Monday, February 12, 2007

On Democrat Rhetoric

With the House nearing closer to a vote denouncing President Bush's handling of the Iraq War, now might not be a bad time for Americans to think about some of the opinions recently expressed by insurgent leaders in Iraq.

"With our brave fighters dying everyday at the hands of the American occupiers, it's become increasingly clear this war can’t be won militarily," said Ibrahim al-Shimmari, a spokesman for a Sunni insurgent group. "It's time for a new direction."

"We haven't sent in enough fighters. We've been out-manned since Day One," said Abraham al-Manari, a spokesman for the Ansar al-Sunna, a Sunni insurgent group.

Citing what he describes as Mugtada al-Sadr's "failed" leadership of the al-Mahdi Army, Abu Sajjad, a Mahdi spokesman, said "this insurgency is being incompetently managed with disastrous results."

Still others are exasperated with the frequency with which the successor to Abu Musab al Zarqawi of al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamzah al-Muhajir, is losing fighters.

"We need to place a limit on the numbers of our brave young warriors being sent to fight holy war," said one al Qaeda fighter on an Internet message board. At the least, he said, "We must demand a timetable for withdrawal."

Many Ba'athist insurgents, disillusioned by their dwindling ranks, take an even stronger position, arguing the insurgency should be called off altogether.

Well, not really. While these quotes may ring familiar, it's for all the wrong reasons. These are the Democratic tropes Iraqis have been hearing over the last three years.

But had insurgents leaders really uttered them, imagine the average American's response. Perhaps, sensing widespread despair, many might suddenly feel . . . emboldened? Who knows, some might even suggest doubling up on troops to "finish 'em off."

Too bad it's the opposite that's happening: Our enemies daily take in such worried rhetoric from American political "leaders."

Asked how Democrats can support the troops but not their mission, Senator Charles Schumer let the cat out of the bag: "Well, that's the difficulty. A resolution that says we're against this escalation, that's easy. The next step will be how do you put further pressure on the administration against the escalation but still supporting the troops who are there? And that's what we're figuring out right now."

Political cover first; troops-assistance later.

In their rush to denounce the commander-in-chief’s leadership, Democrats inescapably aid al Qaeda in Iraq and its cohorts. Like those before them, George Orwell said of the Brits advocating withdrawal from World War II: "This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other side."

Asked whether Democratic rhetoric could embolden the enemy, Sen. Joe Biden huffed, "It's not the American people or the U.S. Congress who are emboldening the enemy, it's the failed policy of this president going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely."

Blaming Bush certainly makes for easy politics. But even Bush's greatest blunders rank nowhere near the detriment caused by the politician who willingly talks his nation into defeat so that he may achieve some small, personal political gain.

As Biden well knows, reckless rhetoric carries consequences. With Democrats having successfully assumed office and the responsibilities entailed, a recognition of such is, I shouldn't think, asking too much.


SistaInfidel said...

Too true. Sadly, the dems' pathological self hate (i.e., "America sucks!") won't allow them to really root for the U.S. with their whole hearts. They believe we deserve a good smack down to learn some kind of karmic "lesson" for being so successful with the whole freedom, free enterprise, best country thing we have going on.

David said...

Professional officers in the military will tell you that the military is an instrument of American foreign policy. That is one of the themes driven home during officer indoctrination. If the consensus is that the policy is poorly conceived then criticism is not out of line, especially when the legislature is criticizing the executive. It comes from that all-american notion of checks and balances.

If you haven't noticed, in the past year, several flag level officers in the acquisition chain have suffered ignomonious removal from office for can-do-ing themselves into situations that they really shouldn't have been doing in the first place. This is the same kind of military leadership that promises to lead the mission in Iraq, and in which the flags have zero chance of dying in.

You make an untestable assertion about how the enemy is emboldened, and then assert that it causes more damage that huge policy errors (completely misunderstanding the nature of the war). Could you, for the record, estimate the number of insurgent attacks that would have been prevented from scaled down, or eliminated rhetoric? How many soldiers do you estimate would not have died if the rhetoric wasn't as sharp? Based on extensive understanding of US operations and the general length of wars in the Middle East, how about how long ago would the conflict have been concluded?

You are a pseudo-intellectual, so much as the people that you accuse (I can't defend them, either).

tom said...

David, I haven't argued against checks and balances. Congressmen are free to speak as they please. And while the Constitution quite clearly vests foreign policy responsibilities in the executive -- as the Founders well understood, war can't be fought by committee -- there's nothing stopping Congress from critiquing as they please.

I also haven't argued here that criticism is somehow bad.

Beyond those two objections, you seem to have missed the larger point altogether. Of course you cannot quantify precisely how a particular statement will affect the relative strength of an adversarial military force.

My assertion, rather, is that rhetoric has a larger impact on the war effort than these pols apparently realize. It's untestable only insofar as your apparent unwillingness to consider your own opinions.

What I mean is this: What, honestly, would your immediate reaction have been had those quotes been real? That America was bogged down in an unwinnable war? That Iraq's a quagmire? Doubt it. If insurgents spoke in the same cynical fashion as most Democrats -- calling for phased withdrawals, immediate redeployments, etc. -- certainly you wouldn't think we were hopeless?

Plainly, America cannot win a war such as this without public support. And the public's support rests almost entirely upon the plausibility of success, which, essentially, is the inverse of the enemy's chances. If we, for whatever reason, believe the insurgents will leave Iraq in June, would that not seem to speak favorably of America's chances?

We'd all prefer no rhetorical fetters whatsoever. But the reality simply doesn't allow for it. Congressmen -- or, at the very least, those who voted in favor of the war -- who have something critical to say of how the war is being conducted ought to express themselves behind closed doors. That should be the least they can do -- that is, not worsen their constituents' security.