General Petraeus and the Democrats


We have observed the Democrat Party as currently comprised in full garish and unhinged display during the General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker Iraq briefings before Congress recently.  It was all troop reductions, benchmarks, time tables, withdrawl, surrender and defeat. 

And one can only wonder, what became of the great Democratic Party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy, the one that took on the twin totalitarian evils of Naziism and Communism, the one that committed the necessary resources and manpower to win a world war and then a Cold War.  The party that put into the field the assets and troops needed to defeat Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo in three years and then Soviet Communism.  The party that inspired the nation to commit itself to the long struggles and endure the horrendous losses in blood and treasure.  The Democratic party that ordered the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end WWII and gave us the Marshall Plan, NATO, the CIA, the US Air Force, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and that saved South Korea from a communist takeover. 

But the post McGovern, post Vietnam Democrat party is cut from a different cloth.  The radical, countercultural anti Vietnam, anti war, anti military movement that began in the sixties took root and found a comfortable home in the new Democratic party.  That same movement infected the media, Hollywood, and our universities and schools, injecting its destructive ideologies and beliefs into society's mainstream, eroding our most vital institutions and values including marriage, family, religion, and patriotism.  But mainly they set up camp in the Democratic Party.

What we heard from Democrats (and some Republicans) during the Congressional briefings with Petreaus and Crocker was more of what we have heard since the war went south several years ago.  The same party that voted overwhelmingly to go to war when it was popular turned tail and opposed it when it realized there was political hay to be made with their fringe base and perhaps with a plurality of the country. 

And admittedly much has gone wrong with the war, and in particular, the implementation and planning for the aftermath of Saddam Hussein's defeat.  Yes, George Bush and his closest advisors should be criticized and even condemned for a deeply flawed performance.  And there would be more than enough room in the political debate for an activist Democratic Party to have challenged Bush and called for changes in war tactics and strategy to strengthen our efforts rather then the relentless efforts they pursued to undermine them.  This, in fact, would be desirable and beneficial to our country. 

But Democrats, for political purposes, chose instead to embarrass their country and our troops, to compromise the Iraq enterprise and war effort, and to provide aid and comfort to the enemy by giving them hope of a political collapse on the homefront ala Vietnam and providing endless propaganda to be used abroad to recruit and turn opinion against us.

We heard endlessly from the Democrats about Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, wire taps, interrogation, illegal prisons, surveillance, torture, illegal detentions, Geneva conventions, military tribunals, and the Patriot Act.  They were obsessed, it seemed, not with winning the war but protecting the rights of our enemies.  They took every opportunity not to strengthen our position but to embarrass and undermine their nation and those charged with protecting us while providing endless sound bytes and video snippets to be used around the world for propaganda and recruiting purposes by our adversaries.  They made scandalous comparisons of our troops to Nazis and Stalinists, or even terrorists, called for surrender and retreat in the middle of a war, as if hearkening back to what modern Democrats seem to consider their greatest moment, the defeat of their nation in Vietnam. 

But since the surge and the counterterrorist strategy employed by General Petraeus was fully employed, there has been visible evidence of progress.  There has been a signicant decrease in civilian casualties, bombings, mortar attacks, and American troop losses.  Ethnosectarian violence is down.  There has been political progress.  Benchmarks are being reached (see recent legislation on such politically sensitive matters as amnesty, de-Baathification, and provincial elections).  Sunnis are joining the effort to rebuild their country and participate in the new Iraq while rejecting al-Quaeda.  Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (often criticized for being too sectarian) is confronting and thwarting Iran-backed Shiite militias and criminal gangs.  Oil Revenues are booming and are being shared.  Sunni tribal leaders are working with US forces as are some 90,000 rank and file Sunni "Sons of Iraq."  Political reconciliation between the various sects, particularly Sunnis and Shiites, is taking place.  Refugees are returning.  Al Quaeda is on the run, cleared from sanctuaries in Anbar and Baghdad.  The Iraqi military and security forces are making strides and more and more appears willing to fight (notwithstanding a lukewarm performance in Basra recently; yes, there is room for improvement).  The Iraqi economy is growing.  Inflation is down.  Life there has improved and the possiblity of a viable, even prosperous and successful democracy in Mesopotamia, in the heart of the despotic Arab Middle East seems possible.  There is also no longer a dangerous dictator on the loose with oil wealth, and the intent and wherewithal to obtain weapons of mass destruction, a tyrant who massacared his own people and twice invaded neighboring nations and attacked Israel with missiles.  This progress though is fragile and reversible and still contingent on a vigorous American presence. 

