Saturday, November 24, 2007

A Failed Democratic Retreat in Iraq

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Noemie Emery has an awesome piece in the new Weekly Standard, on the Democratic Party's relentless campaign to bring about an American retreat in Iraq:

Eagerly anticipating the defeat in Iraq to which they are so much attached, some on the left have also been preparing for another contingency: the assault that they think they see coming, a drive to pin the whole wretched failure on them. Apparently, this will be "stab in the back" redux, a new iteration of the theme deployed so successfully in interwar Germany by a resourceful, ambitious Austrian corporal, who managed to propel his rise to power with the claim that World War I would have been won by his country, if not for sinister forces at home. Then, it was subversion by Jews and other disloyal elements. This time, in the left's imagining, the blame will fall on the press and the Democrats who, by pulling the plug at just the wrong moment, caused the loss of Iraq. "Nobody I know in a rational condition believes that the United States is going to have any kind of a military victory," Mark Shields said in August. "So the idea is going to be, 'We were on the cusp of victory and the rug was pulled out from under us by these willy-nilly, weak-kneed, nervous Nellies back home.'"

The problem with this is (1) that we may really win, and have no failure to blame upon anyone, and (2) that the nervous Nellies really did try to keep us from winning, indeed fought fang and claw to derail our best efforts. If they had had their way, Iraq would still be the quagmire they are so fond of invoking, and the United States--or George W. Bush, which may be the more relevant factor--would have incurred a definitive and, at least in his case, legacy-blasting defeat. It is unfair of course to call this a stab in the back, as the Democrats have been engagingly open about their intentions. In the course of the past year, they have gone from attacking a plan that had not been effective to attacking one that hadn't been tried yet, to attacking one that exceeded all expectations, while in the process ignoring reality, slandering a commanding general, and denying American forces in battle due credit for what they had done. If not backstabbing as such (see above), it is diverting enough a spectacle to merit a replay. Let us look back at this last year of battle and see how the story played out.

Emery deftly recounts the months of retreatism masquerading as foreign policy among the Democratic leadership. The party, after voting to confirm General David Petraeus as the new commander in Iraq, subsequently pushed tirelessly to pull the rug out from under his feet.

I like this passage:

Afraid of moving directly to defund the armed forces, Democrats decided on a series of steps that would have the same effect without saying so, i.e., putting so many restrictions and regulations on troop deployments that the number available would in effect be greatly reduced. These would be sponsored by veterans (James Webb and John Murtha), and the stated goal would be to help the armed forces. The real goal, however, was to strangle the surge in its crib.

Remember Hillary Clinton's smear of Petraeus, "the willing suspension of disbelief"? It's all here, but I can't resist this quote:

The depth of the left's investment in an Iraq defeat came out during the last week in July, when, hearing from General Jack Keane that the surge might be working, Representative Nancy Boyda was so shaken she fled a congressional hearing. "There was only so much that you could take until we in fact had to leave the room for a while," she explained.

Read the whole thing. Emery's piece is a true classic! Can't strangle this!