’s borders. 2) If they can turn public opinion and compel a very rapid pullout by cutting off funding, they may snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and place it in the lap of George W. Bush.

The first hope is a gamble that Iraq won’t look so good by November 2006 the victory is obvious and Bush and the Republicans (and those few stalwart Democrats) get all the credit. The Democrats may be able to pull it off. Still, they must find a way to claim ownership of the exit. Thus the timetables, which strangely all seem to finish up around or after next year’s Congressional election.

The second hope is more sinister – how many politicians are willing to throw away their own nation’s hard-fought military triumph for sheer partisan advantage? Not many in America, I hope – but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few.

I’m not making this accusation lightly. Neither do I include in these partisan Benedict Arnolds men and women who have consistently opposed the war from the start. The tell-tale characteristics of this group of turncoats will be that they originally voted for (or publicly favored) the war and they now demand immediate withdrawal – no timetables, just do it. Their stridency will grow through the upcoming Iraqi elections and reach its highest pitch in late January, just before the State of the Union address. That is their real “deadline.”

If the “leave now” group cannot turn public opinion and congressional sentiment into a withdrawal vote by then, Bush will be able to reclaim any lost initiative in his big speech to carry him through another couple months at least. By then, the ground situation in Iraq may well have improved to the point thousands of American troops are already coming home. The cut-and-runners will have lost, and America will have won – whether it’s recognized by the media and general public at that point in time or not.

However this plays out, it’s a good feeling to know even those standing in partisan opposition to a continued U.S. presence in Iraq recognize that we are about to achieve an historic victory.

HAT TIP: Both above links first noted by Instapundit.

UPDATE: I'm not going to include Rep. John Murtha among the "turncoats" - after listening to some of his confused drivel, I agree with Sen. John McCain from Sunday's "Meet the Press," where McCain said Murtha has become overly "sentimental" on the issue, i.e., he's lost control of his emotions as he looks at the issue. Murtha's sincere, but woefully confused.

UPDATE 2: Thanks, Glenn Reynolds, for the link, and welcome visitors. I hope you enjoy my postings, whether you agree or disagree - please join the discussion. Also, I hope you'll take a look at my online news portal,, especially if you are looking for a local news source in the northwest corner of the Buckeye State. Finally, there's my local and Ohio news blog, Newshound, which stirs things up here in the Great Black Swamp. Enjoy!

Glen Reynolds has called the Iraq situation a reverse Vietnam. A proper reading of the history of Vietnam, including de-classified files from the former Soviet Uniion, is that the Vietnam war had been won by the end of 1974. The victory was thrown away when the US Congress cut off military funding after the 1974 mid term elections (first budget of the post-Watergate liberal Democrats).

Liberal Democrats will gladly induce a strategic defeat for America not necessarily just for partisan advantage, but to validate their world view. We should not overlook how much the hard left loathes the concept of America and that is why it is so easy for them to side with Saddam Hussein.
I was in the line of Dads and kids at Burger King last Saturday when my 10-year-old, who was trying to make sense of my left-wing sister-in-law's ranings at Shabbos dinner the night before, asked me about it. I blurted out unthinkingly (usually I try to be circumspect in public as to avoid a scene), "The Democrats want to end the war now when they can still find somebody to surrender to." To my surprise, the dads around me cracked up. Not very grammatical, but to the point.
An excellent article, right up to the "Murtha Update". Murtha not only should be included in the turncoat category, he gets a seat at the head of the table.

With respect to military ops in general, go back to Somolia. At the first sign of a problem he spoke loudly to cut and run. With respect to our current situation in Iraq, this "hawk" has been virulently opposed to the war since day one.

He gets a pass because he was a Marine. So was Duke Cunningham. I'm not questioning Mr. Murtha's service (as I have Kerry's), simply his judgement with regard to military matters. The first was honorable, the latter sucks.
I'm definitely sticking to the idea that Murtha isn't so much a turncoat as he is just woefully confused on the issues anymore. As linked by Instapundit (read by everyone) and later by mine (which no one reads ;), Slate does a good job of showing that Murtha contradicts himself on his own talking points.

Somalia, as noted by Murtha's comments during that conflict, was one of the biggest debacles for US policy in that they literally snatched defeat from the jaws of a very hard fought and amazingly won victory. It was a breach of trust to pull out the soldiers then and would be an even larger one to do so in Iraq.
Far too many Democrats would rather lose in Iraq if it means they can win elections at home. This gross partisan-fueled irresponsibility calls into question not only their patriotism (finally we can ask the all-too-obvious question) and their competence to lead the nation, but their very sanity.

