Sen. Joe Lieberman’s piece in today’s WSJ is both right on the substance and enormously important. He is right in saying we can’t cut and run, and explains why quite well. The piece is important because it shows that there still are Democrats who aren’t giving in, as Jack Murtha did, to the vast majority of their leaders who believe the only answer to Iraq is to create another Vietnam.
But Lieberman’s money quote is not on those central points at all. At the end of the article, he quotes past of a conversation he had with a Marine commander:
I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. His answer was insightful, instructive and inspirational: “I would guess that if the opposition and division at home go on a lot longer and get a lot deeper it might have some effect, but, Senator, my Marines are motivated by their devotion to each other and the cause, not by political debates.”
Though that is encouraging and inspiring, as Lieberman said, it sent a shiver down my spine. What that Marine said is the ghostly echo of what I heard over thirty years ago from the men fighting in Vietnam. They never understood that — in the minds of the Ted Kennedys, John Kerrys and Ramsey Clarks — Vietnam wasn’t winnable or worth fighting for. They don’t understand that now those same architects of defeat believe the same of Iraq. And aim for the same result.