FROM THE HALLS OF MALIBU TO THE SHORES OF KENNEDY
September 12, 2007
Democrats claim Gen. David Petraeus' report to Congress on the surge was a put-up job with a pre-ordained conclusion. As if their response wasn't.
Democrats yearn for America to be defeated on the battlefield and oppose any use of the military -- except when they can find individual malcontents in the military willing to denounce the war and call for a humiliating retreat.
It's been the same naysaying from these people since before we even invaded Iraq -- despite the fact that their representatives in Congress voted in favor of that war.
Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down," warned Americans in the Aug. 30, 2002, Los Angeles Times of 60,000 to 100,000 dead American troops if we invaded Iraq -- comparing an Iraq war to Vietnam and a Russian battle in Chechnya. He said Iraqis would fight the Americans "tenaciously" and raised the prospect of Saddam using weapons of mass destruction against our troops, an attack on Israel "and possibly in the United States."
On Sept. 14, 2002, The New York Times' Frank Rich warned of another al-Qaida attack in the U.S. if we invaded Iraq, noting that since "major al-Qaida attacks are planned well in advance and have historically been separated by intervals of 12 to 24 months, we will find out how much we've been distracted soon enough."
This week makes it six years since a major al-Qaida attack. I guess we weren't distracted. But it looks like al-Qaida has been.
Weeks before the invasion, in March 2003, the Times' Nicholas Kristof warned in a couple of columns that if we invaded Iraq, "the Turks, Kurds, Iraqis and Americans will all end up fighting over the oil fields of Kirkuk or Mosul." He said: "The world has turned its back on the Kurds more times than I can count, and there are signs that we're planning to betray them again." He announced that "the United States is perceived as the world's newest Libya."
The day after we invaded, Kristof cited a Muslim scholar for the proposition that if Iraqis felt defeated, they would embrace Islamic fundamentalism.
We took Baghdad in 17 days flat with amazingly few casualties. There were no al-Qaida attacks in America, no attacks on Israel, no invasion by Turkey, no attacks on our troops with chemical weapons, no ayatollahs running Iraq. We didn't turn our back on the Kurds. There were certainly not 100,000 dead American troops.
But liberals soon began raising yet more pointless quibbles. For most of 2003, they said the war was a failure because we hadn't captured Saddam Hussein. Then we captured Saddam, and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean complained that "the capture of Saddam has not made America safer." (On the other hand, Howard Dean's failure to be elected president definitely made America safer.)
Next, liberals said the war was a failure because we hadn't captured Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Then we killed al-Zarqawi and a half-dozen of his aides in an air raid. Then they said the war was a failure because ... you get the picture.
The Democrats' current talking point is that "there can be no military solution in Iraq without a political solution." But back when we were imposing a political solution, Democrats' talking point was that there could be no political solution without a military solution.
They said the first Iraqi election, scheduled for January 2005, wouldn't happen because there was no "security."
Noted Middle East peace and security expert Jimmy Carter told NBC's "Today" show in September 2004 that he was confident the elections would not take place. "I personally do not believe they're going to be ready for the election in January ... because there's no security there," he said.
At the first presidential debate in September 2004, Sen. John Kerry used his closing statement to criticize the scheduled Iraqi elections saying: "They can't have an election right now. The president's not getting the job done."
About the same time, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said he doubted there would be elections in January, saying, "You cannot have credible elections if the security conditions continue as they are now" -- although he may have been referring here to a possible vote of the U.N. Security Council.
In October 2004, Nicholas Lemann wrote in The New Yorker that "it may not be safe enough there for the scheduled elections to be held in January."
Days before the first election in Iraq in January 2005, The New York Times began an article on the election this way:
"Hejaz Hazim, a computer engineer who could not find a job in computers and now cleans clothes, slammed his iron into a dress shirt the other day and let off a burst of steam about the coming election.
"'This election is bogus,' Mr. Hazim said. 'There is no drinking water in this city. There is no security. Why should I vote?'"
If there's a more artful articulation of the time-honored linkage between drinking water and voting, I have yet to hear it.
And then, as scheduled, in January 2005, millions of citizens in a country that has never had a free election risked their lives to cast ballots in a free democratic election. They've voted twice more since then.
Now our forces are killing lots of al-Qaida jihadists, preventing another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and giving democracy in Iraq a chance -- and Democrats say we are "losing" this war. I think that's a direct quote from their leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, but it may have been the Osama bin Laden tape released this week. I always get those two confused.
OK, they knew what Petraeus was going to say. But we knew what the Democrats were going to say. If liberals are not traitors, their only fallback argument at this point is that they're stupid.
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