If they should force defeat upon us in Iraq when victory is just a matter of time necessary to complete the mission, how do they propose to win the rest of the war on terror with a defeated, demoralized Army that was not allowed to win?

With spitballs (credit to Sen. Zell Miller)? Absurd.
Two ways to lead a parade.
The first one requires that you select a route, hire a band, put some floats together, advertise the event, get support,etc.
The second way is, You see a band and some floats heading down the road and you run out , get in front and try to figure out where the crowd is going so you can stay in front.
I've commented quite a bit about the Democrats' dilemma on my blog. I think the understanding of history for many Democrats is snagged between the Progressive Era and the Vietnam War, so they cannot easily understand what 9-11 did to the rest of America.
How do we win this war when our schools and universities are full of left wing military haters? One professor at a college in Ohio laughed at Christians who prayed right after 911. This person complained that it took too long to shop because the stores were full of people trying to buy flags. This is the attitude young people in America are hearing every day.
The Democrats mistook months of silence for agreement. They yelled, their MSM amplified, the cycle continued (the "neverending campaign" style of the 1990s that W refused to buy into), and they lulled themselves into thinking a quiet White House meant a week White House. They forgot, again, that Bush is from Texas.
Difference between Iraq and Vietnam:

1. US casualties almost 3 years in Iraq: 2.100

US casualties 3 years in Vietnam 1967-1969: 39.000

2. US casualties in Iraq when media and liberals are loosing the war have averages 15 per week. US casualties in Vietnam when same forces eroded popular support in 1968 averaged 500 dead per week.

3. Active US enemies during Vietnam war: North Vietnam, Soviet Union, China.

During Iraq war: A few Muslims fanatics in pjamas.

4. Military budget share of 9.5% GDP in 1968, 4% in 2004.

Cost of Vietnam war 2-3% of GDP per year, cost of Iraq war
0.6-0.7% of GDP per year now.

But here is something that should scare you. The media is supposed to be less leftwing now no? The country overall more rightwing? Yet with 2.000 casualties the left has managed to panic the American people almost as much as 40.000 casualties were needed two generations ago.

How hard is it going to be for the fanatics to defeat America when the left has rotted you from within? A moderate number of casualties and the majority will declare defeat and run. As a European who sees the US as the main hope of humanity I am deeply worried.
People who do not know their history cannot truly understand Benedict Arnold, and why he was so despised in early America. In fact, Benedict was one of our greatest WAR HEROES, having been given command of the army of the North. It was his previously unquestioned heroism and leadership which made his ultimate betrayal so odious.

So those who claim that their previous service, or previous heroism should insulate themselves from charges of treason have never learned the lesson of Benedict Arnold - that heroes can become traitors.

So the question remains, "What is the current status of people such as Kerry, Murtha, and McCain?" Their status is based upon their current actions and their current words, not on some long ago service. It is not in any way contradictory to call a former hero a traitor if his current actions warrant such an accusation.
As for the answer to the question, McCain has stood firm in supporting his country, while the other two have been less so. Whether Murtha or Kerry have crossed the line to become traitors is a question I will allow everyone to answer for themselves.
It is not so much of a stretch to believe that some non-Bush partisans hope for defeat in Iraq so that Bush can be blamed. Remember that after being relieved for the second and final time, Gen. McClellan hoped for Union battlefield defeats in the Civil War so that he could use them against Lincoln in the presidential election. Faulkner teaches us that the past is not only not dead, it is not even past.
You stated:
"Today it finally dawned on me: They want out because they now recognize we will soon achieve victory!"

While I agree victory is near, the Dems aren't calling for a pull-out in order create a failure from a success. They see success coming and THEY want to claim credit for it.

The US coalition will soon achieve most of what it wanted to do in Iraq - depose Hussein and bring him to justice, create a democratic government, have the Iraqis police their own affairs, etc. This is all on the horizon with the first real government to be delivered on Dec. 15, Hussein on trial, and Iraqi police/military performing a greater and greater role in their own security. With this, the US can very likely draw down troop levels to some degree in 2006.

I think the Dems will use the opportunity (and are starting now) to confuse cause and effect. What have the Dems been arguing - the presence of our troops is the cause of the problem. So, as Iraq quiets and as troops levels come down, they will claim the removal of the troops is what caused the Iraq situation to improve (not that Iraq is better off because our troops did their jobs). Of course, they can point to their statements of the last few weeks and say, "Hey, we were for pulling out in Nov. 2005."
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