Sacrificing the National Interest
September 28, 2006
The New York Times has again selectively leaked sensitive national security information, this time cherry picking an April National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report to support the left’s template that our attack on Iraq has spawned more terrorism. In response, President Bush declassified other portions of the report to complete the picture.
If anything, on balance the report emphasizes how critical Iraq is to our ultimate victory in the war on terror. But how dare Bush defend himself?
Caught crying wolf again, Democrats have pulled a familiar trick out of their playbooks. They are demanding Bush declassify the entire document, knowing he cannot afford to comply and reveal secrets to the enemy, to create the false impression that he has something to hide. In the meantime, the national interest be damned.
Democrats pulled the same kind of stunt during Miguel Estrada’s Senate confirmation hearings for the appellate bench. As one of their bogus excuses for filibustering Estrada seven times, they said the White House was not forthcoming enough about Estrada’s record. So they demanded the release of intra-office memoranda Estrada had written from 1992 to 1997 as assistant solicitor general.
The White House properly refused to release the memos because it would set a dangerous precedent and have a chilling effect on the willingness of government counsel to give frank advice. All seven living former solicitors general, three having served under Democratic presidents, sent a letter to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy to dissuade him from pursuing the memos. They said the memos were highly privileged and such an intrusion “would come at the cost of the Solicitor General’s ability to defend vigorously the United States’ litigation interests … “
But this bipartisan plea didn’t deter these partisan-intoxicated senators from their bad faith mission. They would do whatever it took to block this highly qualified, honorable nominee, even if it meant damaging the national interest. If you don’t detect a pernicious pattern here, you’re not looking hard enough.
Just like their witch hunt against Estrada, they have been trying to discredit President Bush’s justifiable invasion of Iraq, which they supported at the time. I don’t suppose we’ll ever hear the end of this charge that our attack on Iraq has created more terrorists.
It’s understandable that they insist on dwelling in the past since they are incapable of offering any alternative policy on Iraq. But what, finally, is the point of their relentless cacophony? How does it contribute, constructively, to our policy on Iraq?
Their obvious point is that we were not justified in attacking Iraq. Does that mean they believe we should withdraw now? Well, they just aren’t sure, are they? They can’t even build a consensus around that issue. So their only purpose in repeatedly leveling the charge is to discredit President Bush and score political points. You see, Democrats believe that if they can show — which they cannot — that our attack on Iraq set back our cause in the war on terror, President Bush and Republicans will be revealed as inept in conducting the war and safeguarding our national security.
But the truth is that we were justified in attacking Iraq for a number of reasons, including that Saddam’s Iraq was a terrorist-sponsoring state and thus a threat to the region, to us and to our allies. We ended Iraq’s support of terrorism when we deposed Saddam.
That’s when round 2 began, as insurgents and terrorists stepped in to reconvert Iraq to a terrorist haven. The terrorists are the ones who have made Iraq a terrorist battleground — not because they are mad that we attacked secular Saddam, but because they don’t want a democratic beachhead in the Middle East, or a victory for the United States in the war on terror. They prosper in the shadows and die in the light of democracies and pluralistic societies.
If Democrats want to cling to the deluded belief that Saddam’s Iraq was innocuous, not pursuing WMD, not violating U.N. and post-war treaties, not a threat to us and the region, let them dwell in the perverse nostalgia of their revised history.
Democrats can remain in denial, but Iraq is part of the war on terror again because the terrorists have chosen to make it so, just like they chose to attack us on 9/11. The April NIE report makes clear that our victory in Iraq is essential to our victory in the war on terror. If you want to spawn more terrorism, try withdrawing precipitously from Iraq and see how that emboldens Al Qaeda’s cause.
How can it reasonably be denied that Democrats are behaving as though they want to hand the terrorists their first major victory?