Invested in Defeat

Jonathan D. Strong
While political partisanship is the norm, rather than the exception, in Washington D.C., leaders from both sides of the aisle have historically come together for the sake of unity and for the good of the nation during a time of war or crisis.  The Iraq War, like Vietnam, is the exception to this historical pattern.  However, not only have the Democrats come out against the war as a party, they have invested themselves in an American defeat.
Through this political investment, the Democrats have framed the debate so that any victory by American lead forces in Iraq would result in a political defeat for Democrats at home.  This is a tragedy for the country, and also for the Democratic Party.

In 2002, Senator Hillary Clinton stated clearly:
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security."(source)
Other Democrat leaders have made similar statements including John Edwards, John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, and Joe Biden.  Their decision to turn on the war effort in Iraq is a sad reflection of either their political opportunism or disingenuous support of the initial attack against the regime of Saddam Hussein.  That mistakes have been made is no reason to flip flop on the war effort.  Mistakes are a part of war.  It is necessary to adapt and change your strategy to defeat your enemy, just as the enemy will always adapt its own strategy to prevent their own defeat.  President Bush has acknowledged on several occasions that he is guilty of making mistakes in the prosecution of the Iraq War, but every war time President since George Washington is guilty of the same inevitability.

In June of 2005, Senator Joe Biden joined with Sen. John McCain in suggesting that more troops were needed in Iraq despite that President Bush believed sufficient forces were in place at the time.(source)  The Democrats have also accused the President of tying Saddam's Iraq to 9/11.  The President has never suggested that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks; the President did adopt the doctrine of preemption which Democrats have, now, roundly rejected.  Indeed, by rejecting preemption, the Democrats are effectively telling the American people and our allies that the United States must wait to be attacked before acting in its own defense.

Democrats have restrained themselves from criticism of the war in Afghanistan, but fail to acknowledge that it was not the Taliban who attacked the United States on 9/11, just as Saddam did not carry out the 9/11 attacks.  They thereby are supportive of the President's policy to hunt down and destroy those that support and harbor terrorists as the Taliban did.  The dishonesty in this for the Democrats is that Saddam supported and harbored terrorists for decades.  It is widely known that he paid the families of suicide bombers and allowed Al Qaeda figures to hide in Iraq before and after 9/11 as Mrs. Clinton acknowledged in 2002.  The inconsistencies of the Democratic Party's principles in war fighting are far reaching and endanger the security of the United States.

The Democrats have now positioned themselves politically so that they can only benefit if America suffers a defeat in Iraq.  If the President's troop surge results in the pacification of Baghdad and significant increase in the stability of the country, the President will be proven right and the Democrats wrong.  More sadly, rising casualties in Iraq will benefit the Democrats so long as they advocate a strategy of "the faster we pull out, the better". 

Most frightening is the inability of the Democratic leadership to grasp that American credibility in the world is at stake.  This lesson should have been learned after America's defeat in Vietnam.  The premature withdrawal of the United States from that country and the refusal by a Democrat controlled Congress to fund and supply South Vietnam's fight against the Viet Cong helped to spur Soviet aggression in other parts of South Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.  It would take many years under the leadership of Ronald Reagan for America to recover from its loss of face in Vietnam

It is incontrovertible that failure in Iraq will lead to a similar loss of American credibility throughout the world and will face an increase in aggression from radical Islam against American and Western interests throughout the world.  The President was exactly right when he noted that no Congressman or Senator voted for defeat in Iraq during his State of the Union Speech.  While mistakes have been made in Iraq and over 3,000 soldiers lost, America can ill afford to suffer a defeat in the most strategically important area of the world.  This is especially true as Iran flexes its nuclear muscle in defiance of the international community. 

