Don’t Go Wobbly On Us

Ralph Peters reminds the GOP not to go wobbly on the war:

Republicans are frightened of losing seats on the Hill. Despite all their lofty rhetoric, they just may be willing to gamble away Iraq’s future in order to say, “Look, ma! Only 75,000 troops left in Iraq!”

We don’t need any more premature declarations of “Mission accomplished.”

If the situation warrants a swift reduction, that’s great. But decisions on troop strength must be made by military commanders with Iraqi dust on their boots. None of us wants to hear Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld putting words in soldiers’ mouths again. Trust the troops, not the mandarins.

The right force level in Iraq can’t be decided by political pollsters — that bane of our republic. Military necessity should be the sole criterion.

I have a feeling that a troop drawdown would not only be disastrous for Iraq, but for the GOP as well. The GOP’s greatest strength right now is its national security position. The GOP has systematically pissed off everyone else through grandstanding over Terri Schiavo, the Miers debacle, and years of reckless and irresponsible spending. If it weren’t for the utter cluelessness of the Democrats on critical matters of national defense, a lot of moderate Republicans would bite the bullet and vote the bums out of office. Going wobbly on the war will alienate the base on the single major issue that is keeping the GOP cohesive.

Peters continues:

Perhaps we’ll legitimately be able to draw down our forces below 100,000 by next summer. If so, we’ll all be delighted. But if the situation continues to demand 120,000 troops or more, we need to focus on the mission — not on election-year special effects. Defeating terrorists is far more important than defeating Democrats (who are perfectly capable of defeating themselves).

Winning House and Senate seats but losing Iraq wouldn’t be a victory for anybody in America — no matter which party gained. If the administration makes troop reductions based purely on political calculations, the Republicans will deserve to lose.

Support our troops and bring them home — when Iraqi forces are on their feet. And not one hour before.

Iraq matters. Far more than the fate of Rep. Grababuck.

Peters is right – if the GOP starts reducing troops before the job is done, they’ll have broken their most crucial responsibility. What matters now is not which party has more seats in the Congress in January of 2007, but the continued democratization of the Middle East. Stephen Green says it best – “So here’s something to keep in mind this election year: Vote for hawks, not for parties.”

I’ve the feeling that a lot of people will be doing that next year, which is why the GOP had damn well better be the party of hawks come November.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Go Wobbly On Us

  1. “Despite all their lofty rhetoric, they just may be willing to gamble away Iraq’s future in order to say, “Look, ma! Only 75,000 troops left in Iraq!””

    The hawks definitely have reason to be concerned. For all their ham-handedness, the Democrats have successfully moved the goalposts on the Iraq debate. Setting a timeline for a phased withdrawal is now widely accepted as the “centrist” position, and soft Republicans are expected to move towards that position in the coming months. It would surprise me if, in another six months, the Republicans are any less divided about Iraq withdrawal than are the hapless Democrats.

    “a lot of moderate Republicans would bite the bullet and vote the bums out of office.”

    They’re probably gonna anyway. A full 68% of voters want divided government in the next session. That’s huge….and expressed by conservative columnist David Brooks on “Meet the Press” last Sunday. Brooks said he hopes the Democrats do win back Congress next year because having an empowered opposition will help both the Republicans and the Democrats to improve. If a known partisan like David Brooks is saying that, it bodes very poorly for the Republican Party hanging onto its centrists and GOP-leaning independents next year. For all the talk of House districts being gerrymandered to the point of uncompetitiveness, it may not even prove relevant if other Republicans have the same mindset Brooks has an end up voting Democrat to save the GOP from itself.

  2. As predicted by a number of conservative and Republican leaders, this war policy (which as I’ve noted at this very weblog before, is rooted in liberal internationalism, not in a conservative or realistic philosophy) has been disasterous, for many, many groups of people, but also for our party. We tried hard to support our candidates in this year’s elections, but the problems of the Bush administration made things so difficult. If major changes aren’t made soon, then these horrible consequences – from overseas to over here – will likely continue… And that would be horrible for all of us, regardless of party or politics.

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