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September 17, 2007

Winning Iraq With or Without the Democrats


That General Petraeus dealt Congressional Democrats a rough card last week – he told them that America is winning the war.


The troop surge has been a success. The Iraqi Army is strengthening, day by day. The Iraqi economy is growing. New areas are being cleared of insurgents, and crucially, these areas are being held.


Anbar, the largest of Iraq’s 18 provinces and covering almost a third of the country, has for all intents and purposes been recovered from nearly total Al-Qaeda domination. The terrorist group, overwhelmingly led by foreign Sunni extremists, had imposed Draconian laws on the local Iraqi Sunnis. Its leaders outlawed the sale and smoking of cigarettes, cut off body parts and heads for trivial reasons and controlled social behavior in a manner reminiscent of the Taliban as recently as six years ago.


But soon the local Sunnis showed that, notwithstanding Al-Qaeda’s insistence to the contrary, there is within that faith room for a more reasonable standard of war-making and a more humane practice of religion. They were tired of the death and destruction. So, they held America’s hand and kicked Al-Qaeda out. And this is a strategy we are looking to replicate in many other places in Iraq.


In a normal world, all of this should be good news. But on the Democrats’ electoral map, well, not so much.


Hillary Clinton’s response to General Petraeus was, “The reports that you provide to us really require the willing suspension of disbelief.”


Barack Obama insisted, “The American people are not going to be fooled by the same false promises of success that got us into Iraq.”


John Edwards’s statement read: “General Petraeus' comments are just the latest example of the Bush administration's disconnect from the reality on the ground.” Apparently he added, “And I would know – I always look at the reality on the ground when flying over it in my chartered jet.”


I almost feel bad for the Democrats – they are sandwiched between two very conflicting electorates. And since following their personal convictions has never really been an option for them, they have to figure out which constituency can deliver the White House.


On the one hand, they have the MoveOn.org & Co. crowd that implied last week that one of our finest generals is actually a traitor. In fact, this constituency is so far to the Left that it is looking to replace Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in the next election for – get this – being too far to the right. (She hung out with Bashar Al-Assad, for crying out loud. What more could they possibly want?)


On the other side, they have the handful of reasonable Democrats and the rest of the country to worry about come general election time. Oh, what to do, what to do!


Well, right now, they are siding with MoveOn, which is the Democrats’ beloved fundraiser and voting machine. And since they are not going to meet the rest of America on the war issue, they are trying to pull the rest of America towards them through disheartening messages and defeatist language.


And they’re not doing it by themselves. They have MoveOn on their side. They have The New York Times on their side. They have CNN. They have Howard Dean. They have Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, who not long ago declared the war “lost.” They have Madeleine Albri . . . – oh sorry, I only meant to list things that matter.


But the fact is that it really doesn’t matter whether or not they come along for what will certainly be a difficult, but ultimately successful, ride in Iraq. It’s not like they have so far.


Hillary Clinton will probably win the Democratic nomination. But in order to do so, she must cozy up to the MoveOn crowd, which was a necessary tactic indicated by her words to General Petraeus. In the process she will distance herself greatly from the American populace, thus ensuring that our next president will be another Republican who will continue to fight the good fight.


The majority of the American people will continue to understand the need to stay in Iraq as long as it takes to ensure our security. They will continue to fight a vital war and will welcome their troops home in victory. Democratic leaders are not only welcome, but wholly encouraged, to come and win the war with us.


But if they don’t – and this is sad to say – it might not be that big a deal. In the last four years they have toughened us to the point where we don’t need them anymore. We will just have to win with or without them.


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


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