ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Friday, January 12, 2007

What Winners - Jonah Goldberg Says It Well - Democratic Perfidy

Lawrence of Arabia described Britain after its betrayal of the Arab Uprising during World War I as "Perfidious Albion."

Hard to improve on this from Jonah Goldberg found at today's NRO in describing the Democratic position, or lack thereof, regarding Iraq:


January 12, 2007, 0:00 a.m.What Winners - They flip and they flop, but the Dems don’t want to win.

By Jonah Goldberg

Americans are torn between two irreconcilable positions on the Iraq
war. Some want the war to be a success — variously defined — and some want the
war to be over.

Conservatives are basically, but not exclusively, in the “success” camp.
Liberals (and those further to the left) are basically, but not exclusively, the
“over” party. And many people are suffering profound cognitive dissonance by
believing these two positions can be held simultaneously. The motives driving
these positions range from the purely patriotic to the coldly realistic to the cravenly political or psychologically perfervid.

Parsing motives is exhausting and pointless, but one fact remains:
“End it now” and “win it eventually” cannot be reconciled.

With Wednesday night’s speech, President Bush made it clear that he will
settle for nothing less than winning. He may be deluding himself, but he at
least has done the nation the courtesy of stating his position, despite an
antagonistic political establishment and a hostile public. What’s maddening is
that the Democratic leadership cannot, or will not, clearly tell the American
people whether they are the party of “end it” or “win it.”

Give Senator Ted Kennedy his due. He not only wants the thing over,
consequences be damned, but he’s got the courage to admit it, as he did Tuesday
at the National Press Club.

But when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
come to a fork in the road, they follow Yogi Berra’s advice and take it. On one
hand, they tell the president they want this war brought to a close. On the
other, they refuse to use their power of the purse to do exactly that, opting
instead for a symbolic resolution. It may be the wisest political course for
them, but it does a disservice to the nation by making the Iraq debate the
equivalent of boxing with fog.

Here we have a president forthrightly trying to win a war, and the
opposition — which not long ago favored increasing troops when Bush was against that — won’t say what it wants.

This is flatly immoral. If you believe the war can’t be won and there’s
nothing to be gained by staying, then, to paraphrase Sen. John Kerry, you’re
asking more men to die for a mistake. You should demand withdrawal. But that
might cost votes, so they opt for nonbinding symbolic votes.

Another Democratic dodge is the demand for a “political solution” in Iraq,
the preferred talking point among Democrats these days. This is either
childishly naive or reprehensibly dishonest. No serious person thinks that peace
can be secured without a political solution. The question is how to get one. And
nobody — and I mean nobody — has made a credible case that the Iraqis can get
from A to B without more bloodshed, with or without American support.

Saying we need a political solution is as helpful as saying “give peace a
chance.” Peace requires more than pie-eyed verbiage. In the real world, peace
has no chance until the people who want to give death squads another shot have
been dispatched from the scene. It reminds me of the liberal obsession in the
1980s with getting inner-city gangs to settle their differences with break-dance
competitions. If only Muqtada al-Sadr would moonwalk to peace!

Wednesday, Bush finally acknowledged what Americans already knew: The war
has not gone well. But he also acknowledged what few Democrats are willing to
admit: If we leave — i.e. lose — it will be a disaster, a geo-strategic calamity
for America and possibly a genocidal one for the Iraqis.

One moral argument against the Iraq war in 2003 was that it would create an
enormous humanitarian crisis in the form of refugees spilling over the borders,
which in turn would destabilize the region. That didn’t happen. But it would be
the most likely result of a U.S. withdrawal now. Yet that’s a risk the antiwar
crowd is suddenly willing to take.Bush declared that “victory will not look like
the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender
ceremony on the deck of a battleship. . . . A democratic Iraq will not be
perfect.” This sober, stubborn emphasis on victory puts Bush at odds with much
of official Washington. He wisely refused to abdicate his war responsibilities
to lead to the Iraq Study Group and instead launched a broader effort to find a
way to win in Iraq — a goal former Secretary of State James Baker explicitly
dismissed.

Bush came up with the “surge” plan. Will it work? Nobody knows. But the one
thing the American people know about George W. Bush is that he wants to win the
war. What the Democrats believe is anybody’s guess.



Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: MontereyJohn