Sunday, February 25, 2007


DEMOCRATS DEFINING "SUPPORT THE TROOPS." Its the mantra you hear pass the lips of every Democrat before and after each shrill attack on the Bush administration. It is something they proclaim loudly and often, particularly when one blurts out their belief that the soldier who have died in Iraq "wasted" their lives. "We Support the Troops" has been an ill defined and mysterious assertion -- or at least it was until this past week. The New York Times, several days ago, ran a front page article clearly suggesting that truly supporting our troops would mean bringing them home. Now, left-wing pundit Michael Kinsley makes it official in this weeks Time Magazine article, "Support the Troops: Bring Them Home." Finally, we have the Democrat's definition out in the open.

Mr. Kinsley posits two premises. One, that democrats are constrained in their criticism of the Iraq war for fear of being labeled as not supporting our troops. Two, while Mr. Kinsley explicitly states that criticism of the war and debate about whether to remain in Iraq will be dispiriting to soldiers fighting there, such is necessary in a democracy if you think American soldiers are involved in an "unworthy cause."

There are two problems with Mr. Kinsley's premises. One, anyone who can read or bothers to turn on the news can accurately gauge that Democrats have not felt constrained in their criticism of Bush or the war up to this point. The only limitation that they have felt is to bookend their partisan rants with the mantra, "we support the troops."

Two, while I agree with Mr. Kinsley that a heart felt and reasoned debate on the Iraq war is quite legitimate, I do not think that what we are seeing has anything to do with "reasonable" debate. I do not think such a debate is possible, really.

I think that the day Barbara Boxer first yelled out "Bush lied", a reasonable debate was no longer possible. Ever since that day, Democrats have been using wild attacks on Bush and "his war" for partisan political advantage. How is it that just a few months ago, many Democrats were arguing for a significant increase in troop strength to settle Iraq, but now they pass meaningless resolutions condemning the reinforcement of 20,000 soldiers. How is it that Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, both relatively recent supporters of the war, have recast themselves and are now in a bidding war to see who can get out of Iraq the fastest. How is it that not a single Democrat has substantively addressed what will happen in Iraq if we abandon the Iraqi government before it can stand on its own. Iraq is a fledgling democracy under tremendous outside pressures yet it is not even one year old.

There are problems in Iraq. Perhaps the problems are insurmountable, but perhaps not. But democrats are not seeking solutions these days, the only victory they seek is in the ballot box. It is not that legitimate criticism by Democrats will be branded as a failure to support our troops in time of war; its that the partisan positions Democrats have locked themselves into for political advantage now prevent them from engaging in such a reasoned debate. I do not believe for a second that if the Democrats actually believed their own partisan diatribes -- and if as they claim the vast majority of Americans feel as they do -- that there would not already be a bill in the House to completely defund the effort in Iraq. Thus, Mr. Kinsley, I think the mantra of "support the troops" is very hollow indeed these days.

At any rate, at least we know how the left defines their mantra. The secret is out.

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