Iraq and the Democrats

Clive Crook:


The better news, though, poses a challenge for Democrats as the election approaches. Opposition to the war has been their chief theme. This still commands broad and strong support, of course, but the intensity could continue to fade. Republicans will seek opportunities to accuse Democrats of wanting the US to fail, or of wishing to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – and those charges will acquire some force if the view that the surge has worked takes hold. For Democrats, even putting the recent fall in violence in its correct context poses a political risk, because it can be portrayed as failing to recognise the military’s efforts and achievements. If the Republican presidential contenders have any sense, they will tread very carefully here – while hoping that Democrats fall into the trap and helping them to if the opportunity presents itself.

Up to now, Democrats have been stinting in their recognition that the situation in Iraq has improved: “Yes, violence is down a bit, but . . .” That is the wrong posture. They need to celebrate the success, as long as it lasts, as enthusiastically as the Republicans. They also need to stop harrying the administration with symbolic war-funding measures demanding a timetable for rapid withdrawal, as though nothing has changed. This would take little away from their larger valid criticisms of the war and of its conduct until very recently. And it is not as though Iraq is all the Democrats have going for them in this election – they are on to a winner with health care. Any suspicion that they are rooting for defeat in Iraq could sink them.

Crook grudgingly admits he was wrong about the surge being a failure and acknowledges the grass roots reconciliation that is taking place. So far Democrats have not been this honest about their mistakes on Iraq. In fact they argue that the administration has an exclusive on mistakes about Iraq. That is looking less like a credible argument everyday and Crook is trying to warn them off of it.

I do think crook is wrong about health care too. The so called solutions of the Democrats are demonstrated failures in Canada and elsewhere. If free health care were so wonderful all those Cubans would not be risking their lives to leave home and Brits would not be taking vacations to get treatment unavailable at home. Click on the HEALTH CARE tag to see a collection of rationed health care horror stories. When Americans recognize that "free" health care means rationed health care and less care they will reject what the Democrats are offering.


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