- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Anyone who doubts that McGovernism remains alive and well in the Democratic Party leadership hasn’t been listening to the contemptuous reaction to the idea of sending more troops to Iraq. Sen. Joseph Biden, the incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, is weighing whether to seek the presidency, and the party activists whose support he needs to win in places like Iowa and New Hampshire want us out of Iraq regardless of the consequences. Judging from the comments he made Tuesday about the hearings he plans on the Iraq war next month, Mr. Biden sounds like someone preparing to pander to such people. He accuses the United States of “already break[ing] Iraq,” and says his hearings, which will begin Jan. 9 and run three to four days a week for an unspecified period of time, will include discussions with Iraq’s neighbors (i.e. Iran and Syria).

Mr. Biden says he may call Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton, co-chairmen of the Iraq Study Group, who we can expect to dismiss the idea of increasing troop strength in Iraq. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Biden plans to give thoughtful advocates of the idea, including Gen. John Keane or Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute, a chance to make the case. We suspect Mr. Biden will listen to a parade of witnesses who agree with him and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership, saying that we have too many troops in Iraq right now; that we cannot possibly defeat the terrorists there; that we should instead be working for a “political solution”; and that we need to issue more ultimatums — not to the terrorists, but to the elected Iraqi government.

Mr. Biden acknowledges that it will be difficult for members of Congress to force President Bush to abruptly leave Iraq, and we suspect that he is right and that many members of his own party would be reluctant to take such an irresponsible step. The real goal behind next month’s dog and pony show is to raise enough of a ruckus to force the president to agree to some sort of phony compromise “surge” of a small number of American troops for a few months — just enough time to assure that little is accomplished militarily, while the senator and his political allies can claim to their friends in the media that the Keane/Kagan plan has been tried and has “failed,” and that the only alternative is to cut a deal with Tehran, Damascus and the Iraqi jihadists. President Bush and responsible lawmakers of both parties should be prepared to fight hard to prevent this from happening.

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