Blinded to Common Enemies

November 3, 2005

Political parties, by definition, engage in politics — obviously. It’s what they do. But the Democratic leadership is so singularly driven by partisan politics that they appear incapable of recognizing our common enemies. They sometimes even seem disinclined to stand behind America when Republicans are running it, for fear of strengthening the latter’s standing.

For example, instead of recognizing the potential avian flu pandemic as a common enemy and joining President Bush in combating the problem, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, to name a few, reflexively chose to castigate Bush for not reacting soon and forcefully enough to prepare the nation. Their remarks were hysterical, and grossly political — even for them.

Their reaction was virtually indistinguishable from their reaction to Katrina. They were simply unable (or unwilling), through their donkey-stained lenses, to see the hurricane as the common enemy and marshal their efforts toward finding solutions. The national disaster provided too grand an opportunity to demonize President Bush.

They read of 2,000 American deaths in Iraq and think, “President Bush’s deceit, imperial adventurism and mismanagement of the war have caused 2,000 Americans to die.” I doubt it ever occurs to them that the casualties, though utterly tragic, have been for a noble cause — one they daily undermine.

It is even less likely that news of American deaths evokes in them a visceral contempt for our common enemy, the bloodthirsty murderers, responsible for them. Such an emotion doesn’t square with their delusional “Bush lied” template.

I was reminded of their monomania yet again when watching Fox News’ “Special Report with Brit Hume,” reporting on the terrorists’ ingenuity in devising new techniques for bombing our troops and Iraqis with IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

The thrust of the story was not all negative. Fox’s Bret Baier interviewed the army’s Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, who said a new IED training facility is opening in Iraq to prepare incoming soldiers for the ever-changing tactics of the enemy.

“We’re making every opportunity to take lessons learned and within 24 hours be able to teach that and put that back out in the field so that the leaders and the soldiers know what they’re up against,” said Lovelace. He said that 40 percent of the IEDs are found and identified before they blow and the casualty rate for each attack is down 45 percent.

My immediate reaction, and I would hope that of most Americans, was, “Our brave soldiers are facing daunting challenges in Iraq from a ruthless enemy and are doing everything they can to overcome them. But above all, they’re dedicated to the cause of Iraqi autonomy and freedom and American security.”

That was not everyone’s reaction. Fox’s cameras next turned to Senate Democrats Barbara Boxer and Chris Dodd, who had just emerged from a meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and were champing at the bit to slam the administration for its “lack of strategy” on Iraq.

Dodd said, “A lot more needs to be done to get this right or you’re going to continue to see an erosion of support here at home and abroad for these policies which have no end in sight.”

Boxer said, “There’s a growing frustration, I think, on both sides of the aisle at how slowly the training of the Iraqi troops and police force is going.

Bret Baier went on to report that our senior commanders say Iraqi forces now number more than 200,000 with a goal of 325,000. Gen. Lovelace explained that though most Iraqi units still need U.S. support, “the little reported fact is that Iraqi troops are controlling more and more battle space.” He pointed out, for instance, that U.S. troops have moved out of a large part of Baghdad as Iraqi forces are controlling security there.

According to Lovelace, the transition may not be occurring as fast as the American people want, but he sees considerable “progress.” You can be sure that the “glass is 90 percent empty” Democrat leaders are among those who see little progress.

But Senate Democrats really outdid themselves this week in creating a false crisis to invoke an esoteric Senate rule to call a closed meeting to demand resumption of a redundant investigation that was already in the process of being wrapped up. To call it a political stunt is euphemism on stilts.

The profound irony of all this is that as long as Democrats continue in this mode — and they seem to have abandoned all others — they radically decrease their chances of returning to the position of national power they crave.