Racing for Defeat

February 19, 2007

I hope those who dismissed the consequences of a Democratic takeover in Congress last November are beginning to see the error of their ways. With each passing day the Democratic leadership is becoming more extreme and urgent in undermining America’s cause in Iraq.

President Bush’s 21,000-troop surge is well underway, and its accompanying strategy to secure Baghdad proceeds apace. Now, more than ever, our troops need our moral and spiritual support. Now, more than ever, Democrats — and a disturbing number of Republicans — are withdrawing it. Their actions are unconscionable.

Two weeks ago, we saw their failed resolution denouncing the build-up of American troops in Iraq. Over the weekend, they tried again, unsuccessfully.

On Friday, the House passed such a resolution by a comfortable vote of 246-182. But when Senate Republicans succeeded in blocking the resolution in the Senate, Democrats threw a tantrum, saying Republicans were stifling debate.

Why is it so hard for these people to tell the truth? Republicans didn’t shut down debate. They did the opposite. They refused to allow cloture on the resolution because Democrats refused to allow consideration of other proposals. It is their way or the highway.

Republicans were quite willing to allow a vote on the Democrats’ resolution if Democrats would have permitted a vote on the Republican’s resolution pledging not to de-fund the troops in Iraq. But Democrats refused because the GOP resolution would have compelled Democrats to take a more meaningful stand and prevented them from having it both ways on the issue.

So far, Democrats have positioned themselves as winners if the surge doesn’t work, but protected themselves if it does by stopping short of cutting off funds. But a vote on the GOP resolution would have forced their hand: getting them on the record on the funding issue.

If they voted for the resolution, they would infuriate the base. If they voted against it, it would be much harder for them to pretend they support the troops. That’s why it was projected to draw the grudging support of some 75 Democrats. They had to block a vote on it.

Voting for a resolution pledging not to withdraw funding would also show the abject meaninglessness of their resolution opposing the surge. There is no greater dagger to the heart of self-important politicians than to be exposed as insignificant.

Unfortunately for us, these politicians are significant, and so are their disgraceful actions. Despite their semantic gyrations, they are undermining the troops and America’s war effort. You don’t support the troops by sabotaging their mission and strategy — a strategy designed by the general in charge no less, whose appointment as commander of the coalition forces in Iraq they just unanimously approved. You don’t support the troops by continually giving verbal comfort to the enemy. You don’t support the troops by lobbying for their and America’s defeat.

If you are still unconvinced these antiwar politicians are damaging the war effort by their words alone, just wait. In their mounting frustration, they may soon go beyond mere words.

Congressman Murtha has threatened to push a shameful series of “slow-bleed” measures to accomplish indirectly what he can’t achieve directly: our immediate withdrawal.

Senate Democrats said they would pursue means other than nonbinding resolutions to change Iraq policy. Sen. Chuck Schumer said that Democrats would be relentless in their campaign to end the Iraq war. “There will be resolution after resolution, amendment after amendment … Just like in the days of Vietnam, the pressure will mount … and the vast majority of our troops will have to be taken out of harm’s way.”

Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton, recognizing the futility of her latest effort to appease the foaming base because she refused an outright apology for her Iraq war vote, threw it a slab of red meat this time, calling for a 90-day deadline to begin a troop withdrawal. Hillary also threatened to put some teeth in the proposal, saying if the “redeployment” doesn’t start in 90 days, Congress should “revoke authorization for this war.”

The world’s smartest women watched Sen. Obama being heckled for suggesting the less drastic, though no less arbitrary withdrawal deadline of March 2008. She was not about to miss a chance to leapfrog over the hapless neophyte to the farthest reaches of the left lane.

Democrats deny they have a plan for America’s defeat in Iraq. They’re correct. They have many such plans, and they’re in competition with each other to see who can get it done the quickest. Elections matter.