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Democrats must stop waffling

By Thomas E. Brewton
web posted August 14, 2006

We hear endless criticism of the administration's foreign policy. It is long past time for Democrats to tell us exactly what they plan to do after they order troop pull-outs in Iraq.

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, Jr. is dismayed that U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney attacks the shortcomings of Democrats' foreign policy positions. Unacknowledged is the fact that Democrats every day assault the President and his advisors, often in grossly personal terms. In the instant case, Mr. Dionne labels the Vice President's disagreement "partisan," as if that were unacceptable conduct.

Given the nature of our political system, it would seem reasonable to permit all parties to speak their minds freely. The result will be partisanship on all sides. And there is nothing wrong with that.

There is, however, something wrong with Mr. Dionne's specific arguments respecting foreign policy.

In a column titled "Who's Guilty of 'Petty Partisanship'?" Mr. Dionne wrote:

"The rejection of Lieberman made Cheney wonder if "the dominant view of the Democratic Party" is "the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home.

"Wow! I bet the 145,000 free citizens of Connecticut who voted for Lamont will be shocked to learn that they were really sending signals of 'retreat' to 'al-Qaida types.'

"... From there it was an easy leap to saying a Democratic Party -- cleverly renamed the 'Defeat-ocrat Party' by the RNC chairman -- 'that once stood for strength now stands for retreat and defeat.' Translation: Anyone who dares question our botched approach is in favor of surrender."

Why is it unreasonable for the Vice President to infer that Democrats believe that pulling our troops out of Iraq will eliminate our problems and forestall future attacks by Islamic jihadists? That is precisely the foreign policy position that Ned Lamont employed to defeat Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Connecticut voters might be shocked, as Mr. Dionne suggests, to learn that al-Qaida and Iran interpret their votes for Mr. Lamont as defeatism. If so, it's because Connecticut voters haven't thought about what happens next.

If pulling our troops out of Iraq is not admitting that al-Qaida and Iran have defeated us, what does it signify?

What else will bin Ladin conclude from Connecticut voters' selection of Ned Lamont, if not that the American public is succumbing to the defeatism of Vietnam and no longer has the fortitude to resist Islamic jihad?

If liberal pacifists, Democrats, Republicans, and independents do not intend to surrender via inaction after pulling out of Iraq, what explicitly do they propose to do?

So far as I can discover, no opponent of the administration has offered anything beyond returning to the status quo ante of feckless debate and passage of unenforceable resolutions in the UN. None of that prevented the bombings of our embassies in Africa or the atrocities of 9/11. Why should going back around the track work this time?

What about Iran's threat to destroy Israel and us too? Will the Iranian leaders be so cowed by our pulling out of Iraq as to abandon those plans?

Connecticut's Ned Lamont, in his campaign against Senator Lieberman, had nothing more to offer than negotiating with the Iranians, getting our allies involved, and "incentivizing" them, i.e., appeasing them. Incentivizing failed earlier with Iran and with North Korea. Why might it work this time?

Even a foreign policy novice like Mr. Lamont surely must be aware that for three years the administration has been doing all of the things he proposes, to no avail. France, the UK, and Germany have repeatedly offered diplomatic initiatives to the Iranians, with "incentive" carrots and no threats beyond going to the UN to pass resolutions for sanctions.

The latter must really terrify the Iranians when they review the utter ineffectiveness of such UN measures over a dozen years with Iraq. With Kofi Anan at the UN helm, the Iranians might even welcome sanctions as a way to pocket billions of dollars in another oil-for-food scam.

Many Bush-haters have, sotto voce, advocated throwing Israel to the Islamic wolves, on the assumption that our support for the Jewish nation is the only reason for 9/11. If that is really part of the Democrats' foreign policy plans, then they must have the courage to state it forthrightly.

The bottom line is this: Democrats' criticism is cheap, but when it offers a fictitious prospect for national security, it really does border on criminality. Ordering troop withdrawals is not a deterrent to al-Qaida or Iran. It is way past time for the Democrats to tell the American public in specific detail how they intend to deal with Islamic jihad.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets. His weblog is The View From 1776. Email comments to viewfrom1776@thomasbrewton.com.

 

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