The War in Iraq: The Democrats' Best Friend
I don't want to be uncharitable. However, I don't see ANYTHING in common between someone like Russ Kurtz and presidential candidates like Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards. I don't see the latter three as people to whom personal courage, integrity, and selflessness are important. Because they lack any understanding of what Kurtz stood for, I don't see them as placing any special value on him as human being.
John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, doesn't have a Southwestern Pennsylvania accent, but he's a brother under the skin to people like Russ Kurtz. Howard says the terrorists in Iraq should be praying for the election of Obama and "the Democrats." Impolitic perhaps, but brutally accurate.
In this column, I've called the war in Iraq "the Democrats' best friend." I did so because it's an article of faith with Democrats such as John Murtha that opposition to "Bush's War" is good politics. It "energizes the base," the collection of left-wingers who dominate Democratic primary voting and who have absolutely no comprehension of what drives the Russ Kurtzes of the world -- the members of the Warrior Nation who fight the wars and protect our nation.
My criticism may be harsh, but it's not -- as they say in the business world -- "shrill." It happens to be the truth.
The Democratic Party won the election of 2006 mainly because the public had soured on President Bush and, by extension, the Republican Party. Democrats who are running for the 2008 presidential nomination realize that one issue will determine the nominee for President, which probably will be Hillary Clinton. Barack is of course running for Vice-President.
In Obama's announcement (surprise!) that he was running for President, he emphasized that he was against the War before it even began. Perhaps he opposed it before he was born.
His opponent, Hillary, recited her mantra, "If I knew then what I know now, I would have voted against . . . whoopty-do."
Obama's head-cheerleader, Senator Dick Durbin (D, IL) clarified his Illinois counterpart's position: he wants all U.S. "combat troops" out by March, 2008, 13 months from now. Of course, Durbin added (to Obama media-enthusiast Chris Matthews) that the 2008 deadline didn't mean there wouldn't be troops there "training" Iraqis, but all the men and women in combat would be somewhere else. Perhaps in John Murtha's Okinawa?
How exactly do Obama and Clinton propose to fight terrorism? By calling for a quick exit from Iraq -- and soon after from Afghanistan? By X-raying 11 million cargo containers? By not keeping out potential terrorists who cross our borders illegally? By handing out enough yellow ribbons to grace every remaining oak tree in America?
All Democratic candidates for President, even the thoroughly marginal ones like Vilsack, Biden, and Dodd, oppose the President's "surge," which they call the "escalation," picking a term out of the anti-Viet Nam playbook. Of course, all of them voted for -- or at least didn't vote against -- naming General David Petraeus commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq. Of course, Petraeus is the main architect of the surge. Go figure.
The poet Yeats once said "the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." He was wrong about the best, people like Churchill and Roosevelt, but he wasn't wrong about the worst.
A generation ago, John F. Kennedy said, "Let every nation know, whether friend or foe, that we will bear any burden, pay any price, to ensure the survival of liberty." If Obama had said anything like that in Springfield, IL, he would have been booed off the stage. He didn't see any irony announcing in the hometown of Abraham Lincoln, who managed a war in which 600,000 Americans died.
One talking point for Democrats generally is that they "support the troops, but not the War." As the Democratic governor of Wyoming said many months ago -- but probably not currently -- that's "a distinction without a difference."
When I say the war is the Democrats' best friend, I mean their support for "the troops" is mainly rhetorical. Democrats regularly cite the polls showing that a majority of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, but they also read the polls that show a majority of military people -- soldiers and their families -- continue supportorr the commander-in-chief, President Bush.
Frankly, the more horrors we see on TV each night, the better it is for the Democrats. Many left-wingers hate the sight of blood, even though it will rarely if ever be their blood. The lesson they learned from 9/11 seems to be that if we hide under the bed the Qaidaeda bogeyman won't hurt us. But as somebody like Russ knew, if he don't hurt al Qaida first, it surely will hurt us. .
Like John Kerry and Charlie Rangel, the Democrats generally know that soldiers aren't really part of their constituency. Some Democrats have implied the supposed intellectual deficiencies of soldiers and their families is the reason for their political backwardness. Admittedly, I can't see Russ Kurtz -- or the millions like him -- wearing an "Obama" or a "Clinton" campaign button.
What the Democrats are proposing is to cede the psychological and public relations wars to the terrorists. They're willing to make individuals like Russ Kurtz expendable. John Howard knows that, and so does most of the American military.
I shall miss you Russ. You knew instinctively that dying on your feet was far superior to living on your knees. RIP.