John Hinderaker, at Power-Line, quotes an eloquent remonstrance from John McCain to his despicable colleagues in the Senate. He titled it: A Man Addresses the Boys.
Let us keep in the front of our minds the likely consequences of premature withdrawal from Iraq. Many of my colleagues would like to believe that, should the withdrawal amendment we are currently debating become law, it would mark the end of this long effort. They are wrong. Should the Congress force a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, it would mark a new beginning, the start of a new, more dangerous, and more arduous effort to contain the forces unleashed by our disengagement.
No matter where my colleagues came down in 2003 about the centrality of Iraq to the war on terror, there can simply be no debate that our efforts in Iraq today are critical to the wider struggle against violent Islamic extremism. Already, the terrorists are emboldened, excited that America is talking not about winning in Iraq, but is rather debating when we should lose.
Mr. President, the terrorists are in this war to win it. The question is: Are we?
The supporters of this amendment respond that they do not by any means intend to cede the battlefield to al Qaeda; on the contrary, their legislation would allow U.S. forces, presumably holed up in forward operating bases, to carry out targeted counterterrorism operations. But our own military commanders say that this approach will not succeed, and that moving in with search and destroy missions to kill and capture terrorists, only to immediately cede the territory to the enemy, is the failed strategy of the past three and a half years.
Mr. President, this fight is about Iraq but not about Iraq alone. It is greater than that and more important still, about whether America still has the political courage to fight for victory or whether we will settle for defeat, with all of the terrible things that accompany it. We cannot walk away gracefully from defeat in this war.
What a fine leader and desirable Republican presidential candidate a reliably conservative John McCain could have made!
I don’t agree with Harold Meyerson‘s politics or his defeatist view of the situation in Iraq, but I wholeheartedly endorse his characterization of a number of Republican senators:
Anyone searching for the highest forms of invertebrate life need look no further than the floor of the U.S. Senate last week and this. These spineless specimens go by various names — Republican moderates; respected senior Republicans; Dick Lugar, John Warner, Pete Domenici, George Voinovich.
But if weak-kneed Republican bedwetters running for political cover are rightly described as invertebrate, leftist democrats who make a profession and career out of opposing their country’s cause and stabbing American troops in the back are obviously still lower on the evolutionary scale.