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What the anti-surgers don’t understand that the honor of their country is at stake. So used have they become to performing in the comparatively diminutive theater of national politics that they have an exaggerated sense of their own importance. They don’t understand that, on the world stage, nobody is interested in them or in whether they are — or were — right or wrong about the Iraq war. Before the eyes of the world, the performer in Iraq is not them, or even President Bush, but the United States of America, with which they are included whether they like it or not. The humiliation of the United States which they are attempting to bring about by forcing a withdrawal from Iraq with the enemy still undefeated will, therefore, affect them every bit as much as it will the hated Bushites. Their foolishness in not seeing this is like that of Michael Moore in wondering why the terrorists of 9/11 would have hit a blue state like New York instead of some place where the war-mongers lived like Texas or Alabama.
That kind of thinking also depends on the liberal assumption that if we are hit it must be because we have done something to provoke those who hit us. That’s why the anti-war left thinks that matters of war and peace are simple ones. All we have to do is stop provoking the enemy and he will stop hitting us. The thought that we might be provoking him simply by being who we are, and therefore that there is nothing we can do to keep from being hit but to hit him first, is quite literally unthinkable to such people. To them, it’s a not-in-my-name moment. Like Senator Webb in his reply to the State of the Union Address, their concern is to get it on record that they didn’t support the war in the first place. Like Senator Kerry testifying before Congress in 1971, they think the President’s concern with avoiding the world’s perception of American defeat is a mere matter of personal vanity.
But the only thing that will matter to the enemy is that the USA chose the battlefield in Iraq and then chose to leave it with the enemy still in control. That is a defeat for our country whether Michael Moore or Senator Webb or Senator Kerry or Congressman Murtha or anyone else thinks it is or not. That’s the unforgiving nature of honor, which they don’t understand. Not only is it a defeat but, like all defeats, it cannot but breed further struggles — and further defeats — down the road. Once we are driven out of Iraq because three or four or five thousand dead — or whatever the final number turns out to be — seems too high a price for us to pay for national honor, it will only be a matter of time before we are driven out of Afghanistan and anywhere else where we meet the enemy directly. Then, when we think we can retreat behind our own borders and avoid him, he will come for us here too. And when he does the anti-surgers will doubtless still be bleating: “Why do you want to kill us? We were against the war?”
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