Wobbly knees in Congress
The resolution passed by the Senate yesterday was interpreted by some as a slap in the face to President Bush, but it really didn't mean very much. It simply declared that there will be a "significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty" next year, and it would be hard to argue against that. Even Bush welcomed the measure as he began his trip to Asia, with perhaps equal measures of sincerity and face-saving. Sen. John Warner, normally a stalwart on defense matters but also a bit too fond of conciliating with Democrat adversaries, was among those who expressed frustrations felt by the American people. Hugh Hewitt (via Instapundit) chronicled the pandering comments, noting that Markos crowed that Republicans are "plagiarizing" their issues, proving that the Democrats have taken back the mantle of being "the party of ideas." Ugh.
Today Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) went a step further, announcing he was introducing a bill calling for a prompt withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq. For such a drastic measure, he offered a surprisingly weak rationale:
"The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. ... It's a flawed policy wrapped in illusion." SOURCE: Washington Post
"Flawed"? Based on "illusion"? Well, the same thing could be said about every war this nation, or any nation, has ever fought! Valley Forge, Bull Run, Little Bighorn, Pearl Harbor, Kasserine Pass, Anzio, the Bulge: one devastating setback after another, and yet somehow we came out ahead. For Pete's sake! War is a chaotic, ugly, frustrating mess, and always has been. Deception is part and parcel of a winning strategy, 99 percent of the time. Ironically, Murtha is correct to say that "the war in Iraq is not going as advertised," inasmuch as the "advertisers" in the mainstream media -- from whence most Americans get their news and form their opinions -- have been portraying the war in an unduly negative light. Only those who lack historical grounding would fall for Murtha's naive, school boy reasoning. He literally choked back tears as he recalled his 27 years of military service, invoking the worn-out "chicken hawk" retort to pro-war folks. He should know better than that. An abrupt U.S. withdrawal now, just as the next round of elections is going forward, would have devastating consequences for the Iraqi people, which is why no responsible leader seriously contemplates it. At least Murtha sounded sincere and concerned about the national interest, in sharp contrast to those such as Democrat Senators Dick Durbin or Harry Reid, who have become virtual cheerleaders of defeatism.
The greater significance of the Senate resolution, perversely, was that it may encourage the terrorists and undermine the Iraqi government. The silver lining around the gray clouds of gloom is that all this political cacaphony in Washington is ultimately irrelevant to the delicate task of handing over more and more responsibility to the Iraqis. No finger-pointing or grandstanding in Washington will change the facts on the ground in Baghdad, and no silly protests by Cindy Sheehan will sway most Americans. Because our government is firmly committed to seeing through this vital historical task, Iraqis will get an excellent chance to set up their own government, and unless most of them are incredibly fearful or short-sighted, leaders will emerge to take up the reins of self rule. Why? Because they share common interests in maintaining commercial ties with the United States, which is very fortunate to have such superb, dedicated soldiers, and a president who is determined to prevail. That doesn't mean total victory or elimination of terrorism, but simply the creation of a new political dynamic in the Middle East that favors more liberal, limited governmental systems. Once that trend gets underway, the proud (though premature) words "Mission Accomplished" will have greater resonance.