January 12, 2007
A thoughtful 'primal scream' on Iraq
Posted by: Chris
A hearty "Amen, brother!" to my friend Terry Michael, for his blistering critique of how Democrats rolled over for the president in the months leading up to the Iraq war. And worse yet, as Terry points out, they're still rolling over — though, I would add, for the opposite reason.
Even though Terry's "primal scream" is from the left, it found a home in a right-wing newspaper— the Washington Times — that no doubt considers the enemy of its enemy its friend:
Like millions of other Americans, I can no longer contain the primal scream I want to direct at the members of my party who declined to engage a real debate in the run-up to this completely avoidable misjudgment of old men and women, willing to send boys and girls to die for their ideological hallucinations and political cowardice.
Non-existent, and certainly non-threatening WMDs. A secularist paper-tiger dictator, despised by the Islamist lunatics who actually had anything to do with Sept. 11. A tribal, theocratic culture with zero indigenous movement for pluralistic democracy.
All of those things were knowable when congressional Democrats like Mr. Biden had an opportunity to stop this madness before it started. Some of them actually shared the neoconservative pretensions of a new American imperialism. But most just quaked in their permanent campaign boots, fearing being labeled Cold War-style liberal wimps.
Spot-on. You could see it in their faces during the "debate" over whether to authorize President Bush to use force in Iraq. Led by White House wannabe's like John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat after Democrat sent our soldiers to die to protect their own political hides. To my mind, that makes them much more culpable than the zealous Republicans (and Democrats like Joe Lieberman) who drank the kool-aid and still haven't come to.
And it also ought disqualify them from eligibility for the White House, absent a serious mea culpa and a sense that the mistake won't be repeated. Since Kerry was also wrong on Iraq in '91 (voting against the Persian Gulf War), his judgment on questions of war and peace is beyond redemption.
But the Democrats — even basking in the glory of newfound power — are writing another chapter in "Profiles Lacking Courage." More from Terry:
Trying to finesse their way out of their Faustian bargain, Democrats now engage in a transparent antiwar vamp, with limp proposals to implement the September 11 commission report and half-measures opposing escalation. … Where are the Gordon Smith's in the Democratic Party? Where are the conviction politicians willing to spend political capital to lead a citizenry which has decided overwhelmingly that this war is crazy? …
Instead, the only place I can find truth speaking to power is on a cable TV comedy channel, not in the chambers of what used to be called the greatest deliberative body in the world. Is anybody out there willing to lead?
There are lions like Gordon Smith in the Democratic Party, and none roars louder than Ted Kennedy, who has consistently opposed the war and did so again in a stirring call-against-arms this week. And Kennedy did more than talk, he introduced a bill that would require approval from Congress before additional troops go to fight an unjust and ill-conceived war. But Kennedy is the exception among Democrats, many of whom are still afraid to engage the GOP on "national security" matters, only proving they are the wimps they are afraid Republicans will make them out to be.
But now there's an additional, even more cynical reason that many Democrats will say only so much as to preserve their political options. At this point, Iraq is not just George Bush's mess, it's the Republicans' mess. Consider the party's '08 front-runner, John McCain, who until this week could deflect his support for the war by claiming it was carried out ineptly. This week the president called McCain's bluff, since sending more troops is exactly what McCain has been advocating for months. If the result isn't successful, then McCain will have to out-maneuver the likes of John Kerry to explain himself to voters.
So for many Democrats, the mess is someone else's, and with no easy solutions it's best to let them face the clean-up. And the worse the mess, the worse the political fallout for Republicans. On the other hand, responding to Kennedy's leadership and pushing for full-scale withdrawal — even from such an obviously failed effort — carries the "cut and run" risk that "wimp"-fearing Democrats are too averse to take. So like Joe Biden (D-Del.), lampooned in Terry's piece for claiming "there's not much [he] can do" about Iraq, they send stern letters to the White House while more soldiers go to their deaths.
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