“The War is Lost.” Really?

I’ve long suspected that despite the rhetoric that they “support the troops,” many Democrats in Congress never really supported our missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. This despite the fact that an overwhelming number of Democrats voted in favor of the authorization of the use of military force a few years ago. The reason for their vote then and the reason for their cold feet now can be summarized in one word: politics.

Years ago, I believe many Democrats voted in favor of authorizing the president to send troops in harm’s way as they felt this was where the sentiment of the country was. Still reeling after the attacks upon American soil on 9/11 and confronted with compelling evidence that Saddam posed an imminent threat to the United States — an assessment believed by both Democrats and Republicans — President Bush was given authority to send our brave men and women into combat to wage the War on Terror.

Fast forward to 2007. Now the Democrats, newly installed as the majority party in Congress, misread the tealeaves and the reason that voters brought them to power in the first place. To be sure, the war weighed heavily on the minds of the electorate, and many cast their votes against Republicans to express their displeasure with the direction of the war. Many voters also voted to express their displeasure with a Republican Congress that was wrought by scandal, had lost its fiscal-conservative roots and was otherwise bereft of solid ideas.

No matter. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) viewed their election as a mandate by the electorate to install them as the leaders of foreign policy in the country. To wit, Pelosi’s ill-advised trip to Syria, and now Leader Reid’s comments yesterday.

“I believe myself that … this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything,” Reid said yesterday. Really? I’d like to point the Senate majority leader to the comments expressed by Maj. Gen. Caldwell’s briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday.

Discussing the Baghdad Security Plan, Caldwell noted: “Four years ago, Iraq lived under the Rule of Fear. Two years ago, too many Iraqis lived under the Rule of the Gun. Just over one year ago, 12 million Iraqis chose the Rule of Law.” More tellingly, Caldwell noted that as Iraq builds and starts a new beginning free of tyranny, the terrorists “will try and destroy. Murders and terrorists showed that they will meet unity and law with violence and attempts to divide.”

Perhaps Reid should leave assessments of the progress of the War on Terror to the military officials who observe real progress on the ground every day. More importantly, Reid should stop playing right into the hands of the terrorists who seek to divide and disrupt unity both here in America and on the ground in Iraq. Pushing for an artificial timetable to withdraw only emboldens our enemies and provides them with the resolve they need to know when America will withdraw in defeat. What a tragic mistake that would be.