How Low Will They Go?

September 10, 2007

Has the left no remaining ounce of shame? Its latest target: the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, General David Petraeus, whom Senate Democrats unanimously confirmed.

Remember Democrats faulting President Bush for being inflexible, not following the advice of the generals and having no strategy in Iraq — never mind that they’ve never had so much as a paper-napkin sketch of a clue as to what to do in Iraq or the War on Terror? Yet, when he took decisive action that can fairly be said to have addressed all of these criticisms, they reflexively opposed him again, proving once more their allegiance to party over nation.

He replaced Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and appointed Petreaus to implement a new strategy in Iraq, which Democrats tacitly approved in confirming him. But even before the “surge” was fully in place, Democrats declared it a failure.

Now that the surge’s military successes are so manifest that even some recalcitrant Democrats have been forced to admit them, they are doing everything they can to obscure those successes and to force a reversal in strategy that would completely erase them.

Some still deny our military gains. Others — exemplars of legislative excellence that they are — say the gains are irrelevant because of the lack of political progress by the Iraqi parliament. They are demonstrating an astonishing amount of inflexibility themselves, not permitting the facts to interfere with their bias toward failure nor their partisan interests.

In advance of Petraeus’s anticipated report, Democrats not only second-guessed his expected analysis but outright contradicted him, marshaling any and every retired general in sight to impeach his upcoming report. Just once, couldn’t they err on the side of victory instead of willfully rejecting positive reports from those closest to the action and in the best position to know?

Democrats didn’t just disagree with Petraeus’s conclusions, which they hadn’t yet seen, but they attacked him personally, both directly and through their surrogates on the far antiwar left, like, which placed a full page ad in The New York Times calling this genuine America hero and patriot “General Betray Us.”

Does that not make your blood boil? How can decent people come anywhere near this infernal group after such a disgraceful attack?

Then again, MoveOn is not that extreme by today’s Democratic standards, not to mention a formidable funding source. More than a handful of Democrats in Congress brutally slammed Petraeus in the week preceding his testimony. More piled on as the hearings began.

Sen. John Kerry called the Iraq mission “disastrous.” Sen. Ted Kennedy accused the administration, through Petraeus, of “playing for delay.” Sen. Chuck Schumer said the violence in Anbar had decreased in spite of the surge, not because of it, and that American troops had failed to protect the “tribes.” Too despicable for comment.

Sen. John Edwards mocked Bush’s “so-called global war on terror” and said America is less safe than it was before the 2001 terrorist attacks. We can only hope that someone makes Edwards eat the words “so-called global war on terror.”

Sen. Joe Biden, who voted to authorize the Iraq War resolution and who earlier advised against setting a specific timetable for withdrawal of our forces from Iraq is now demanding withdrawal. I’m sure Biden’s faltering presidential campaign had nothing to do with his reversals.

Contrary to the weight of the available evidence, Biden said the administration’s policy and the surge are failures and that “there is no security in Baghdad or Anbar province.” In a shameless allusion to Vietnam, Biden said he believed “absolutely, positively, unequivocally” that if we didn’t change course in Iraq, “helicopters would be evacuating Americans from the Green Zone in Baghdad within two years.”

But accusing Bush and Petraeus of ongoing incompetence wasn’t enough. Sen. Richard Durbin accused Petraeus of “carefully manipulating the statistics” in favor of the surge. Sen. Harry Reid essentially called Petraeus a liar. Rep. Nancy Pelosi called Petraeus’s report “the Bush report,” and Sen. Dianne Feinstein likewise challenged Petraeus’s “independence.”

Rep. Tom Lantos insulted Petraeus as the hearings began, implying that Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker were just political shills for the administration (“they are delivering a report for the White House”) who “were sent here this morning to restore credibility to a discredited policy.” Lantos added, “No amount of charts or statistics will improve (the administration’s) credibility.” And: “The surge has failed.”

In his impressive testimony, the general blew these slanderers out of the water. He denied that generals cited by Democrats disagreed with his recommendations, gave an optimistic but modest assessment of the surge, and emphatically asserted his independence and authorship of the report, which “has not been cleared nor shared by anyone in the Pentagon, the White House or the congress until it was just handed out.” It was a sight to behold.

To answer my opening question: No, the left truly seems to have lost all shame.