Top Videos
2008 Polls NationalIowaNew HampshireGeneral Election
GOP | DemGOP | DemGOP | DemHead-to-Head

Send to a Friend | Print Article

"D" Stands for "Defeat"

By Robert Tracinski

The War on Terrorism is a strange war that has been moved forward, directly and immediately, not by breakthroughs on faraway battlefields, but by the results of our own elections here at home.

The pattern is persistent: a period of action moves America forward, followed by a frustrating period of inaction before an election, followed by another burst of action. We saw the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, followed by months of diplomatic lip-flapping in 2002, followed by an election--and then the invasion of Iraq in 2003. We suffered through another period of inaction in the face of the Sunni uprising in Fallujah in 2004, followed by an election--and then the destruction of the Sunni insurgency as a significant military force in late 2004 and 2005, with all of the dividends that this paid in Iraq and Lebanon. For the last six months to a year, we've been stuck in another period of inaction in the face of sectarian violence by Shiite militias. The result has been the loss of all of America's momentum in Iraq and Lebanon. But President Bush is once again making the election a referendum on the war.

Perhaps this is the lesson President Bush took from the Vietnam War: that a war requires the support of the American people. But he has funny way of going about it. Bush would be much better off asking the American people to support the war while the bombs are dropping and the enemy is on the defensive. Instead, he asks us to approve a vigorous war policy just at the point that he is offering us the opposite.

This is a great frustration to those of us who support Bush and the Republicans, and it might be tempting to wash our hands of the whole process--if the Democrats didn't insist on offering a far worse alternative.

The Democrats are consistently campaigning on policies that would lead to a disastrous defeat, not just in Iraq, but in the entire War on Terrorism, from Lebanon to Afghanistan.

That's true whether or not the Democratic candidate in your own particular district advocates withdrawal from Iraq. With control of both houses of Congress at stake, a vote for any Democratic candidate is a vote for a Democratic leadership in Congress, with the power to set the legislative agenda, hold hearings, issue subpoenas, and, crucially, control the Pentagon's purse strings.

This last is particularly crucial. If the Democrats gain control of the House, for example, the new head of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee will be Jack Murtha. The man who writes the Pentagon's budget will be an advocate of immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. The House Ways and Means Committee, which has the most power over the federal budget, would be chaired by Harlem Democrat Charlie Rangel--who has already warned, "You've got to be able to pay for the war, don't you?"

To be sure, Democrats are divided on how they would prefer to lose the war. Some want an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, while others want a phased withdrawal. Even worse, many Democrats have climbed aboard a campaign advocating negotiations with Iran and Syria--the two main sponsors of the insurgency in Iraq--over what these dictatorships would do to "stabilize" Iraq after we leave.

This, then, is the Democrats' strategy in Iraq: declare defeat, and negotiate with Iran over the terms of our surrender.

If you imagine that this disaster will be limited to Iraq, think again. Ask yourself: what would happen if the jihadis achieved a victory over the American infidel in Iraq? Flush with confidence and confirmed in the assumption that the Americans, for all of their technological superiority, don't have the moral fortitude to fight a war, where would they go next?

A lot of them would go to Pakistan and Afghanistan and launch an even bigger war against us there, which they would be confident of winning. And what would the Democrats do then? They would throw up their hands and declared that Afghanistan was a mistake, too. Indeed, some on the left have already reached this point. Then the jihadis would set their sights on Pakistan, whose government is already in a stalemate with pro-al-Qaeda tribes in its mountainous provinces.

But don't worry. Maybe Pakistan's new Islamist rulers wouldn't go after us first. Maybe they would start a nuclear war with India, instead.

And a retreat from Iraq would be a green light to Iran to develop nuclear weapons--or to buy them from the North Koreans. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would achieve his goal of making Iran into a miniature superpower at the center of an Islamist Axis that stretches from the Mediterranean to the Himalayas.

As bad as things are now, a Democratic victory is likely to make things much, much worse very soon. The Democratic plan, if it is enacted, would deliver America into a period of retreat, humiliation, and uncertainty that we haven't seen since the end of the Vietnam War--while giving our enemies a glorious victory that would be seen as a historical vindication of the Islamist cause.

And after such a victory, how long will it be before the Islamists decide that the time has come to strike an even harder blow against America, attacking us again on our own soil?

This is what is at stake next Tuesday.

I cannot promise that a Republican election victory will lead to a glorious success. But with a Republican Congress, the Islamists will at least be denied an American defeat that vindicates their cause, and there will at least be a chance for another post-election American offensive, both in Iraq, and possibly against Iran.

It is not certain that, with a Republican majority, Bush will take vigorous action in Iraq and against Iran--but it is possible, and it is far more likely to happen if Republicans win next Tuesday's election. Nor is it certain that a Democratic congressional majority would actually have the nerve or the ability to de-fund the war. It is not completely certain that they will cause us to retreat from Iraq, surrender to Iran, lose Afghanistan, and abandon Pakistan to the Islamists--but it is probable, and it is far more likely to happen if Democrats win the election.

So remember when you enter the polls on Tuesday: that "D" next to a candidate's name stands for "defeat."

Let's make sure that on Wednesday morning, we can say instead that it is the advocates of defeat who have been defeated.

Robert Tracinski writes daily commentary at He is the editor of The Intellectual Activist and

Email Friend | Print | RSS | Add to | Add to Digg
Sponsored Links
 Robert Tracinski
Robert Tracinski
Author Archive