Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Right Has The Power To Win The War In Iraq



I was on the opposite side of this issue. While the immigration bill was a typically unsatisfying Washington compromise, I supported the idea of liberalizing our immigration laws, and I deplored the views of the "deport them all" right.

But I know the proper response when my side is beaten in a political battle. I'm not going to look down my nose at the unwashed rabble who refused to take direction from their political leaders, nor am I going to sniff petulantly that lighting up the Senate telephone switchboard is equivalent to "mob rule." When my side is beaten as soundly as this, it simply means that we have to work harder at convincing the public of the logic of our views.

But there is a more urgent, unrecognized lesson from the immigration bill's demise. The lesson is that there is no need for folks on the right to mope and complain when Congress doesn't vote their way. The lesson of the immigration bill is that you have the power. If the grassroots really wants to stop a bill, it can do it. Talk radio hosts and bloggers can rally the public, and their focused outrage can shut down that Senate switchboard and stampede the wishy-washy "moderate" Republican Senators (and a few Democrats, too).

So the big question is: where will the grassroots be when we really need them?

The right should quickly finish up crowing about its immigration-bill victory and take a good look at what is about to happen in the Senate over the next two weeks, because that will pose a much bigger threat to America than any influx of Mexican day-laborers.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is about to try again at forcing an American retreat from Iraq, and a group of wishy-washy "moderate" Republicans—yes, the same folks who quailed when the grassroots rejected the immigration bill—are sending signals that they just might join the Democratic defeatists.

The latest round of Republican defeatism was set off when Indiana Senator Richard Lugar wrote off General Petraeus's massive new counter-insurgency campaign—what the press has misleadingly called the "surge"—just as it finally begins in earnest. Republican senators Domenici, Voinovich, and Warner have joined him. Harry Reid is grapsing this opportunity to push a new anti-war resolution.

Yes, the war in Iraq has been badly mismanaged, primarily because we have allowed Iran and Syria to send in men, weapons, and money to support the insurgency. The results have not been pretty, and the public—including much of the conservative "base"—is not happy. But withdrawal and defeat won't look any prettier.

In the past few years, Iran has clearly emerged as our central enemy in the War on Terrorism. Both directly and through its satellite, Syria, Iran is behind all of the most malignant and aggressive forces trying to drive out America and its allies and impose a bloody, anarchic Islamic theocracy across the Middle East. Iran is behind the terrorist group Hamas in the Palestinian territories; it is behind Syria's car-bombers and Lebanon's fanatical Hezbollah militia. It is arming and training the Taliban against US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. And in the geographic center of this regional battle, Iran is supporting both wings of the insurgency in Iraq: Sunni al-Qaeda terrorists and Shiite Mahdi Army death squads.

To withdraw from Iraq without establishing a government capable of defending itself would cede this central front to Iran and its minions. It would be both a practical loss for the United States and a devastating psychological loss. It would confirm to the fanatics of the region that terrorism works and that the United States can be driven away by a militarily inferior enemy. And it would confirm to everyone else that America is an ally who cannot be relied upon, so they had better start making their terms with the fanatics.

A congressional vote for a withdrawal from Iraq would have the same effect as the congressional vote to end our support for South Vietnam: it would usher in a replay of the national malaise of the 1970s—a dangerous period in which our allies would be emboldened and on the offensive, reassured in their conviction that America is a fading power soon to be toppled.

Such a conviction would still be an error, in the long run; history shows that it is always a mistake to underestimate America. But we would likely have to be pushed much further by our enemies and suffer a much greater cost (perhaps a major new terrorist attack on American soil) before our nation could begin to recover and reassert itself.

Among other disasters, America's malaise of the 1970s encouraged the Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution in Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—two root causes of the current war we are fighting. What larger problem will we face in the future if we back out of this fight now? What will Iran do next after it has chased us out of Iraq and Afghanistan and built itself a nuclear bomb?

If you don't like this outcome—if you don't want to live through another period of American retreat, defeatism, and malaise—you can do something about it. You have proven that you can. As Reid puts his proposals up for a vote, light up those Senate switchboards again. Let your senators know that you expect them to stand firm and to refuse to give the Islamofascists a victory in Iraq.

Or have you, too, become so overwhelmed by a false sense of inevitable failure that you think we can't defeat our enemies abroad, and all we can do is to wall ourselves within a defensive bunker?

If the grassroots do not stand up to oppose defeat in Iraq and to demand a stronger stand against Iran, then what message are you sending? The editorial cartoonists Cox & Forkum have brilliantly summed up that message in a biting cartoon which criticizes the right for acting as if Mexicans are the biggest threat we face, when Iran and its minions are on the march. The humor bites because there's truth to it.

If you think Cox & Forkum's cartoon is unfair, you can do something about that, too. Prove them wrong.

That's my challenge to everyone who rallied the grassroots so successfully against the immigration bill—the Rush Limbaughs and Sean Hannities and Hugh Hewitts and everyone else—and it is a challenge to their grassroots readers and listeners as well. Be as passionate about opposing defeat in the War on Terrorism as you were about walling off the border. If you summon the same energy, you can achieve the same result.
You have the power. Use it.

2 comments:

Dinah Lord said...

Rock on, bro.

I'm with ya!

Great post.

Freedomnow said...

While the Dems eat their own we know that we are at war and have real enemies to fight.

I also hoped that the immigration bill would pass, but now that it has been bitterly opposed by those I consider my allies, I am willing to compromise on the issue.

You winners should put your passion to good use as Winston suggests. Keep your eye on the ball...