Friday, May 11, 2007

Are Dems Winning the Battle For Surrender?

Robert Tracinski publishes a newsletter available at to subscribers. I strongly recommend it as he provides a consistently solid analysis of events. His latest is looking at what is now a snowball effect to get us out of Iraq, with unprincipled moderate republicans starting to squirm and Democrats defining what Petraeus must show to establish that the surge is succeeding come September. As I warned here, Democrats are doing all they can to undercut whatever General Petraeus may say, and absent some real leadership from Republicans to recenter the debate or a Lieberman switch to the Republican Party, we probably will withdraw from Iraq commencing in September. This is Tracinski's thorough analysis of the situation, coming to a similar conclusion and asking that we start taking efforts at the grass roots level to get our elected representatives' attention:

Are the Democrats slowly winning the battle for surrender in Iraq?

President Bush recently vetoed the congressional war appropriations bill that would have imposed a timetable for surrender in Iraq by mandating that America begin withdrawing its troops on October 1 of this year. But there are signs that some congressional Republicans may be caving in to a watered-down version of that timeline, setting September 30 as the date on which they will consider joining the Democrats in voting for an American retreat from Iraq.

So the Republicans have succeeded in blocking a bill that would establish a "date certain" for American surrender—but now we face a date uncertain: a date on which Congress may or may not vote for surrender.

The potential break in the will of congressional Republicans is partly overstated by the Democrats as part of their political posturing. A recent Associated Press report, for example, proclaims "Boehner: GOP Support on Iraq Could Waver," yet the story is almost entirely dependent on quotes from boasting Democrats, with only a few quotes from the man to whom the headline attributes Republican wavering: House Majority Leader John Boehner. And the quote from Boehner is taken out of context.

. . . The Los Angeles Times at least gives us that context:
Boehner said he had long backed benchmarks and said they could help the Bush administration assess whether its strategies were working. But he rejected the idea that those benchmarks should be tied to funding.

"I'm for benchmarks that are for success," he said. "I'm not for benchmarks with artificial timelines, yanking funds, trying to ensure that there's failure in Iraq."

Boehner has defined the issue in exactly the right way: the only proper criterion for judging any measure on Iraq is whether it will lead to victory.
. . . But while the top Republican leaders have not broken, there are signs of defection among the habitually appeasing, unprincipled "moderate" Republicans—the type who reflexively swing back toward the left whenever the political influence of the Republican leadership fades. Today's New York Times has a worrying report on a meeting between the "moderates" and President Bush

. . . The most balanced coverage of this story comes from the Washington Post, which reports:
"Many of my Republican colleagues have been promised they will get a straight story on the surge by September," said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.). "I won't be the only Republican, or one of two Republicans, demanding a change in our disposition of troops in Iraq at that point. That is very clear to me."…

"There is a sense that by September, you've got to see real action on the part of Iraqis," said Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.). "I think everybody knows that, I really do."

"I think a lot of us feel that way," agreed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine)….
The new House proposal would immediately provide about $43 billion of the $95.5 billion the administration says it needs to keep the war going through Sept. 30. That infusion would come with language establishing benchmarks of success for the Iraqi government, and it is likely to include tougher standards for resting, training, and equipping troops. Binding timelines for troop withdrawals would be dropped to try to win Republican support and avoid a second veto.

The remaining $52.5 billion in the bill would be contingent on a second vote in late July, after the administration's progress report.

Republicans are still fairly united in opposing the July vote for an extension of war funding—but they are starting to agree to the September 30 deadline.

The Republican leadership seems to regard this as a stalling tactic, an attempt to delay a showdown by three to four months in order to buy time for General Petraeus to show progress in Iraq, in the hope that this will make it easier for quailing Republican moderates to support the war and harder for moderate Democrats to oppose it.

The problem is that the left has largely succeeded in rigging the terms of the debate to make it impossible to demonstrate any American success in Iraq. A few days ago, Jack Wakeland described the problem to me this way:

Congressmen on both sides of the isle agree on tacit deadline of Sept. 30. If General Petraeus and President Bush can't prove they're making progress in establishing a stable republic in Iraq, a large body of Republican congressmen say they'll join democrats in pulling the plug.

But on what terms will "progress" in Iraq have to be proved?

Hasn't the left already set false terms of debate in that area, too—asserting absolute disbelief of any assertions of American success in Iraq and Afghanistan as the criterion of rationality? Leftists in the press have created an ersatz "credibility gap" to derail any discussion of Iran's evil meddling and murder in Iraq and, with their condemnation of John McCain's visit to Baghdad, they've begun to assert that any observation by any American that there are any secure or peaceful areas in Iraq are fraudulent. (They actually got McCain to recant his statement on how secure the area was—even though it was a fact Sen. McCain saw with his own eyes.)

