If there is an illustration next to the word "gall" in the dictionary, the picture may very well be of the Congressional Democrat leadership, led (less than ably) by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (with Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Jack Murtha close behind).
Under Reid's political-victory-at-any-cost brand of "leadership," Congressional Democrats have done everything in their power to ensure America's defeat in Iraq, while simultaneously attempting to place the blame for the loss squarely on the shoulders of a President who either is unwilling to defend himself and the military for which he serves as Commander in Chief, or is incapable of doing so. The process began in earnest soon after the 110th Congress convened, when, on the heels of the Senate's confirmation of General David Petraeus as commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq (MNF-I), both Democrat-controlled houses attempted to ram through nonbinding resolutions condemning the "troop surge" which had been requested by Petraeus, and which was a key component of President Bush's long overdue "new strategy" in that war.
Next, again going against the wishes of America's military leaders (something which Reid and others have constantly berated the President for supposedly doing), the Democrat Congress adopted the "slow bleed" tactic, which was designed to combine a multimillion dollar anti-military, anti-war campaign with legislative action that would slowly but surely deprive the warfighters on the ground in Iraq of the materiel they needed to prosecute the war, in hopes that, once they had run so low on funding, gear, and supplies that they could no longer effectively fight, President Bush would be forced to bring them home. This unconscionable "strategy" -- simply turning off the spigot of supplies necessary to keep our men and women in harm's way alive and functioning, in hopes of forcing a political opponent's hand -- might have actually worked, had one Representative (Pennsylvania Democrat Jack Murtha) not made the abysmally foolish (and thankfully lifesaving) decision to go public with the plan. The reaction to this horrific plan was severe enough that the "strategy" had to be dropped -- at least for the time being.
Senator Reid did not allow that minor setback to stop him though; instead -- once again, without consulting with the Generals -- he opted for the nuclear option, and went to the media with the sudden pronouncements that "the was [was] lost" and that "the surge [had] failed." As usual, he and his defenders derided ay claims that our enemies had heard or been emboldened by his words (as they have with every statement and tactic made and utilized by the Democrats in their fight against the American military); however, such defenses rang even more hollow than usual as, within hours of the statement being made, every Middle Eastern news agency from Al Jazeera to Iran's state news service had reprinted and rebroadcast Reid's words.
Only days after this gaffe (to be polite about it), Reid rammed a bill through the Senate (and his counterpart in the House, Speaker Pelosi, did the same in her chamber), which accomplished what the Democrats had been trying to do for months, and set a date for surrender in and withdrawal from Iraq. No senior military leaders were consulted in this decision, either, though the criticism that it was Bush who refused to "listen to the Generals" remained hypocritically constant.
In the past week, Senator Reid and his band of Merry Dems, guided by their "defeat Bush whatever the cost" mentality, finally crossed a line from even remotely excusable action to being overtly, obviously, and pathetically anti-military and anti-American, when they -- who have so often accused the President of using the troops as political pawns -- pulled a series of stunts which were beyond the pale.
On Wednesday, as the seemingly weaker-by-the-day President Bush prepared to make a trip down to Capitol Hill to beg Congress to reconsider his immigration bill, Reid and Pelosi sent a co-written letter to the Commander in Chief in which they reasserted that the war was a lost cause, and that the "surge" -- which is still not even fully implemented -- had failed miserably. Reid followed this by demonstrating how brazenly callous a "leader" he really is, as -- for the first time since he became Senate Majority Leader six months ago, and (not coincidentally) at the moment that President Bush was arriving to meet with him -- he took to the Senate floor and held a "moment of silence" in remembrance of the 3,500 soldiers killed in Iraq.
With this, Senator Reid made his point loud and clear: to him, the soldiers in Iraq, who are bleeding and dying day in and day out, are simply a useful tool with which to fight the war that really matters -- the war against President Bush and the hated Republicans, for the victor's spoils of political points and future power.
How pathetic must a man -- and a party -- be, to be willing to throw the country they purportedly help "lead" under the bus, and to embrace and facilitate the killing of young men and women in uniform, in order to pander to their base, and in order to (hopefully) secure political power?
The Democrat position on America and on Iraq is clearly exemplified by their Senate leader, and it is this: defeat at all costs. No matter how many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines are killed (more, of course, make for better headlines, and therefore a more public case for surrender), no matter how obviously duplicitous and hypocritical their acts and statements are, and no matter the long-term repercussions not only for the middle east -- whose abandonment they hope to force -- but also for America, the "anti-war" left, led in office by Senator Harry Reid, will have its defeat.
Shortly after the 2006 elections, the left took the metaphorical scalp of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rather than sating the Democrats, the concession made by President Bush in asking, and accepting, his resignation only whetted their appetite for more. They got a second scalp only days ago, when current SecDef Robert Gates announced that the administration was so afraid of "contentious, backward-looking confirmation hearings in the Senate" that General Peter Pace, the nation's highest ranking military officer, would be retired, rather than nominated for a second two-year term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In the days after Gates's announcement, Reid held a conference call for far-left bloggers in which he called Pace -- one of the Generals to whom Bush had supposedly "not been listening" -- "incompetent" and "a yes-man for the President." A fellow Congressional Democrat, California Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), made similar comments to the media, saying that Pace had repeatedly "showed his ignorance" and was guilty of "a serious dereliction of duty" because of "a war we got into on a lie" and because of "the policies of this administration." So much for respect for the military -- or for even making sense.
The next head on the metaphorical chopping block will be General Petraeus, the commander in Iraq and the man who, in September, will be dragged before Reid's Senate to testify as to whether or not he has accomplished the ten-year task he was given in the nine months he was allotted (while having to work against the constant flow from the Democrat-controlled Congress of repeated statements -- as public, and on as international a scale, as possible -- that he would fail, was failing, and had failed, as well as that they would deny him the money, troops, authorization, and time he needed).
For Reid and his cohorts, it will not matter what Petraeus says this fall; their minds have long been made up that America will lose this war, regardless of whether she actually does so or not. To this effect, they have already begun to lay the groundwork for their attempt at discrediting him. In the last few days, Reid has cast aspersions on Petraeus's honesty and willingness to attest to the actual state of affairs in Iraq; in September, it will only get worse. The end has been scripted by the left and the media and, come this fall, regardless of what information is contained in such simple notions as truth or facts, Petraeus and the American military will have failed -- and Reid and the Democrats' actions and statements (and ridiculous time constraints) will have had nothing whatsoever to do with it.
President Bush's post-9/11 words hold even more true now than they did when he first spoke them: people around the world -- including on the home front -- are, in fact, "either with us or with the terrorists." The anti-war side of the political leadership in this country has advanced well beyond the supposedly "non-binding" stage, and is making its choice of sides clearer by the day. Our soldiers and our country are paying, and will continue to pay, for this unconscionable behavior.
The Bush administration appears woefully inept at making its own case (surprise) and at defending either itself or our military. While that fact is regrettable at best, what it means is that we the people must take an even more vocal and more active stand for our nation and for those who are shedding blood at this very moment to preserve it. The lies, the duplicity, the hypocrisy, and the willingness to let Americans die for the shot at a bit more political power cannot be allowed to continue unchecked, and if the executive branch is so incapable of doing this job that it is left solely to us, then so be it.
It is not a challenge which we can afford to take lightly, or to avoid. In the words of John Kerry at the 2004 Democrat convention (but slightly less creepy): Bring. It. On.
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