Americans are torn between two irreconcilable positions on the Iraq war. Some want the war to be a success — variously defined — and some want the war to be over.
Conservatives are basically, but not exclusively, in the “success” camp. Liberals (and those further to the left) are basically, but not exclusively, the “over” party. And many people are suffering profound cognitive dissonance by believing these two positions can be held simultaneously. The motives driving these positions range from the purely patriotic to the coldly realistic to the cravenly political or psychologically perfervid.
With Wednesday night’s speech, President Bush made it clear that he will settle for nothing less than winning. He may be deluding himself, but he at least has done the nation the courtesy of stating his position, despite an antagonistic political establishment and a hostile public. What’s maddening is that the Democratic leadership cannot, or will not, clearly tell the American people whether they are the party of “end it” or “win it.”
But of course this has been the problem with the Democratic party for some time, not just since Nancy Pelosi placed the Speaker's gavel in the "hands of the children". It is the reason we do not have a President Kerry, all the domestic policy arguements are so much piffle if Iran bombs D.C. or the fracturous Shia's start fighting a Saudi backed Sunni coalition in Iraq.
Here we have a president forthrightly trying to win a war, and the opposition — which not long ago favored increasing troops when Bush was against that — won’t say what it wants.
This is flatly immoral. If you believe the war can’t be won and there’s nothing to be gained by staying, then, to paraphrase Sen. John Kerry, you’re asking more men to die for a mistake. You should demand withdrawal. But that might cost votes, so they opt for nonbinding symbolic votes.
Another Democratic dodge is the demand for a “political solution” in Iraq, the preferred talking point among Democrats these days. This is either childishly naive or reprehensibly dishonest. No serious person thinks that peace can be secured without a political solution. The question is how to get one. And nobody — and I mean nobody — has made a credible case that the Iraqis can get from A to B without more bloodshed, with or without American support.