Enemy at the Gates

I just watched President Bush join his Republican congressional allies at the White House to denounce publicly, once again, the Democrats' attempts to load the supplemental with pork and force a withdrawal date of U.S. forces from Iraq. There's no question the White House is in full throttle on this effort, and when you have the bully pulpit, you command attention.

But I fear the enemies/the terrorists/al Qaeda have already won. Think about it: By trying to legislate what nearly every American is feeling — bring the troops home — we have signaled to the insurgents that we admit defeat. I'm not trying to be Pollyanna-ish about this — that's the statement! Why am I so sure? Because terrorist organizations prey on uncertainties and indecision, and America is definitely full of that today. To the terrorists in their bombed-out shells of buildings in Basra today, perception governs reality. And the image they will peddle throughout the Islamic world is that they are on the verge of winning, however "winning" is defined, but winning nonetheless.

So no matter what happens with the vote, or what Bush says and what he vetoes or signs, we still lose in the minds of the Middle East and in the minds of terrorists. "The mighty lion of tyranny has cowered back to its lair," they'll cry. And they'll get the credit for it in the Muslim world.

God help us all.