Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Islamic jihadists will not go gently into the good night

Not all that long ago, leading Democrats thought arbitrary and rigid timetables were a very bad idea. Speaking at the National Press Club in 2005, now-Majority Leader Harry Reid said this:

"As far as setting a timeline, as we learned in the Balkans, that's not a wise decision, because it only empowers those who don't want us there, and it doesn't work well to do that."

Six months later, the now-Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Joseph Biden, put it this way:

"A deadline for pulling out ... will only encourage our enemies to wait us out." He added it would be "a Lebanon in 1985 [sic]. And God knows where it goes from there."

And three months later, the junior Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, said this: "I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal. I don't think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you."

These quotes were cited by Peter Wehner in an article in RealClearPolitics entitled Iraq, Democrats, and the Return of McGovernism. What are the same Democrats saying now?

Wehner continues:

Many Democrats believe an American defeat in Iraq is etched in granite. They would not be the first to lose heart and will in war. Yet it is one thing to give up on a cause; it is quite another to advocate legislation (17 different proposals in all, according to Senator Mitch McConnell) that would guarantee failure even before a new strategy is given time to work. This is especially the case when the preliminary trajectory of events is encouraging.

There will continue to be ebbs and flows in this war, as in all wars. But virtually everyone agrees that a loss in Iraq would be catastrophic for American national interests. We are facing among the most sadistic enemies we have ever encountered. There is much we do not understand about them and their worldview -- but one thing is clear: they probe for weakness; they interpret retreat as a supreme sign of weakness; and when they find weakness, they strike.

If we retreat from Iraq, Islamic jihadists will not go gently into the good night.

We are now engaged in a pivotal war, which is itself part of an epic struggle. General David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq who was confirmed by the Senate without a single vote in opposition, is one of America's great military minds and one of America's great military commanders. Why oh why, then, are so many Democrats spending so much of their time and creative energy in an effort to undermine General Petraeus's new strategy instead of supporting it? Even granting the partisan politics of this city, the effort by Democrats is a remarkably revealing thing to witness. "Come Home, America" and McGovernism are back with a vengeance -- and like Round One, in 1972, it will leave a lasting imprint on the minds of Americans, for years to come.

Surrender or capitulation shouldn't even be considered.

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