The United States lost 19,000 men during the Battle of the Bulge, but that victory led to the ultimate defeat of the Nazis and paved the way for a free Europe.  The battle for peace in Iraq is just as important today as the Battle of the Bulge was in 1944.  We must win.
While political partisanship is the norm, rather than the exception, in Washington D.C., leaders from both sides of the aisle have historically come together for the sake of unity and for the good of the nation during a time of war or crisis.  The Iraq War, like Vietnam, is the exception to this historical pattern.  However, not only have the Democrats come out against the war as a party, they have invested themselves in an American defeat.
Through this political investment, the Democrats have framed the debate so that any victory by American lead forces in Iraq would result in a political defeat for Democrats at home.  This is a tragedy for the country, and also for the Democratic Party.

In 2002, Senator Hillary Clinton stated clearly:
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security."(source)
Other Democrat leaders have made similar statements including John Edwards, John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, and Joe Biden.  Their decision to turn on the war effort in Iraq is a sad reflection of either their political opportunism or disingenuous support of the initial attack against the regime of Saddam Hussein.  That mistakes have been made is no reason to flip flop on the war effort.  Mistakes are a part of war.  It is necessary to adapt and change your strategy to defeat your enemy, just as the enemy will always adapt its own strategy to prevent their own defeat.  President Bush has acknowledged on several occasions that he is guilty of making mistakes in the prosecution of the Iraq War, but every war time President since George Washington is guilty of the same inevitability.

In June of 2005, Senator Joe Biden joined with Sen. John McCain in suggesting that more troops were needed in Iraq despite that President Bush believed sufficient forces were in place at the time.(source)  The Democrats have also accused the President of tying Saddam's Iraq to 9/11.  The President has never suggested that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks; the President did adopt the doctrine of preemption which Democrats have, now, roundly rejected.  Indeed, by rejecting preemption, the Democrats are effectively telling the American people and our allies that the United States must wait to be attacked before acting in its own defense.

Democrats have restrained themselves from criticism of the war in Afghanistan, but fail to acknowledge that it was not the Taliban who attacked the United States on 9/11, just as Saddam did not carry out the 9/11 attacks.  They thereby are supportive of the President's policy to hunt down and destroy those that support and harbor terrorists as the Taliban did.  The dishonesty in this for the Democrats is that Saddam supported and harbored terrorists for decades.  It is widely known that he paid the families of suicide bombers and allowed Al Qaeda figures to hide in Iraq before and after 9/11 as Mrs. Clinton acknowledged in 2002.  The inconsistencies of the Democratic Party's principles in war fighting are far reaching and endanger the security of the United States.

The Democrats have now positioned themselves politically so that they can only benefit if America suffers a defeat in Iraq.  If the President's troop surge results in the pacification of Baghdad and significant increase in the stability of the country, the President will be proven right and the Democrats wrong.  More sadly, rising casualties in Iraq will benefit the Democrats so long as they advocate a strategy of "the faster we pull out, the better". 

Most frightening is the inability of the Democratic leadership to grasp that American credibility in the world is at stake.  This lesson should have been learned after America's defeat in Vietnam.  The premature withdrawal of the United States from that country and the refusal by a Democrat controlled Congress to fund and supply South Vietnam's fight against the Viet Cong helped to spur Soviet aggression in other parts of South Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East.  It would take many years under the leadership of Ronald Reagan for America to recover from its loss of face in Vietnam

It is incontrovertible that failure in Iraq will lead to a similar loss of American credibility throughout the world and will face an increase in aggression from radical Islam against American and Western interests throughout the world.  The President was exactly right when he noted that no Congressman or Senator voted for defeat in Iraq during his State of the Union Speech.  While mistakes have been made in Iraq and over 3,000 soldiers lost, America can ill afford to suffer a defeat in the most strategically important area of the world.  This is especially true as Iran flexes its nuclear muscle in defiance of the international community. 

The United States lost 19,000 men during the Battle of the Bulge, but that victory led to the ultimate defeat of the Nazis and paved the way for a free Europe.  The battle for peace in Iraq is just as important today as the Battle of the Bulge was in 1944.  We must win.