The Political Battle Lines Become Clearer

A smart press strategy by Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) crack staff has muffled the potential political explosion of his announced support of an amendment to cut off funding for the troops as they fight in Iraq. But this story is not going away. In fact, Reid’s announcement is not merely a political tactic to get President Bush to the negotiating table. It is philosophical dogma to the hard left of the Democratic Party.

Democratic leftists want us to leave Iraq now. They wanted us to leave Vietnam, too, and guess what happened there. A communist takeover of Saigon, massacres, genocide and a crisis of confidence in the United States that led to a weakening of American influence from Iran to South America to Africa.

Sure, communism eventually collapsed of its own weight a decade and a half later, but only because of the strong and consistent leadership of President Reagan, who teamed with soon-to-be named Saint John Paul II and Margaret Thatcher to stare down Russian totalitarianism.

History never repeats itself exactly, but past events often give us clues to future actions. And the hard left of the Democratic Party will succeed in making the cutting-off of funds in Iraq the governing policy of the congressional majority, if the past is any indication.

I believe that if the Democrats succeed in cutting off funding, it will be bad for America, no matter how it plays out politically. Pulling out of Iraq sounds good politically, kind of like having the government run healthcare sounds good to most average Americans. But the simple answer is not always the right answer. In fact, quite often, the simple answer is often exactly the wrong answer.

Pulling out of Vietnam was the wrong answer for the millions of people we abandoned there and because of the loss of prestige and influence to America that followed. We don’t know what all the implications of a precipitous pullout of Iraq would be. But a regional civil war, a dangerous loss of American influence, a sharp increase in oil prices, and increased power for Iran and al Qaeda seem likely consequences.

The political battle lines are becoming clearer. The Democrats will soon be advocating the cutting-off of funds for our troops in Iraq. Republicans will be put in the politically difficult position of defending an unpopular president.