Wednesday, January 24, 2007

...And the Democratic (Non-) Response

After stewing on James Webb's response to the SOTU overnight, I felt compelled to write about what was said, and as important, what wasn't. I'm going to focus on Iraq because that is the primary subject in front of the country.

Many people who identify as Democrats think that Webb really put the wood to Bush last night. Yes, he was very eager to blame, but was anything really accomplished. I don't see it. Come on! What did Webb really say?

Whether or not you believe invading Iraq was necessary back in 2003 (I do), the fact remains that we did. All of the finger-pointing, blame-gaming, insulting, etc., is irrelevant. Yeah, I know it's red meat for the Democratic base, but it's basically just so much BS. The question is, what do we do now?

Some are urging that we leave Iraq as quickly as possible. They say that achieving our objectives is impossible, that those objectives aren't worth another American's life, or both. Some, e.g. Michael Moore, say that, because we shouldn't have invaded in the first place we deserve to fail and we should give up, retreat, and accept the consequences as our just desserts. What I haven't heard these types fully explain is their understanding and acceptance of what will happen should we heed their urge and abandon Iraq immediately.

Others realize that, as Hillary said (unfortunately not about Iraq), we must be "in it to win it." Whether or not we were right to invade Iraq, whether or not we've made mistakes, we have to deal with reality as it is, not as we wish it would be. And, the reality is that abandoning Iraq would be disastrous for the US and for the rest of the civilized world.

Abandoning Iraq would leave it to be controlled by Iran or by Al Qaeda after a fierce and bloody war and the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Abandoning Iraq would mean we'd leave the sanctuary of a nation-state with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil to be used as a resource by those who have repeatedly sworn to destroy us by any available means. Abandoning Iraq would give our sworn enemies a new, and much better base than Afghanistan ever was. Abandoning Iraq means the War on Terror (the war against Islamic extremists of both Sunni and Shia persuasion) would come to our shores, as it did on 9/11.

Webb held up the Korean War and the way it was ended as a desirable solution. The Korean peninsula is a mess today because we didn't finish what they started back in 1950. More than 50,000 Americans died and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent in Korea over the past half-century. Now, North Korea is frantically working to develop nuclear weapons to go on top of their ballistic missiles, even though they can't feed their population. So, offering the way we handled Korea as being a good way to settle Iraq is woefully ignorant at best, and dishonestly disingeneous at worst.

When I hear Webb mention that the Dems will "show [us] the way" I think about how they showed us the way out of Vietnam... and that way led over killing fields strewn with millions upon millions of bodies. Or, how they showed us the way out of Somalia... and that way led to an emboldened Al Qaeda and increasingly effective terrorist attacks against us culminating on 9/11. We've seen the Democratic way, and it doesn't lead to peace and stability. It leads to war and instability because the Democratic way tells our enemies that we can be attacked with impunity.

Here's the problem in a nutshell: the "cut-and-runners" believe that there's no way we can win in Iraq, there's no way we could win, and that we've already lost so we might as well cut our losses and get out now. This begs the question of why is it that the US can never win a war anymore while the our dilapidated and rag-tag enemies are inevitably victorious? Why is it that the most powerful nation in the history of the world can't win a war, while the weakest and most disorganized states can never lose? Why is it that Ethiopia can completely rout the Islamists in Somalia in a couple of weeks but we can't rout them in Iraq in three years? The answer is obvious... different rules of engagements. We can't win, these people believe, because they can't bring themselves to do what it takes to win.

I used to think James Webb was a smart man. Now, I wonder if he really did learn anything from Vietnam, or is he just embittered and angry and looking for someone or something to, as we rednecks say, whup up on. That's not what the country needs now. Why don't people realize this?

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