"Americans have a long and honorable tradition of taking exception with their governments, even during wartime. After Mr. Bush's speech, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid described Iraq policy as "adrift, disconnected from the reality on the ground and in need of major mid-course corrections." Surely anyone offering such a biting critique won't object if we examine precisely what "corrections" the loyal opposition has in mind.
Let's see: As best we can tell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's main suggestion Tuesday night was that we spend more on veterans benefits. Former General Wesley Clark--a man who should have something valuable to say on the subject of waging modern war (he wrote a book with that title)--lamented that Iraq has become a recruiting and training ground for terrorists, as if Abu Musab al-Zarqawi only entered his current profession in April 2003. And as if jihadists aren't also still hitting us in Afghanistan, which is a campaign General Clark says he supports.
By the logic of Mr. Clark's critique, the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq immediately because the terrorists will then leave us alone. But when Fox's Brit Hume pursued the question, Mr. Clark backed away. As for helpful policy alternatives, we didn't hear any."
"Then there is Delaware Senator Joe Biden, whose thoughts on the subject are particularly worth attending to because he is the Democratic Party's lead spokesman on the issue. Consider his track record to date:
• In April 2004, Mr. Biden predicted there would be "absolute chaos" in Iraq following the handover of sovereignty to the interim Iraqi government of Ayad Allawi. "Who's going to be the referee when [U.S. Ambassador Paul] Bremer leaves?" he demanded to know on CBS's Early Show. But Mr. Allawi helped smooth the transition to the current representative government, and he has taken his place as a leader of the opposition.
• In December 2004, Mr. Biden said prospects for a successful election in Iraq were "receding rapidly" because of Administration mismanagement; a month later, he predicted the election was "going to be ugly." But the January 30 elections were peaceful and inspiring.
• Earlier this month, Mr. Biden called the de-Baathification of the Iraqi army one of the "major mistakes" of U.S. policy, and called for Iraqis to rehire some of Saddam Hussein's old colonels. But it was precisely the April 2004 effort to re-enlist Baathist officers in the so-called Fallujah Brigade that was among the Administration's greatest mistakes so far in Iraq.
The Senator's latest ideas are to accept an Egyptian offer to train Iraqi police and to get NATO to deploy some troops to police the border with Syria. On the former, we weren't previously aware that the Cairo constabulary was a paragon of efficiency and probity, which is perhaps why the Iraqi government has discreetly turned away the offer. On the latter, has he talked to the French? They've barely allowed NATO forces to help in Afghanistan, much less be deployed in numbers in Iraq.
We stress Mr. Biden's views because he strikes us as one Democrat who understands the stakes in Iraq and seems genuinely interested in a good outcome. The thinness of even his policy alternatives suggests that Democrats really don't have any better ideas than the two-pronged Bush strategy of 1) supporting a new, inclusive democratic Iraqi government and 2) training and deploying Iraqi security forces as rapidly as possible.
As for the sincerity of Mr. Biden's colleagues, we are less sure. That goes especially for the 122 House Democrats--Barney Frank, Rahm Emanuel and Charlie Rangel among them--who last month supported a Congressional resolution calling for a timetable for withdrawal. This is a guarantee of defeat. These are the "Pottery Barn" Democrats, who claim to support the war effort on the premise that since the U.S. "broke" Iraq (rather than Saddam), the U.S. has to fix it--even as they have nothing but criticism to offer."
There is always room for constructive criticism and new ideas and apporaches. What the dem/leftists offer is only politcally motivated critcism. They may not believe presenting any concrete plans or ideas to be in their best interest. Aftr all, should they do that, there would be some thing to measure them against. - Sailor