by: R.J. Moeller
“Iraqi troops welcomed in Sadr City,” read the Washington Post headline this week, bringing with it yet even more ammunition for depressed Conservatives in this election year. The lead paragraph in the same devastatingly optimistic piece read as follows:
“Iraqi soldiers moved unhindered through Baghdad's vast Sadr City district on Wednesday as Shiite militiamen who have long controlled the area faded from view and schools and businesses began to reopen after weeks of strife.”
From the beginning, I have been a staunch supporter of the mission President George W. Bush, our House of Representatives, and our Senate sanctioned and launched a little more than 5 years ago. At that time, the American people and their elected representatives in Washington D.C. decided the threat Saddam Hussein posed as an unremittingly defiant and genocidal dictator could no longer be tolerated. Regime change became compulsory after Saddam’s 12 years of broken promises to weapons inspectors, brazen breaches of all 17 U.N. Resolutions and sanctions levied against him, and the realities of a post-9/11 world began to sink into the minds of the historically vigilant and discerning American people.
Amidst the undeniably cumbersome and clumsy prosecution of the war between 2004-2006 (after our initial ringing success in deposing Saddam’s regime) what has been both lost and purposely confused in the minds of those same vigilant and discerning Americans is this: the mission to remove the threat Hussein posed, the mission to free more than 25 million human beings from tyranny, and to establish a beach-head of representative democracy (the kind of which no two nations that employ it have ever attacked one another) is not only still alive and well --- it’s working.
“The Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is pursuing an increasingly successful effort to contain the militias of his Shiite rivals and to exercise authority over areas where Iraqi forces were once unwelcome. The strategy has won Maliki admiration from Sunni politicians and from U.S. and British officials, who credit him with exerting some of the political will necessary to achieve reconciliation.”
The Democrats’ strategy in the 2006 mid-term elections was to focus their criticisms of the entire GOP on two things: corruption and the mess Iraq was turning out to be. On the corruption front, with the help of names such as Jack Abrahamoff and Mark Foley, Nancy Pelosi and her merry band of equally-indicted Democrats effectively made the case that Republicans had to go and picked up seats in both Houses and momentum for 2008’s presidential election.
The other crutch leaned on by liberals, really since 2004, and even by vocal, initial proponents of the war such as Senators John Edwards, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, has been that Iraq = Vietnam.
When the military “surge” implemented by President Bush began to succeed, and both General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker testified under oath that things continuing to get better in Iraq politically were directly dependent on the continued strides American and Iraqi forces were taking militarily. It was then that Democrats did what they always do: move the end-zone. Suddenly all anyone with a “D” in front of their name cared about was that an Iraqi parliament, under intense sectarian pressure and threat to their own lives, be forced to work quicker and with more success than our own governing bodies in America do.
Somehow Democrats found time from their busy schedule of raising our taxes and increasing their own salaries for doing so to learn, internalize, and understand the inner-workings of Iraqi politics better than Iraqi politicians and on-the-ground American commanders. Everyone on the Left, from Barack Obama to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, has agreed: “There is no military solution in Iraq.”
Leave it to Democrats to take an obvious, subtle truism and make it the hard-and-fastened bedrock of their inane argument. (This only after their initial argument that we could not win militarily in Iraq was proven to be decisively untrue). Of course the political progress is an integral part of any nation’s foundation and sustained existence. It took our own country from a declaration in 1776 to a ratification of the constitution in 1789, some 13 years, to have an “official” working government.There were people at the time, such as John Dickinson of Pennsylvania, who were convinced that a political solution was all that was needed for peace, safety and freedom in America.
Then there were others, John Adams for one, who wisely saw that in their current predicament, only when military victory had been achieved was it even possible for political discussion to begin. Benjamin Franklin agreed and went a step further in pointing out that even military victory does not guarantee political success and stability when he famously said: “It’s a republic; if you can keep it.”
What this Washington Post story, and the dozens like it that are buried every day in the same American newspapers that give lead-billing to any mistake or unfortunate incident coming out of Iraq, does is help to highlight the fact that Democrats aren’t just against President Bush in these matters. They are also against facts, statistics, and the realities on-the-ground in a war 4,000 American soldiers volunteered to meet their Maker to be a part of. Our men and women in uniform have sacrificed and suffered in unimaginable ways so that, plainly speaking, the people of Iraq would have this window of opportunity to seize their own destiny from the clutches of totalitarianism the rest of the Muslim world suffers under.
On Basra's al-Jazaar Street, Akeel al-Asadi, 38, gave a haircut in his brightly lighted barbershop. "The presence of the Iraqi army has made people safe, not 100 percent, but 90 percent," he said.
This story should be front-page news. This article and these snippets of hope and optimism in a country and in a war that has known so little of it deserves to be read in classrooms, boardrooms, and living rooms from Berkley to Boston.
Why don’t we hear about these positive developments? Why is it that stories of hope and honor such as the most recent Medal of Honor recipient are buried in the back pages of the same publications that insist this fight has none of either?
Americans and their elected officials must not allow “the better” to become the enemy of the “the best.” Things have been turning around in Iraq for nearly a year now, yet all we hear from the Democratic leadership and the Party’s presidential front-runners are pessimistic, bumper-sticker lines and promises for time-tabled withdrawal from Iraq. The Left has invested in defeat, and has chosen to spin the issue six ways to Sunday rather than concede that they were in any way wrong. (Something even President Bush has been willing to admit in regards to failed strategies in Iraq.)
Don’t succumb to intellectual dishonesty simply because you hate eating crow. There’s plenty of room on this common sense bandwagon known as conservatism for all of you, and I promise, we won’t rub it in.