Harold Ford in the News
Thanks to an alert reader who sent along this link, about the furious, emotional maneuvering and debate over a "cut and run in Iraq" motion in the House on Friday, with the following money quote:
Democrats booed and shouted her down _ causing the House to come to a standstill.It's good to know Ford can get worked up about some things, even if it's not the important local things like bankruptcy bills and private property rights.
Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that it was an uncalled for personal attack. "You guys are pathetic. Pathetic," yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.
As for Murtha, it's been pointed out that he's had this position for nearly 18 months, and it's only now that suddenly it's in the news. (More here.) The way to win the conflict is to stay and do the job, not half-ass it with flickering support at home. The Democrats are still stuck on thirty years ago, Vietnam, and the Iraqi War is nothing like that. When we failed in the Southeast Asian sphere, a few million Asians died; what did that mean to us then? Or to the Democrats? Not much.
But if we fail in Iraq and the greater Middle East, we can expect more terror attacks across Europe, Indonesia, Australia and the US. More civil riots like France and civil unrest like Denmark, Sweden, Germany, etc.
Vietnam was a front in a proxy war fought between the United States and the Soviet Union / Communist China. The combatants never came into direct war between each other, but used smaller conflicts in small nations to advance themselves. The Iraq War is a direct conflict front. We are fighting the Arab Islamic theo-fascists in order to stop them, to allow the nations of the Middle East to develop into modern republican democratic states.
We went into Afghanistan because they were the proximate cause and root of the attacks of 9/11. We went into Iraq because we had long-standing reason to, and the motivation to finish the job left by Desert Storm in the 90s. Why not Saudi Arabia and Iran first, who had more direct connections to the 9/11 terrorists? Because sometimes in battle, or war, you don't go straight for the target, but go after another front. In doing so, you weaken the main front. When the job is finished on the flanks, the main front is already crumbling or collapsing, and your job is much easier.
If we had gone straight into Iran or Saudi Arabia, we would have faced terrible slaughter, World War II type bloodbaths and battles. There would have been no sympathy from the common people as their is in Iraq.
George Bush is right in that freedom is a powerful weapon. Reagan defeated the Soviet Empire the hard way, but the numerous smaller revolutions (Poland, Chezchoslovakia, Ukraine, etc.) were mostly bloodless. (Yes, Yugoslavia was a bloodbath; and we're still there! Great exit strategy, President Clinton and Secretary of State Madeliene Albright!) We see the smaller revolutions happening now across the Middle East -- Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait, the Palestinians, etc.
I do worry rightly about America moving from a Republic to an Empire. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt started us down that path; Democrats both. But the rest of the world's countries aren't the meta-European nation-state. There are decades of guided developement to go before we can withdraw from the world again.
We are a long way from being an Empire right now. The coming years will see the rise of India and China, and maybe Brazil, and the new era of the regional power.
Cut and run is Democratic opportunism of the old isolationist streak in populist American politics. They used to deplore it when it was Wilson and Roosevelt and Clinton in charge. We should deplore it in them today. We have set a task for ourselves, rightly or wrongly. The time to debate and blunt it was three years ago, but they didn't have the nerve to do it then, nor the support. Now is not the time. History taught us that lesson. I don't think we need to go back thirty years to relearn it.