Petulance Over Policy

The Wall Street Journal asks where’s the constructive opposition from the Democrats on Iraq?

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.

The problem with the Democrats is that they have an irrational hatred of Bush, and that’s about it. The only thing the American public gets from the Democrats is a long laundry list of gripes and compliants, and absolutely nothing else. Even when a Democrat like John Kerry tries to offer something of the way in a plan it comes out to be a combination of things that are already being done and poorly-thought out plans that demonstrate a shocking ignorance of the reality of the conflict.

There are plenty of critiques that can be made of President Bush’s handling of the war. Except that almost all the intelligent ones are coming from the right. When nearly all the meaningful debate on the war is coming from the Republican Party, is it any wonder that the Democrats are once again being rightly perceived as the party that’s clueless on national defense?

If the Democrats want to ever be treated as a party that’s even remotely serious on issues of defense, it’s time for the Democratic leadership to rebuff the pro-defeat lobby and stand with the President in calling for a free Iraq. Instead of taking potshots, they need to offer concrete and reasonable policies. However, that requires the Democrats to stand up to the left-wing Michael Moore/MoveOn axis that has a stranglehold on the Democratic Party. Despite some sensible comments from some Democrats, it’s clear that the Democratic Party remains in thrall to the radical Bush-hating minority, and until it can break that dependency they will remain a minority party.

7 thoughts on “Petulance Over Policy

  1. I wonder if Republican blind-hatred for Clinton would have led to similar behavior if Clinton pursued some bold, visionary policy in 1996. I suspect it may have, mainly as a result of many Republicans’ sudden isolationism with respect to Bosnia.

  2. As a moderate Independent my guess would be that if we switched the party that is in power we would be hearing the same rhetoric just different parties.

  3. winston, good point. I suspect you’re right.

    Jay, the Democrats may be short on alternatives, but Bush’s “stay the course” jingo is essentially equivalent to the Democrat alternative. Once a quagmire is born, there are no easily identifiable solutions. That why LBJ and Nixon spun their wheels for more than a decade over Vietnam….and that’s why both parties will continue to zig and zag aimlessly for the next decade in Iraq. By the year 2012, I expect you and the “intelligent war critics” on the right will still be serving up the same “we’ll leave when we finish the mission” canards while the Democrats will continue to criticize without alternatives.

  4. I think an interesting debate would be whether a pull out by U.S. troops would actually plunge Iraq into a worse situation, or would lessen the “insurgency” as others claim. Since many won’t us out RIGHT NOW, then this is the debate we should have.

  5. Can you help me find the passage where Democrats at the national level are calling for a non-free Iraq? I’m a bit puzzled at the suggestion that people are somehow saying, “Forget Bush! I’m all for tyrrany, and I absolutely oppose free elections and democracy.”

    Did you get this at

  6. Can you help me find the passage where Democrats at the national level are calling for a non-free Iraq? I’m a bit puzzled at the suggestion that people are somehow saying, “Forget Bush! I’m all for tyrrany, and I absolutely oppose free elections and democracy.”

    122 House Democrats voted for a resolution demanding a timeline for withdrawal. This would effectively ensure a terrorist victory in Iraq as it would signal exactly how long they’d need to wait before they could destroy the country.

    It may not be an intentional defense of tyranny, but tyranny would be the inevitable result.

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