Why Single Out Harry Reid for Saying the War's Lost?

Thursday, May 03, 2007 at 10:15 AM

Conservatives love to vilify Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for defeatism and cynicism for his comments about the Iraq war being unwinnable. But he's hardly alone in his assessment of the war.

Pat Buchanan, for example, excoriated Reed and Sen. Charles Schumer in a recent column.

Mackubin Thomas Owens, an associate dean of academics and a professor of national-security affairs at the Naval War College, called Reid a "copperhead" at a National Review symposium.

American Chronicle offers up a piece by Edwin A. Sumcad headlined "Sen. Reid's Lie That The War Is Lost: Was He More Than Just A Coward?"

But why focus on Reid? Why make it seem that only Democrats, or only Reid, or only liberals think Iraq is a mistake, if not from the beginning, then certainly now?

It isn't like there's a shortage of conservative voices now lamenting Iraq. William F. Buckley's recent column at National Review certainly sounds doubtful at best that Iraq is winnable:

When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state. It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a "surge," of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it.

Retired Army General William E. Odom, who offered the Democrats' response to last week's radio address by the president, certainly sounds like he thinks Iraq is unwinnable:
The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq; it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place. The war could never have served American interests.

But it has served Iran's interest by revenging Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran in the 1980s and enhancing Iran’s influence within Iraq. It has also served al Qaeda’s interests, providing a much better training ground than did Afghanistan, allowing it to build its ranks far above the levels and competence that otherwise would have been possible.

We cannot "win" a war that serves our enemies interests and not our own. Thus continuing to pursue the illusion of victory in Iraq makes no sense. We can now see that it never did.

It seems pretty obvious that there's a growing segment of conservatives and military people who think Iraq is unwinnable, yet the dwindling number of proponents of the war doggedly fasten onto Reid or the Dems in general, insisting over and over that this "defeatism" is all part of partisan politics. You can never take politics completely out of something like this -- see the transcripts of the Nixon tapes of conversations between Nixon and Kissinger on timing the Vietnam peace treaty to minimize political fallout -- but it is quite dishonest for the war's proponents to keep spinning opposition to continuing this war as a liberal or Democratic phenomenon.

I suspect that this spin is actually directed at the remaining war supporters, who are more likely to remain supporters if they think that opposition to the war comes only from their mortal political enemies. It's a lot harder for them to come to grips with the fact that people like Buckley and Odom and, of course, Joe Scarborough, think it's a lost cause.

Comments

Lee laments, "Conservatives love to vilify Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for defeatism and cynicism for his comments about the Iraq war being unwinnable. But he's hardly alone in his assessment of the war."

Of course he isn't! What an idea -- that Harry is out there without his 'network!' This is all very well coordinated, a concerted effort for civilians to pretend they are brave generals; competent to conduct warfare. I'm surprised they haven't thought of issuing eachother medals of 'freedom' or some such series of awards to demonstrate their 'patriotism,' and because it looks so nice on their uniforms ...

Certainly though, the 'military' decision making in this operation (Iraq) is all for retreat -- to allow the enemy to acquire the power they sought to establish in Iraq once it was liberated. The civilian 'generals' plan their own defeat, and the defeat of democracy for millions of Iraqis. Those, who if supported by Democrats, instead of scorned as too 'expensive,' might establish a revolution of freedom throughout the Middle East. Instead, they continue to force retreat, defeat and the abandonment of millions to the neolithic laws and whims of al Qaeda, Sharia and the continued jihad to enforce Islam and its laws in all the world's nations.

Democrats don't like to think of it that way, of course. They want to imagine that they are actually patriots, instead of subversives; heroic, instead of cowardly; compassionate, rather than callous misers abandoning the hope of freedom for millions in order to save money. They want to be nice, not selfish traitors ...

Just too bad they can't re-shoot the scene to make it so; actually make them into real 'Americans'...