- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 14, 2006

The American people are about to participate in a precipice election, one where they must choose between victory and defeat on foreign battlefields.

Thankfully, George W. Bush won the 2000 and 2004 elections. Not even Democrats believe Al Gore would have responded to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, with the determination and ferocity necessary to deter further attacks on the American homeland and prosecute a world war to victory.

By 2004, the Democratic Party had bailed out of an intrinsic war coalition and began claiming Mr. Bush and his administration posed a greater threat to our national security than Islamic extremists. In 2006, Democrats are prepared to acquiesce in our defeat and surrender. As a matter of political expediency, they still claim they want victory, but their strategic and tactical nostrums are laughable — e.g., pulling back from Iraq to Kuwait and Okinawa to use as bases for possible reintervention, or even splitting up Iraq.

The brouhaha over Rep. Mark Foley’s indiscretions shows the differences between how Republicans and Democrats deal with scandals. Democrat politicos generally stand behind their offending officeholders. Republican politicos, however, tend to punish disgraced officeholders, up to and including removal from office and a thorough investigations of the facts.

Mr. Foley’s behavior was despicable, but details are still murky. Nonetheless, some leaders of conservatism in the Republican Party, including The Washington Times, have called for Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert’s head. For him to step down, on the basis of what’s known now, would be a gross miscarriage of justice, a surrender to expediency and a reward for Democratic hypocrisy.

Pouncing on the Foley scandal, the Democrats have shown their paucity of ideas and the anything-goes nature of their quest to regain congressional power, even at the expense of the commander in chief and the strategic and tactical interests of the United States while we’re prosecuting a world war. If the Almighty himself designated George W. Bush as doing His will, most Democrat officeholders and some of the rank-and-file would gladly go to hell.

For post-Vietnam Democrats, victory means defeating their domestic enemies, while coddling our foreign enemies in terms of how we interrogate them, track their money and monitor their communications. They appear not to care if we’re blind, deaf and dumb as we fight our enemies.

Such a party has no way to understand what constitutes victory on the battlefield. The party of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy died when it nominated George McGovern for president in 1972, and has since become essentially pacifist. This explains the Clinton administration’s feckless responses to Islamic extremists’ lethal provocations and its appeasement of North Korea.

In contrast, Republicans profited from wandering in the political wilderness under FDR and have come to understand, in the post-Vietnam era, that victory is won by doing what’s necessary. After you’ve won, you can do good by dispensing mercy to your former enemies and achieve a moral high-ground as a result of that largess.

Mr. Bush knows this, as Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan knew it. He also knows he’s fighting the third of a trilogy of world wars for the victory of ideas, rather than mere conquest of land and pursuit of wealth.

In World War II, FDR, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin defeated fascism, a collectivism and utilitarianism of the right. In the world war against Soviet communism, a leftist collectivism and utilitarianism, Truman laid the foundation for opposing its expansion and Reagan consigned it to history’s ash heap.

The current war, against religious totalitarianism, is winnable and is being won on the battlefield. But in America’s living rooms its outcome is in doubt, mostly because the “drive-by media” is more sympathetic to the Democrats’ worldview than to that of our commander in chief.

Mr. Bush’s opponents implicitly peddle the notion that defeat in Iraq carries no adverse consequence. This idea is both foolish and homicidal. The clear message of September 11 and of everything the enemy has said and done since is that they would just as soon kill us as look at us.

Many on the left hearken back to Vietnam and remember we suffered no abiding military or diplomatic consequence for losing that war due to lack of political will and despite all our victories on the battlefield. They conveniently forget that millions of our allies and other peoples in the region we abandoned were imprisoned or killed or drowned trying to escape. Even the victorious North Vietnamese have said the U.S. antiwar movement was crucial to their victory.

Throughout our history, we have rallied to support the party bearing the banner of victory against tyranny and projection of American exceptionalism into the future. We must do so again in November.

One party is doing what’s right, even if it’s difficult, and it relies on the American people to look past the difficulty by regarding it as a down payment on a better tomorrow. It also knows most Americans don’t want to see the U.S. eclipsed by foreign nations or ideologies, because they understand that also-ran nations must rely too much on others to maintain their freedom.

If the Republicans continue to control both Houses of Congress, it means we still have the zeal to best our enemies, in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. If the Democrats win one or both Houses of Congress, it will mean we’ve followed the Pied Piper of defeatism off the precipice, leaving us with only the forlorn hope of surviving the rocks below.



Mr. Goldcamp is a diplomatic historian and a former intelligence analyst. Nancy Goldcamp, his wife, is a former analyst and editor.

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