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April 23, 2007

Harry Reid’s Declaration of Defeat in Iraq


Criticism of the Iraq War is one thing. Having Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announce that the war has been lost is quite another. Reid waited for an agonizingly bloody day in Iraq that saw many deaths and seized on it as proof that the recent troop surge is not working. His words come only weeks after Democrats attached funding for peanuts, spinach, and other pork to a bill supposed to help our troops get the job done in Iraq.


Now, the Democrats refuse to fund our troops without setting a date for retreat in Iraq. Never mind that, originally, top Democrats strongly supported the invasion of Iraq, or that many of them more recently pushed for a troop surge until President Bush came to agree with them on that issue. Regardless of any American’s position on the 2003 decision to go to war, a withdrawal anytime soon would be calamitous.


Although Iraq seems in bad shape now, the situation there could certainly be much, much worse. Upon a U.S. withdrawal, Iraq’s government would collapse, the army would disintegrate into a multitude of factions, and each neighborhood, city and province would be ruled by militias. The economy, which today is actually booming despite popular belief, would come to a halt, further deepening the populace in poverty and desperation.


Iraq would become a haven for terrorists, and a playground for Al Qaeda, Iran, Syria and the Gulf states, each forcing their way into a position of power. This is all not to mention that every single American life lost would have gone to waste, or that the billions of American dollars spent in Iraq would now be working to weaken the United States and kill more of its innocents.


One would hope that since the Democrats were capable enough to get voted into power, they must be competent to the point of understanding and absorbing the reality that would follow a U.S. withdrawal. But in that case why would they still advocate for such a move? Is it possible that they know that Bush would ignore them, and are hence behaving in such a manner for the purpose of appeasing their anti-war base? Perhaps.


Yet if that is the case, their actions are still unacceptable. It is normal for a political party out of power to complain that taxes are too high, that education is too poorly funded, or that health care is inadequate, in an attempt to win public favor – regardless of whether that party would actually change things if in power. In relative terms, such bickering is not that harmful. Falsely announcing that your country has lost a war, however, is a much more severe matter. This is precisely what the Democratic leadership, the party out of power on war policy, is doing. And it is nothing short of deadly.


For one, statements such as Reid’s do an excellent job of exciting the terrorists in Iraq. Those radicals operating on the ground in Baghdad are now facing a new U.S.-Iraqi campaign that could very well represent the end of their activities. The troop surge and the campaign should be demoralizing enough for them to halt their activities, if, that is, they are convinced that these forces are here to stay. But when leaders such as Reid decide to make such outlandish statements, the terrorists take heart in the possibility that the U.S. would be forced out soon – in which case they have no incentive to run, hide and assimilate into civilized society.


Reid’s words are also an insult to the American men and women serving in Iraq. What could be more demoralizing than your Senate Majority Leader informing you that you are risking your life on a daily basis for a war that has already been lost? Surely, the harmful impact of such a statement would be mitigated if the war was actually lost. But when the generals announce that sectarian murders in Baghdad have been cut by half, and that security has much improved, in merely the opening stages of the new campaign to secure Baghdad, Reid’s comments are purely revolting.


We cannot underestimate the power of the actions of the Democratic leadership. One Iranian news website, which describes its vision “to break the global media stranglehold of western outlets,” proudly published Reid’s comments soon after he made them. Sadly, the reporting did not even have to be biased to have an outcome agreeable to the Iranians. The statement has not been lost on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in Iraq, either. And it has certainly not been lost on our heroes in uniform as they enter yet another long, scorching summer in Iraq.

© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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