“Slow-Bleed” Becomes Democratic Iraq Strategy

by Sean Hackbarth

The Democrats’ problem with the Iraq War is their lack of any alternative idea. When running in Congressional races last all they had to do was complain about the war and go with the flow of the public’s disenchantment. They were simply floating on their inner tubes down the lazy river of President Bush’s lousy poll numbers. You combined such sentiment with a feckless Congress that couldn’t control spending, didn’t get its budget bills passed, and acted torpidly toward the bad apples in their party and POOF! the Democrats control Congress.

Now, that Speaker Pelosi runs the House of Representatives turning the anti-war vibe Democrats tapped into policy is proving to be politically tricky. Many of the freshmen Democrats came from swing states. While swinging one way last November voters’ opinions could easily swing the other way in 2008. Rep. Joe Donnelly is stuck on that swing set right now:

Rep. Joe Donnelly is one of a clutch of freshmen Democrats who snagged victories over Republican incumbents last fall amid public discontent over the war in Iraq. Now, as his party prepares to register its opposition to President Bush’s plan to boost troop levels, Donnelly is on the fence.

“The most important part of this to me is standing up for the troops and making sure we have full funding for them,” Donnelly said Tuesday, after a weekend meeting with veterans’ groups and constituents back home in his conservative north-central Indiana district. “I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

There is broad support for the Democratic-written resolution opposing Bush’s plan to add 21,500 troops. But many rank-and-file members particularly moderate newcomers who rode to Congress on a wave of public discontent about Iraq are wary of casting any vote that could be construed as ending funding for the mission.

Army Lt. “General (David) Petraeus is over there, and I want to give him every opportunity to succeed and all the funding and resources that would make that possible,” Donnelly said, but he added that he was concerned that a troop increase could amount to “simply providing 21,000 more targets to the Iraqis.”

Later in the AP story the less liberal Democratic Leadership Council’s Will Marshall said the only thing Democrats agree on is the U.S. must “start winding the occupation down, not doubling down on it.”

What word is missing: victory. The party of the donkey has lost the will to win if they every really had it. Yet they don’t have the spine to admit it and take the most logical action: rescind the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). If the war is so wrong and so bad for our troops and nation anything less is an abdication of leadership.

The only victories the Democrats seek are those over President Bush and Congressional Republicans. Thus we come to the House Democrats’ spineless, outrageous, atrocious idea of regulating the war to death. The mastermind of this is Rep. John Murtha who wants to:

will seek to attach a provision to an upcoming $93 billion supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Afghanistan. It would restrict the deployment of troops to Iraq unless they meet certain levels adequate manpower, equipment and training to succeed in combat. That’s a standard Murtha believes few of the units Bush intends to use for the surge would be able to meet.

In addition, Murtha, acting with the backing of the House Democratic leadership, will seek to limit the time and number of deployments by soldiers, Marines and National Guard units to Iraq, making it tougher for Pentagon officials to find the troops to replace units that are scheduled to rotate out of the country. Additional funding restrictions are also being considered by Murtha, such as prohibiting the creation of U.S. military bases inside Iraq, dismantling the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and closing the American detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

By tying his hands Pelosi and Murtha hope President Bush ends his mission of building a stable, free Iraq. In the process the “Surrender Without Responsibility” Democrats maroon troops currently in Iraq and gives a big finger to the millions of Iraqis who risked their lives to vote and work toward a free Iraq. On Valentine’s Day that’s one hell of a way to say, “I love you.”

These are leaders who when the going gets tough run away. Such feckless action will lead to another national Vietnam syndrome. If we scurry from Iraq with our tails between our legs enemies of the U.S. will be emboldened. Iran, al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and every other Islamist terrorist group will say, “The Great Satan is weak. They can be vicious, but they’re brittle. Eventually they will break. We are more patient and know our cause is right. America is too soft, too secular, too timid.” American weakness will encourage attacks on a Sep. 11 scale. When that happens will we want leaders like Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Murtha demanding action? Why bother when after a year of so of hard work by our military and a few deaths they’ll give up and want to cocoon behind Fortress America? As Simon from Classical Values writes, “This move by the Democrats will not shorten the war against the jihadis. It will make it at least ten times bloodier for them and us.”

Democrats don’t even have the guts to cut funding for a war they don’t support. Bruce McQuain writes,

What’s disgusting about this is it’s all about politics. Dangerous politics. Gutless politics. Politics which, despite Democrat’s non-binding resolutions declaring their eternal support for troops in the field are going to get Soldiers and Marines in Iraq killed.

As long as Bush gets blamed Pelosi and her gang will sleep soundly.

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