- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Calling it quits

“Quit. It’s that simple. There are plenty of more complex ways to lose a war, but none as reliable as just giving up,” Ralph Peters writes in the New York Post.

“Increasingly, quitting looks like the new American Way of War. No matter how great your team, you can’t win the game if you walk off the field at half-time. That’s precisely what the Democratic Party wants America to do in Iraq. Forget the fact that we’ve made remarkable progress under daunting conditions: The Dems are looking to throw the game just to embarrass the Bush administration,” Mr. Peters said.

“The irresponsibility of the Democrats on Capitol Hill is breathtaking. (How can an honorable man such as Joe Lieberman stay in that party?) Not one of the critics of our efforts in Iraq — not one — has described his or her vision for Iraq and the Middle East in the wake of a troop withdrawal. Not one has offered any analysis of what the terrorists would gain and what they might do. Not one has shown respect for our war dead by arguing that we must put aside our partisan differences and win.”

Mr. Peters, a retired Army officer, added: “Yes, we’ve been told lies about Iraq — by Dems and their media groupies. About conditions on the ground. About our troops. About what’s at stake. About the consequences of running away from the great struggle of our time. About the continuing threat from terrorism. And about the consequences for you and your family.



“What do the Democrats fear? An American success in Iraq. They need us to fail, and they’re going to make us fail, no matter the cost. They need to declare defeat before the 2006 midterm elections and ensure a real debacle before 2008 — a bloody mess they’ll blame on Bush, even though they made it themselves.”

What they want

Ben Stein, who appeared in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and hosted the TV game show “Win Ben Stein’s Money,” thinks he sees a familiar pattern.

“It is not just a guess, but a certainty that if the U.S. were to abruptly withdraw from Iraq, as the Democrats are urging us to do, there would be a bloodbath in Iraq far worse than what we have seen so far,” Mr. Stein writes in the American Spectator Online (www.spectator.org).

“There would be outright civil war, large scale massacres of civilian populations beyond what we have seen by an order of magnitude, and a Middle East in chaos as Iran, the Kurds, and the Sunnis fought it out for land and oil and power. The word of the United States would be mud. Is this really what the Democrats want? …

“I see a frightening pattern here: the Democrats wanted us out of Vietnam, and never mind the genocide that followed. The Democrats want us out of Iraq and never mind that the [Ba’athists] will fill the vacuum and all Iraq will be screaming in pain except the murderers, who will exult — especially Osama bin Laden. … Are we so weak that in only four years, after a war smaller in casualties than many unknown battles of the Civil War, we are already eager to surrender to the man who murdered women and children and made terrified couples hold hands and leap to their deaths from the World Trade Center? If so, there really is little hope for us as a people.”

Pelosi’s poodles

“Media attention has focused on the GOP moderates, generally portraying them as finally standing up to their leadership by opposing heartless cuts in social programs,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, a rural New York Republican, was quoted as calling the original package of budget cuts ‘far too high’ and complaining that GOP leaders were trying to ‘clone’ everyone in the party into one mold. Despite his rhetoric, he provided a critical vote to pass the budget last Friday after he was promised more money for low-income energy assistance, along with the promise of an extension for one of several federal programs that subsidize dairy farmers when prices drop,” Mr. Fund said.

“Much less attention has been paid to the role of the Blue Dog Democrats, who have voted in lockstep with the rest of their party to oppose all spending cuts. The Blue Dogs talk a great game. They properly excoriate the Bush administration’s fiscal record and have proposed a 12-step plan to control spending, which includes such sensible ideas as honest budget accounting. Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee has bravely called for delaying or ending the new prescription-drug entitlement.

“What the Blue Dogs haven’t done is provide votes for any slowdown in federal spending. They complain they haven’t been consulted by GOP leaders, and there is some truth to that. But the unmistakable impression is that they are now putting short-term partisanship ahead of good policy by trying to make the House ungovernable. …

“One reason for their reluctance to cross the aisle and back any GOP budget is party pressure. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, furious that Blue Dogs provided the critical votes that passed the Central American Free Trade Agreement earlier this year, has laid down the law on party discipline. While it has never been made explicit, House Democrats I spoke with are convinced they will lose committee assignments if they vote for a GOP-backed budget. How else to explain the complete unanimity of opposition from House Democrats?”

Democratic dance

“Ever get a gift that looks beautiful but comes with a long list of special-care instructions? That’s what opponents of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito got last week when his 1985 application for a job in the Reagan Justice Department surfaced in Washington,” reporter Massimo Calabresi writes in Time magazine.

“In it, Alito espoused the idea that ‘the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion.’ With a solid majority of Americans in favor of legalized abortion, Alito’s opponents thought they had finally found their cudgel. But the Senate Democrats, at least, did not seem prepared yet to use it bluntly: for Alito’s nomination, they have settled on a strategy that doesn’t take abortion head on. ‘The tactic is going to be to frame it as a debate over broader rights, including privacy, civil rights and women’s rights,’ says Jim Manley, the spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid. This will avoid, Manley says, ‘the divisive debate over the word itself.’

“Democrats are wary because the majority of Americans are not dogmatic on the issue. While most want abortion to remain legal, they also support restraints on its use, and politicians who fail to strike a credible balance pay a price (think John Kerry). You could already see the Senate Democrats’ cautious approach by observing their behavior last week. In a series of speeches Wednesday, Reid and Senators Ted Kennedy and Charles Schumer spoke on Alito and the memo, but danced around abortion.

“On Thursday, the Senate’s top five Democrats held a 40-minute strategy session in the anteroom of Reid’s office with about 15 representatives of outside groups opposed to Alito’s nomination. Abortion may have been on everyone’s mind, but it was barely mentioned.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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