We might not know the best way to win in Iraq, but we do know the one guaranteed way to lose: pulling out U.S. troops prematurely. And that happens to be the policy favored in some form or other by most Democrats. They disagree among each other about how forthright to be about it. It is sign of the party’s incoherence that every time a high-profile Democrat like John Murtha or John Kerry proposes a pullout plan and Republicans insist on putting it to a vote, Democrats cry foul. Democratic senators were irritated even at Kerry himself this week when he made them vote on a watered-down version of his withdrawal plan (he had originally proposed six months, but after careful strategic study — insert guffaw here — settled for a year). The Kerry plan got 13 votes Thursday. The Democrats’ preferred resolution, which also went down to defeat, called for the beginning — just the beginning — of a withdrawal by the end of the year. This was a symbolic measure that would have been utterly meaningless if it weren’t for the fact that what it symbolized was a lack of resolve. Can there be a more damning comment on the Democrats than that they have taken an unpopular war and managed, through the weird combination of their naked calculation and their heartfelt impulse to give up in Iraq, to make it a political asset for Republicans?
This and more in this week’s Window on the Week.