As General Petraeus testifies this week in Congress, we can be sure of two things; Democrats will browbeat him and make speeches, trying to convince the electorate that we are a beaten country with a failed foreign-policy that must be resolved by giving up and passively waiting for what comes next.
Second, we will be treated to sound bites grandly stating that no one should question the patriotism of those engaged in wishing for the failure of American policy.
If hoping American policy fails and wishing for military setbacks is a measure of patriotism, then it is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went so far last week as to warn the general to not bring optimistic news to his appearance since she and presumably the rest of the Democrat caucus already know all the answers. And they are bad.
While I recognize Ms. Pelosi’s experience hobnobbing around the Middle East, wearing a culturally sensitive head scarf, gives her superior military judgment, she should at least give the poor man a chance.
The love that Senate Democrats feel for the military and their mission was on display when Sen. Jay Rockefeller, stated Tuesday; “McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they get to the ground? He doesn’t know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues”
Rockefeller later apologized for the remark. But I am certain that the fighter and bomber pilots in Iraq appreciate the philosophy and insight from him.
The good news that the general brought will be characterized as propaganda, with the truth being hidden away and only revealed in staffer-prepared remarks, blearily read by Sen. Ted Kennedy.
In this regard I must bow to the greater experience in propaganda, truth repositioning and coercion of prior Democrat administrations.
After all, it was President Woodrow Wilson who created the first and most virulent engine of political coercion by establishing the American Protective League and its handmaiden, the Committee for Public Information. Author Jonah Goldberg quotes historian and sociologist Robert Nisbet calling the committee, the West’s “first real experience with totalitarianism.” Nisbet also said, “Political absolutism — extended into every possible area of culture and society, education, religion, industry, the arts, local community and family included, with a kind of terror always waiting in the wings — came with the American war state under Wilson.”
Wilson also administered the passage of the Patriot Act of its time, in the twin personages of the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918. During World War I, American news sources were bullied and intimidated by the Committee for Public Information as well as fed enormous amounts of specious copy concerning the war, all in the name of combating German propaganda.
In defending themselves on questions about their love of country, present-day Democrats like to point to FDR’s discussion that dissent is a form of American patriotism. If that’s the case, he was no lover of it himself. Much of his rhetoric prior to America’s entry into World War II was devoted to branding isolationists and peace- movement activists as Nazi sympathizers.
Patrick Buchanan pointed out in a 1997 column that while FDR was campaigning in 1940, declaring that he would never again send mothers’ and fathers’ children off to war, he was at the same time a major proponent of joining the war in Europe and was clearly planning to do so. He just did not possess the political courage to say that to neutral-minded American voters. Clare Booth Luce famously stated that he “lied us into a war because he did not have the political courage to lead us into it”
As far as Bush’s plan for what will happen in Iraq, Senate Democrats seem to suggest he follow the example of another Democrat icon who was also wildly unpopular, in the form of President Truman and the war in Korea.
After Truman replaced Gen. Douglas MacArthur, his action and its eventual policy outcome was described by Time magazine in its April 23, 1951 edition: “This policy denies to the U.S. the efficient use of its power, guarantees to the enemy the initiative he now has, promises that the U.S. will always fight on the enemy’s terms.” Truman’s policy has resulted in 54 years of direct American military involvement in Korea with no end in sight.
Modern Democrats do have a lot in common with past administrations.
Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong, which can be reached through the blogs entry at GJSentinel.com.