There is much to be hopeful for if but our nation and its political leaders would gather around the project, endorse and support it, criticize it constructively where needed (and there is much to criticize), but present a unifed front and push to victory. 

Victory in Iraq with a prosperous and democratic Arab state in the heart of the Middle East would represent a great triumph, a uniquely and historic American achievement, that would push the cause of freedom, human rights, liberty and democracy forward in a dark and violent region run by autocrats and dictators, a wonderful example for the Arab and Muslim nations and the entire world.  It would be a decisive blow against our mortal enemies, the Jihadists.  It would be a symbol of American committment to freedom and democracy and a demonstration of American power at its best, pursuing noble causes while protecting American interests abroad and at home.  It would offer encouragement to freedom lovers and democratic reformers everywhere including in the most autocratic states, most particulary, the Arab Middle East. 

A defeat or premature withdrawl on the other hand assures defeat and chaos, and most likely a genocidal blood bath replete with ethnic cleansing, and a victory for our enemies and the Jihadist movement.  It would be a defeat for democracy movements and reformers everywhere.  It would be a defeat for American power and prestige as in Vietnam, only worse because here the enemy has global intentions and would follow us home and elsewhere unlike the North Vietnamese.  A defeat here and untimely departure with the ensuing devastation would also strengthen Iran and Syria's influence and power in the region immeasurably.  Terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas and others would be emboldened.  The world economy, dependent on oil from the Middle East, would be under threat.  This already volatile region would be further destabilized with negative consequences for the US and the world.  There would most likely be an escalating arms race between the Persians and their allies and Sunni states.  This would lead inevitably to nuclear proliferation as Sunni states decide to pursue nuclear weapons for fear of Iranian intentions and realistic concerns that a weakened, demoralized US would be unwilling or unable to protect them.  Instead of a stable Middle East gradually evolving towards democracy with democratic Iraq as its model, we would have blood shed, instability, and chaos, a perfect recipe that would ensure a return to the region by the US in the future under far less advantageous circumstances and much greater cost. 

So why do the Democrats insist on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory when most indications show steady progress politically and militarily in Iraq?  Why, despite the evidence of the success of the surge do they ignore that evidence and whine unendingly about withdrawl of troops as if we did not still have troops in South Korea, Europe, and Japan (and Bosnia) long after those conflicts ended?  Why do they insist that we withdraw before the job is completed, ensuring defeat and untold death and suffering, a reversal of the cause of freedom and democracy and the interests of their nation?  Why do they continue yammering about benchmarks, civil war, Maliki, and cost (yes, it is expensive but war always is, and the cost of collapse in Iraq is far greater), when clearly this is a battle we must win?

Because they are invested in defeat and see and seek political advantage in an American disaster in Iraq even though it damages their own country and its military.  Because they came of age in the sixties, absorbed the values and ideologies of that era, and see the last American defeat in Vietnam as their signal achievment.  Because they prefer a weakened America, a demoralized America, an America that subordinates itself to corrupt international bodies such as the UN or the socialist EU, an America that, as they see it, will desperately need their help.  Because a defeated America serves their interests and political and ideologic agenda.  Because they have inhaled the vapors of anti Americanism that emerged in that most corrupted of decades, the sixties, and persists today in leftist, Jihadist, socialist centers around the world.  Because they ultimately agree with our critics overseas that America is the primary source of evil in the world and the greatest threat to world peace, an America that needs to be weakened, chastened, and brought to heel, rather than strengthened and emboldened.  Because they see their nation as racist, xenophobic, sexist, militaristic, and imperialistic (all standard leftist babble) rather than as the ultimate example of what is right in the planet, a model for nations and reformers to follow everywhere, the guarantor of peace, prosperity, and stability around the world.

Would it not be wonderful if the once great Democratic Party endorsed the cause of liberty and freedom abroad and supported its own nation in a time of crisis and war as it once did?  


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