Iraq. Just the word in any conversation brings up a good deal of emotions and strong debate. Here in America the war in Iraq has become a non-stop argument from the Main Stream Media to the halls of Congress to the conversations among family members, co-workers and friends.
However, the Democratic Party leadership has decided that it is time to declare Iraq a loss and discuss timetables of withdrawal. Here is a sampling of their comments and proposals:
- Sen. John Kerry (D-MA and former Democratic Presidential 2004 nominee) along with Sen. Jack Reid (D-RI) held a news conference according to the Washington Post. "'No one has ever suggested or believes that we should run in the face of car bombers or assassins," Kerry said, referring to a passage in Bush's speech. 'No one is talking about running in the face of a challenge. We're talking about how to win, how to succeed, how do you best achieve our goals? That's the choice here. And what the president did not do today again is acknowledge the fundamental reality of the insurgency.'"
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-SF and Democratic Minority Leader) introduced legislation to set a timetable to bring US service-members home according to this SF Gate article. "'From the start, I've thought this war was a grotesque mistake,'' said Pelosi, who voted against the autumn 2002 resolution authorizing Bush to launch military operations against Saddam Hussein's regime. 'The question now is about the execution of the war. It's hard for anyone to argue that the war meets the standard of a strategy for success.''" Ms. Pelosi, according to the WaPo link above also stated, "We should follow the lead of Congressman John Murtha, who has put forth a plan to make America safer, to make our military stronger, and to make Iraq more stable."
- Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) a former decorated Vietnam veteran and original supporter of the war said in a press conference: "When I said we can't win a military victory, it's because the Iraqis have turned against us. They throw a hand grenade or a rocket into American forces and the people run into the crowd and they -- nobody tells them where they are. I am convinced, and everything that I've read, the conclusion I've reached is there will be less terrorism, there will be less danger to the United States and it'll be less insurgency once we're out."
- DNC Chair and former 2004 Democratic Presidential hopeful Howard Dean said "The idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."
This is tantamount to leaders of the Republican Party in 1944 asking President Roosevelt for a timetable to bring the troops home from Europe and the Pacific Theater, which of course never happened. It is impossible to argue that the war must be won while arguing for a timetable to retreat. The Democrats listed above are far from the ideal of John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address who promised "Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." [see DEL post regarding here]
While a good portion of the Democratic Party has united behind a message of defeat on Iraq, there is one glaring exception: Senator Joe Lieberman. Sen. Lieberman "In public statements and a newspaper column... argued that Bush has a strategy for victory in Iraq, has dismissed calls for the president to set a timetable for troop withdrawal, and has warned that it would be a 'colossal mistake' for the Democratic leadership to 'lose its will' at this critical point in the war."
The Democratic argument is made up of elements of the following:
The war is unjust
The War is unwinnable
Victory is not worth the cost
The Bush Administration is incapable of winning the war and is untrustworthy
These are major claims and need to be addressed along with the Bush administration's responses, the facts on the ground in Iraq, and the record to date.
Part I lays out the Democratic charge of failure and call to withdrawal from Iraq. Part II will address where we stand in the battle to secure a democratic Iraq and the political resolve of the Bush administration to win at what cost.