The Democrats who want to lose in Iraq
A FEW DAYS AGO, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) made a speech urging the U.S., in effect, to get out of Iraq the way we got out of Vietnam.I hope he is right on that last point. He is clearly right that the antiwar left in the Democrat party wants to lose this war. There should be a poll that ask the question of the American people, "Do you want to lose the war in Iraq?"
Leahy told the Senate that we cannot win in Iraq. "It has become increasingly apparent that the most powerful army in the world cannot stop a determined insurgency." (U.S. troops, Iraqi troops, long-suffering Iraqi civilians to Leahy: Thanks, senator, we needed that.) And Leahy announced that the president must lay out a public formula to tell the world just when U.S. troops will leave Iraq. Otherwise, Leahy said, he will urge the Senate to choke off the war by refusing to fund it. That's how the U.S. finally lost Vietnam: Congress snuffed out the money.
Be warned, senator: If Democrats become the "let's treat Iraq as we treated Vietnam" party, the public will turn away in revulsion, and the Democratic Party will die. It's not in such great shape anyhow.
Leahy's words lighted up a deep, dark secret that this nation would rather forget. Defeat in Vietnam was a catastrophe for the U.S., a body-slam to the nation's self-confidence. It was far worse for Southeast Asians, who were exiled, imprisoned, tortured and murdered by their vicious communist conquerors. But for left-wing Democrats it was a triumph. Forcing the mighty U.S. military to run away was the greatest victory they have ever known. That triumph broke a levee that sent a flood of left-wing ideas pounding across the U.S. landscape.
MANY OBSERVERS have noticed that Democrats of the left speak of Iraq as another Vietnam. Few have explained why: Because Democrats of the left want Iraq to be another Vietnam. Not that they took pleasure in Vietnamese suffering, but they rejoiced in the left-wing power surge that transformed the United States in the aftermath. Naturally, they hope to repeat that experience: to humiliate Republicans, moderate Democrats and the military by pinning the label "bloody failure" on another foreign war.
It's not going to happen.
Iraq is nothing like Vietnam, and the public knows it. In the recent referendum, 63% of Iraqi voters cast ballots. Each vote screamed defiance at terrorism and defeatism. Each vote told the world that terrorism will lose and democracy will win, that Iraqis trust the United States to help protect them against vengeful insurgents bent on murdering whoever dares to hope and care and vote.
An impressive 78% voted "yes" on the new constitution. Sunni Muslims said no, but many said it at the ballot box. The referendum made clear that ordinary people everywhere do want to govern themselves. Democracy could have worked in Vietnam too.
This nation will abandon the Democratic Party before it abandons Iraq.