The 229 Democrats and 17 Republicans who voted in the House Friday for a nonbinding disapproval of the troop surge in Baghdad, designed and proposed by General Petraeus, think they are pretty smart.
Yet even as they were taking a risky gamble that the Coalition forces already on the move into Baghdad in force will certainly fail, many of the first escalation reports in from Baghdad (and in Anbar) have been good signs. The Iraqi army is moving up in force, as promised, and the Americans were already arriving just behind them. According to the Iraqi army, the numbers of bombings and killings in the city has fallen by 80 percent.
Meanwhile, the senior leaders in the Mahdi army in Sadr City — no doubt encouraging their followers to go to their deaths for Allah — have apparently heeded warnings to abandon ship. Slinking away like embarrassed rats, they have already, by some reports, disappeared from view.
In Anbar Province, a dozen tribal leaders have signed up with the American Marines to provide small armies of police and rapid-reaction forces, angry enough to drive al Qaeda murderers out of their midst (al Qaeda assassinations have hit too close to home for many of them).
Knowing the Enemy
Being of Central European background, where a lot of bad things have happened in the last thousand years, I resist optimism as a rule. I lean toward those who fear an impending “Tet offensive” on the part of the anti-democracy fanatics, once the latter have had time to study the size and methods of the incoming Iraqi government and U.S. forces. There will be copious bloodshed before this is all over. It is my hope that as much as possible of it will be in open clashes between armed units on both sides, rather than in the form of homicidal truck bombings among unsuspecting civilians in tranquil market places, schools, and mosques.
Every homicidal attack on unaware civilians shows the dark side of the anti-democratic extremists. These anti-democratic forces love death. They thirst for blood — and for their red-splattered destruction to get on American television, to make Americans want to depart in shame.
When editors in America show these bloody scenes, whether in photographs in newspapers or on television, I do wish they would point to them as evidence of the bloodlust of our enemies, who so much love death and blood. What is missing in the United States is the public conviction that these cowardly bombings reveal far more about the darkness of soul in their perpetrators, than about the character of security forces.
In America, our editors still seem to work to increase the power of the anti-democratic forces by being cooperators in their propaganda war, whose aim is to make cowards of all Americans.
In Congress, Democrats (and the occasional Republican like Nebraska’s Chuck Hagel) would fulfill the prediction of Osama bin Laden, who said that Americans would lose heart and go home. This is the road the Democrats put us on on Friday. They have marched into untenable territory, and they have now exposed their flank to a withering enfilade. Once again, they have repeated their deed of 39 years ago, turning victory into defeat, setting the stage for last-minute departures by helicopter, banging with rifles the up-reached hands of friends of the United States, who are begging not to be abandoned.
I thought that day that that obscene, humiliating, disgraceful departure from the United States embassy in Saigon was the most dishonorable day in American history. I still feel sick thinking about it.
That dishonor was brought about by a Congress determined to stop funding a war that had turned into its final lap toward victory. An arrogant Democratic Congress abandoned several million friends of the United States to torture, imprisonment, death. Two millions took desperate flight by sea upon open rafts or flimsy junks, to be set upon by pirates as well as pursuing foes.
Until now, I had resisted comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. The dissimilarities are immense. They are as different as night and day. Besides, the victories won and the difficulties successfully overcome in Iraq, by sheer bravery and persistence, have been of historic proportions.
But now the actions of our own Congress have made the sickening memories of that cowardly flight from Saigon come pouring back, with all their now forgotten shame and dishonor.
Will the Democratic party — of which I was once a member — never learn? Will it lurch from generation to generation turning victory into dishonor and shame? That once brave and courageous party now boasts, boasts, of gambling on American defeat. Of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.
Mercifully, though, the Democrats do not have the White House and are not commanding this war. Don’t count out the Home of the Brave yet — remember that resolution is nonbinding.
This President’s Day weekend, I can’t help but give thanks for our current one, brave and resolute, disregarding all the ugly and contemptuous vilification turned against him, firm in the knowledge that Providence favors the free.
Providence is no Pollyanna, and the good guys by no means always win. (Peek at God’s own Son on the cross). Yet I will be terribly surprised if, perhaps sooner rather than later (and for sure in the long serene light of history), this brave man’s resolution is cause for national pride and celebration. The very jeers of his critics while he lived will become the measure of the valor he has shown.
Let historians look back on my words with mockery if they will. I would rather stand at this president’s side any day, than among those who for the second time bring dishonor upon this nation.