Friday, August 17, 2007
You can't handle the Truth!
Do you remember the movie "A Few Good Men?" Mostly it is quite forgettable outside of the last few moments which gives us the Jack Nicholson "You can't handle the truth!" speech. Nicholson's character is somehow "tricked" by a wily Tom Cruise to spill all of the beans of his military flavored corruption based on Cruise's superior sophistry.
Sometimes I get the feeling that there are many Democrats that believe that the same thing is going to happen this September when Gen. David Petraeus returns with his report on Iraq. Let me politely assure everybody that this will not be the case. In fact, I believe that Democrats are in for no small amount of trouble.
The biggest mistake people make when looking at the war is coming to the conclusion that most of America feels the way that they do about the conflict. This is a mistake made by both fervent supporters and detractors of the war. The truth is that no matter what your position is on the war, a majority of Americans do not agree in totality. Polling questions are far too narrow to adequately show the intricacies of how people are feeling about the war and under what circumstances they support or lose support for the entire operation. Because of this, what happens in September is very much up in the air, despite the gloom and doom that has taken place in the past year. Currently, I believe that there are three factors in play that are likely to change the paradigm that the war is viewed from once Petraeus gives his report.
1. If they ever had any moral autority on the war, Congressional Democrats have frittered it away. A recent Zogby poll shows that support for the way that Congress is handling the Iraq war has fallen to 3%. Now that is a combination, I'll admit, of people who don't like that Congress is trying to micromanage the war combined with those upset that Congress has not brought the troops home. But 3% is incredible. But there is cause for a lot of anger. Quite frankly the leadership of both Houses of Congress have not sought to do anything at all to help the war effort, or end it altogether. Instead, they have used it solely as a club to beat George Bush with, and that is all they ever intended to do.
Think about that for a second. These people have put themselves in a position of straddling a position that calls, on one hand, for poormouthing our soldiers' capability, conduct, and accomplishment, while on the other hand of never putting together a workable plan or coalition to draw down our forces or commitment. If Harry Reid truly believed the Surge was doomed to failure, he could have worked to prevent Petraeus's appointment. He did not, but rather waited until Petraeus got on the next plane to Iraq after confirmation and began to criticize and undercut him before he even touched ground.
The House has held symbolic vote after symbolic vote, but never did anything that actually put any real solutions into play or show courage in any way. Criticism without leadership is not patriotism.
Who on the Democratic side has any moral authority, not to mention intellectual facility to play Cruise to Petraeus's Nicholson?
Harry "The war is lost!" Reid
Jack "In cold blood!" Murtha?
Nancy Too busy to attend Petraeus briefing Pelosi
Gabby "There are no terrorists in Iraq" Giffords.
There is not a single Democrat readily appearant to be up to the task of refuting anything Petraeus is going to report. The talent and depth of the current Democratic leadership and membership is just simply not there. You don't arrive at 3% by accident. Democrats are going to get rolled in John Roberts fashion.
2. Petraeus is going to return with clear and verifiable good news. Obviously I am not plugged in well enough to get direct reports, but there are others who are, and here is what those, whom you would expect to say differently, are saying:
Michael O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack think things are looking up. They are both spineless jellyfish, but knowledgeable jellyfish. They wouldn't have taken this shot over the bow unless they were relatively sure of measurable progress, so the fact that they made this statement is a pretty large positive indicator.
The UN is returning to Iraq.
U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (Democrat), who voted against the war in the first place, is coming out in support of the surge.
Even Dick Durbin is grudgingly admitting that the surge is working.
UPDATE- I forgot to mention Der Spiegel's surprising article. This publication is hardly pro war.
Now these are critics of the war. If you want to look for news from more friendly sources, it is abundant. My favorite is Micheal Yon who is far more deserving of a Pulitzer than most of the actual recipients in the last few decades. Keep in mind that Micheal is not a cheerleader by any means, but he is a friend of the soldier which is certainly a news angle we don't often get.
I don't doubt for a minute that evidence of Petraeus's plan working as outlined will be lacking come September.
3. America loves their soldiers. The "Far Left" (Not all Democrats, mind you, Sirocco) but large swaths of liberals have a huge problem with the military. They have for years. It is obvious, identifiable, and it is not going away. It is one of those stumbling blocks that allows Republicans, even when we are at out most incompetent, to keep any type of power. Remember Ollie North? He was in deep trouble, and by all accounts would probably still be in prison had he had the image and temperament of a Scooter Libby. Instead he showed up in dress uniform, took the oath, and proceeded to dismember the joint Congressional Committee. It didn't matter what was said, it was that damn photograph of him taking the oath that was the linchpin. Where I grew up there was a barbershop that even advertised "Ollie North haircuts." It was quite the opposite effect of "A Few Good Men."
Now lets place Petraeus in the same setting. He has committed no crime and has went out and did what many in congressional leadership told us was impossible. Now there will be a certain amount of goalpost moving (it's already starting) but how do you think he is going to focus group? How do you think those who attempt to henpeck and criticize him are going to come off? The congress that went after North was the superior in every way to what we will see lined up against Petraeus, and Petraeus is far superior to Oliver North. Democrats have put themselves in a bad position by belittling Petraeus and his mission and then by agreeing to this September briefing. And the more a 17% congress goes after a soldier, the worse things will get for Democrats. Again, America loves their soldiers, but they practically worship successful soldiers. After Bush is removed as the face of the current war and replaced by Petraeus, things will change dramatically.
And then who knows what will happen.
Posted by Framer at 5:41 PM