- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2005

At the core of the Democrats’ incessant carping about the war in Iraq is their oft-stated belief our invasion and continued presence there fuel the terrorist movement. But when you hear them argue the point, you can’t help come away with the sense they are not concerned with the terrorists’ moral outrage but their own. They just don’t dare admit it.

You’ve heard them say our presence in Iraq incites otherwise peaceful Muslims to don their suicide bomber belts, and, “The Iraqi people view us as occupiers, not liberators.” And how about their enthusiasm for the highly dubious (and patently absurd) poll that 80 percent of Iraqis want us out?

Surely they know Islamofascist terrorists, who declared war on us years before they attacked us without provocation on September 11, 2001, don’t need any prompting to hate us infidels, capitalists and cultural decadents.

But if we were to turn tail and run out of Iraq, they would hate us even more, because their hatred would be compounded by a profound disrespect for our weakness and cowardice. If you truly want to incite further terrorist action against America, adopt the Democrats’ Neville Chamberlainesque approach to aggressive and brutal enemies, or emulate Bill Clinton’s precedent in Mogadishu.

Yet the Democrats can’t possibly afford to say what they really think. It would be politically suicidal for them to express sympathy for the terrorists’ ostensible moral indignation at our intervention, so they couch their objections in pragmatic terms: Our actions recruit more terrorists. But their own moral objections to the war are too overpowering to be masked.

Why else would they deliberately overlook America’s accomplishments in Iraq and the historic progress of Iraqis toward constitutional self-rule? Why would they rush to embrace innuendo, propaganda, rumors and lies about American misconduct, from allegations Americans tortured terrorist detainees and terrorized Iraqi citizens? Why would they eagerly spread the lie we killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis? Why do they downplay the atrocities and oppression of Saddam’s reign of terror?

Indeed, if America’s perceived misdeeds spawn terrorism, why are Democratic leaders devoted to destroying our image abroad? Why do they, against the advice of Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, undermine our wartime commander in chief?

Whether or not Democrats like it, Saddam has been deposed, and we have limited options going forward. We either withdraw before we’re confident the Iraqi forces can protect the new government, with a greatly increased likelihood of Iraq turning into another terrorist staging center and our fallen soldiers having died in vain. Or we stay until Iraqi forces can go it alone.

As any reasonable person can see, we have no real choice — unless you disagree with our mission. We must stay until the job is completed.

As for Democrats disagreeing with our mission, you have to wonder when no less than the recently sainted Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania said, “When you fight an insurgency, you have to win the hearts and minds of the people, and we’ve lost the hearts and minds of the people.”

It’s pathetic that we’ve allowed the terrorists, malcontents and nihilists in Iraq to be euphemized as “insurgents,” as if any of them want what is best for the Iraqi people as a whole. It is offensive we even flirt with the preposterous suggestion there is moral equivalence between these barbarians and the vast majority of the Iraqi people who appear committed to a republican government. And it is outrageous that leaders, such as Mr. Murtha, lend credence to the idea that the hearts and minds of global terrorists or Saddamist rejects are “winnable.”

It is also pathetic that Democrats had to convene a closed-door meeting to come up with a plan for Iraq. You mean they crucified George Bush for the last two years over his plan’s deficiencies when they never had an earthly idea what alternative they would recommend? Precisely. And Democratic spokesman Howard Dean admitted as much, saying it is not the Democrats’ responsibility to come up with a plan.

Democrats simply have no plan beyond Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden’s gratuitous refrain, “We’ve got to train Iraqi soldiers faster.” Until they have the guts to openly admit their moral opposition to the mission, they’ll be reduced to bogus arguments about terrorist recruitment, destructive obsessing over their mythical creations that Mr. Bush lied and tortures, or the unintelligible psychobabble of John Kerry calling for nonspecific, specific timetables and the setting of benchmarks.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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