"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

. . . and while we're at it, these Lefties as well

We've heard things like this before. Prior to the last congressional election, good old Harry Reid was practically drooling over just how much our difficulties in Iraq would help his party: "We're going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war. Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding." Now some of his compatriots are at it again, using the same perverse logic. After all, by the Reid Algorithm, if military difficulties benefit the Democrats, then - you guessed it - success hurts them. A peculiar formula, to be sure, which elevates the good of one party above the good of the whole nation. This is not unique to Harry. He seems to have plenty of students.

Take House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who fears that a positive progress report by General Petraeus in September could peel away those pesky "Blue Dog" moderate Democrats who won his party the House by giving them the silly notion that success is possible in Iraq. Hopes that Petraeus' report would be mixed at best have given way to trepidation that it will cite significant improvements; this, says Clyburn, "
will be a real big problem for us."

Then there's Rep. Nancy Boyda who
walked out of a briefing by a retired Army general on the positive developments he's seen in Iraq recently. The offending general, Jack Keane, testified that our soldiers "are on the offensive and we have the momentum", that security has improved overall in Baghdad, and that signs of normality - "cafes, pool halls, coffee houses . . . full of people" - are beginning to return. This prompted Boyda's walk-out, and upon her return she fumed that the general's comments would "further divide this country" and mocked him for making Iraq sound like a vacation resort.

Now I'm not going to make sweeping statements about the patriotism of these representatives. But I think it's fair to say that their priorities are seriously out of balance. How can Clyburn fear a good progress report when real progress is good for our military, good for the region, and good for our nation as a whole? Does Boyda think that our military gaining momentum in Iraq will genuinely tear this country in two, or simply degrade support for her own position? And why did she feel the need to mock a man of long service by blowing his analysis all out of proportion? Nowhere did Gen. Keane say Iraq was a place where one could "take the family for a vacation"; he said signs of normal life were returning. Can she not see that creating an atmosphere where regular Iraqis can drink coffee and amuse themselves moves us that much closer to not only leaving Iraq itself, but leaving it in a condition that means we won't have to go back there? Perhaps she should tell all the Iraqis in the pool halls and cafes to leave them and blow themselves up in the street, since that better suits her perception of the "reality of the problem."

Nobody - not Gen. Keane, not Gen. Petraeus, not the many front-line commentators deployed overseas - is kidding themselves that we'll be able to pack up and leave a nation of smiling Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds waving us good-bye tomorrow. I'm willing to bet that Petraeus' report in September will boil down to one thing: give me more time. Given the local successes his surge has had thus far, I think he's earned it. And the radical Democrats who think failure is the only option and are putting all their eggs in that basket may want to rethink their fear of the war swinging in our favor. They at least shouldn't sound so nervous over the prospect of progress. Failure and an ignominious retreat will not be hung only on George Bush's door. They will damage whoever comes after him and drag the entire nation - not just the GOP - down with them.

If and when we succeed in Iraq, it will be in spite of men and women like Reid, Clyburn, and Boyda. I dare to hope that an honorable outcome would shame these Democrats into apologizing to our troops and our country for their blatant self-interest. But then, shame isn't in their playbook.

1 comment:

Ammianus Marcellinus said...

Again with the conflation of analysis with support? I'm not really informed on the opinions of Messrs. Reid, Clyburn & Boyda, but I do know that, from the quotes ascribed to Reid & Clyburn, you're conflating two professional politicians offering an analysis of the situation with some sort of editorial opinion. I'm not sure how to explain this further than that, were someone to ask me if I thought the wars prospects hurt or helped Democratic chances, I would offer my honest opinion (which is pretty much what you outlined-the war doing poorly helps Democrats politically and the war succeeding hurts them politically). This doesn't mean that I'm hoping for that outcome; I'm perfectly capable of recognizing that a successful war in Iraq is MORE important than Democratic political success, and I'm certain if asked, both Representatives Reid and Clyburn would say so as well. Taking their analysis of the situation and turning it into an opinion piece on the war is reading far too much into their statements. As for Rep. Boyda, she comes across as acting rather odd and I'm not inclined to defend someone who acts disrespectfully towards an officer in uniform, so I'll leave it at that.