At a press conference with the new Iraqi prime minister last week, a reporter noted slipping public opinion of the war and asked President Bush if his administration is now stuck in the mud. Mr. Bush responded with a joke, saying the reporter might even call it a "quagmire." The reference is to Vietnam, of course, and some in the press corps these days hardly seem able to hide their glee that Mr. Bush's war appears to be faltering.
Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin and Reid, to name just a handful, seem to be doing their damndest to rant about real or imagined abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and against renewal of the Patriot Act. Winning the war against Islamic fundamentalism seems to be less important to them and their ilk than proving Bush wrong. It's as if they would be happy to trade Iraq to see Bush and the neo-conservatives humbled. Now as our liberal readers scowl in fury - think about it. How much do the Democrats and the Left hate Bush - who, after all, 'stole' the 2000 election, and led the US into an 'adventure' which they were sure would be another Vietnam (many of them thought that about Afghanistan too). Their hatred combined with a spectacularly deluded worldview have convinced many that a US failure might just be worth the price to teach those damned hawks a lesson. And it would avoid the possibility that 10, 20 years hence that Iraq becomes another Turkey and they are naming high schools after W.
I like to think that most of the Democrats are not consciously rooting for the US to fail but they certainly are not helping the cause at all by carping on imagined US transgressions and talk of a plan and a date to withdraw troops. Are they truly so stupid to fail to realize that showing weakness in this struggle invites more violence? The Islamofascists attacked us because they thought we were weak not because we were strong.
Miniter gets this right.
In the end, South Vietnam was abandoned and conquered, and it descended into poverty and oppression... [W]alking away from the overarching moral struggle proved disastrous across the world. After Congress shut off funding to the Republic of Vietnam, U.S. influence receded in the face of communist insurgency, and South Vietnam quickly fell in 1975. The emboldened Soviets were then free to press their interests in Africa, South America and, yes, the Middle East. The shah of Iran fell just a few years after Saigon. Radical Islamic terrorism got a big push from the Soviets.
This history is worth running through because some of those who led the effort to shut off funds to South Vietnam are in Congress today and are among the critics of the war in Iraq. It's not that Massachusetts's Sens. Ted Kennedy and John Kerry learned nothing from the defeat in Vietnam. It seems that they learned all the wrong lessons and still have no problem with watching the U.S. lose an eminently winnable and moral war.
The history of the Vietnam War could repeat itself in Iraq if the Beltway class decides to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory...
Partly our success can be seen by what's not happening in Iraq today. There are no more mass graves being filled. Nor is there a cruel dictator sitting atop one of the world's largest armies and wondering how best to acquire the weapons of mass destruction that might throw back Western forces. We also don't have to worry about Saddam Hussein handing off such weapons to terrorists from his prison cell...
On the military side of the war, U.S. forces have lost fewer than 2,000 people in more than two years of fighting in Iraq--an outcome that would have been dismissed as utopian before the invasion. Meanwhile our forces are armoring up and developing tactics and weapons to defeat insurgents. Even as the enemy is still pulling off deadly attacks, insurgents are finding Iraqi recruits harder to come by. Many of the "insurgents" aren't Iraqi at all but are terrorists from foreign countries. This is a welcome development--jihadis who head for Baghdad aren't heading to Brooklyn...
It took eight years of determined effort for Ronald Reagan to reverse the course of history by backing freedom fighters across the globe, building up our military capabilities and finding other ways to put the screws to the Soviets. During those years he was also roundly criticized for confronting the ideologues of oppression and, in the process, risking alienating our European allies. But shortly after President Reagan left office the evil empire collapsed in a heap. We had our holiday from history in the 1970s and again, under President Clinton, in the 1990s, with disastrous results each time. Now we've got the wind at our back and a president willing to confront the ideologues of hate by backing those seeking their own freedom around the world. We don't have to lose this war. But we could, if the nation loses confidence in fighting it.