The principle for reporting on the war is now: Any success by the Islamist enemies is a real and lasting achievement. Any success by America or by friendly local forces is either a temporary condition or a fake.

How will legitimate claims of progress by Gen. Petreaus be received? How have claims that his work is good already been received? And how will the legitimate claims of President Bush on the imperative to not abandon Iraq be received?

The left is re-writing the rational rules of the cultural-political playing field so they always come out against America's national defense.

For a preview of what we can expect to see on September 30, consider the reception of an Iraqi official reporting to Congress on the state of the conflict in Iraq. The Iraqi of Minister of Defense has been on a trip to Washington attempting to lobby for further support for his nation. According to the New York Times:
In the session with [Democratic Senator Carl] Levin, Mr. Rubaie stressed that Iraq was involved in a historic process to overcome the long legacy of authoritarian rule, and that the early withdrawal of American troops would lead to chaos.

Mr. Levin, for his part, stuck firmly to his position that the United States should begin a partial troop withdrawal in four months.
The story's headline says it all: "Official Takes Case to US, but Skeptics Don't Budge." Expect many more such headlines on and around September 30, all as a rationalization for Democrats to do what they already want to do—force an American retreat from Iraq—and as cover for the timid Republican "moderates" to go along.

Al-Qaeda number two man Ayman al-Zawahiri is already gloating that "the empire of evil is about to end and a new dawn is about break over mankind, [which will be] liberated from the Caesars of the White House and Europe and from the Zionists." He is also telling Iraqis who have sided with America to "look to their fates and their futures" once America withdraws. It is a not-so-subtle threat that has now become a credible threat, thanks to the Democratic Congress, to the Republican "moderates"—and to a mass of irresponsible "swing voters."

All of this is leaving many supporters of the war in a state of despair. Tony Blankley recently noted the emerging consensus over the September 30 deadline and concluded:
Assuming continuing bad news and bad polling in September, enough Republicans may well support the Democrats' inevitable "out by the spring" military appropriation to allow for a successful override of the president's certain veto. Then the president may try to challenge congressional authority in court (perhaps relying on the 1861 Food and Forage Act, if Congress doesn't exempt their cutoff from that law, which permits an army to stay in the field without appropriated monies).

Perhaps the president will win in court. Perhaps things will be seen to be getting much better in Iraq. Perhaps fewer Republicans will cross the aisle, and will instead stick with their commitment to our national security requirements. Perhaps the Democrats will so grossly demonstrate their unfitness for national leadership that they lose electoral credibility (although their growing electoral strength in the face of their already clearly grotesque irresponsibility makes one wonder what more they could do that might, finally, appall the public). But a betting man wouldn't count on it.
But we're not just spectators sitting back and betting on this contest—not when we have such a direct, personal stake in the outcome. And now we know exactly how grim the situation is, exactly how far the Democrats are willing to go in causing the implosion of America's foreign policy, and exactly how much time we have to make a difference.

Mark your calendar for September 30—and do everything you can, until then, to impress upon your leaders and upon your fellow citizens the disastrous consequences of giving Ayman al-Zawahiri his victory in Iraq.
I have said before and will say again: all of our elected leaders who value national security above partisan politics need to start speaking up and taking a stand against the ridiculous memes that the far left Democrats are using to justify retreat and to set the terms of the debate. I have yet to hear one Republican say word one about Jack Murtha's performance on Hardball where he called General Petraeus a liar, among other patently false assertions. There should have been a chorus of people standing at podiums the next day laying down the gauntlet in no uncertain terms. There should be absolute name-calling outrage. But instead, the silence has been deafening. Somebody has to wake up and start vociferously attacking this lying and idiocy or we will be out of Iraq starting in September. And this country will pay the bill for it for God knows how long - but you can rest assured it will make the "blank check" to finish the war look like pocket change.

(H/T Steve Halter)

1 comment:

Dinah Lord said...

Thanks for this Scott.

Now I am totally depressed - hah!

You add the weight of the media spin to the surrendercrats message and it looks like this thing is about to go down in a big way.

And it's not in a GOOD big way.

I feel this will be shown to be very prescient:

And this country will pay the bill for it for God knows how long - but you can rest assured it will make the "blank check" to finish the war look like pocket change.

(Or is that "chump change"?)

Cheers - Dinah


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