Friday, December 16, 2005

American Pride

The Moose celebrates a "benchmark".

The overwhelming turnout in Iraq should be celebrated by all democrats - both upper case and lower case. America should be proud. Iraqis should be proud. All freedom-loving people should be proud. And we are indebted to the heroism of the brave American troops and Iraqis for this day of democratic action.

That is not to say, that "democracy" has been achieved - there is a long way to go and much could go wrong - for instance, a civil war. But, the Moose somehow remembers that America already suffered through that experience. Democracy does not develop overnight, but in fits and starts - particularly in a part of the world that has never enjoyed freedom.

Certainly, we shouldn't be struck by irrational exuberance about our role in Iraq. So much has gone wrong - but so much is right. We do not know how the Iraq tale will end - there are many variables yet to play out - but clearly this is not the time to give up.

Whatever the difficulties to come, let us savor the moment. Indeed, it is a rare moment in human history when a great nation, by force of arms acting in her national security interests, liberates millions of people from a murderous tyrant and brings them democracy. That may inflame a Buchanan or a Moore, but it should be emotionally moving to those with a liberal disposition.

The sad truth is that, on foreign policy, many on the left have more in common with the Robert Taft tradition than that of FDR and Truman. Incredibly, the House Democratic leader even cites the old GOP isolationist, Robert Taft, in defense of her position on the war. Indeed, there is a split in the Democratic Party - between the Taft Democrats and the Truman Democrats. Contemplate this - in some precincts within Democratic Nation it is more fashionable to invoke Taft rather than Truman. One wonders why they have forsaken Henry Wallace!

Truman Democrats are pleased by this report by John Burns in today's New York Times,

"On a day when the high voter turnout among Sunni Arabs was the main surprise, Ali and his posse of friends, unguarded as boys can be, acted like a chorus for the scene unfolding about them. A new willingness to distance themselves from the insurgency, an absence of hostility for Americans, a casual contempt for Saddam Hussein, a yearning for Sunnis to find a place for themselves in the post-Hussein Iraq - the boys' themes were their parents', too, only more boldly expressed."

Democrats must make a decision. At the moment, the party is incoherent in a decisively weak fashion. Democrats should certainly not be "cheerleaders" for this Administration but Democrats should be doing back-flips for democracy - a novel concept, that.

Is the donkey's message getting out or getting it right? And let's understand what the meaning of the term "redeployment". It is a cute euphemism that means giving up - no one is confused about its meaning. If we leave Iraq, does anyone seriously believe that we will re-invade? Will Zarqawi and his buddies interpret a redeployment as anything but an American retreat? Let's be honest.

And honesty is the best policy when it comes to Iraq. The President is very belatedly coming to that conclusion, as was somewhat evident in his speech on Wednesday. It is high time that we not only get candor from this Administration - it is also the moment when the Bushies should seriously reach out to Democratic hawks. If we are to be successful in this war, a bi-partisan domestic coalition is imperative. And it would be useful if the President gave Rummy a gold watch and showed him the door.

The other good news is that the Administration "redeployed" its forces on the McCain torture amendment. It was wise for the White House to capitulate on this issue that is directly related to the public diplomatic battle in the war against terror. As Victor Davis Hanson, a resolute hawk, has eloquently stated,

"So we might as well admit that by foreswearing the use of torture, we will probably be at a disadvantage in obtaining key information and perhaps endanger American lives here at home. (And, ironically, those who now allege that we are too rough will no doubt decry "faulty intelligence" and "incompetence" should there be another terrorist attack on an American city.) Our restraint will not ensure any better treatment for our own captured soldiers. Nor will our allies or the United Nations appreciate American forbearance. The terrorists themselves will probably treat our magnanimity with disdain, as if we were weak rather than good.

"But all that is precisely the risk we must take in supporting the McCain amendment - because it is a public reaffirmation of our country's ideals. The United States can win this global war without employing torture. That we will not resort to what comes so naturally to Islamic terrorists also defines the nobility of our cause, reminding us that we need not and will not become anything like our enemies."

Yes, yesterday was a day of democracy for Iraq and a day of pride for America.
-- Posted at 8:18 AM | Link to this post | Email this post