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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Sunshine Senators: National Review

If Republicans lose the Senate in 2006 or 2008, they can look back on their vote against the war as the watershed moment:

It is the spirit of the thing that is so damaging. It says that Democrats hold the whip hand on Iraq, and the insurgents' most important strategic center of gravity, Washington, is in danger of being lost. After 30 years straight of warning of another Vietnam, liberals might finally have the repeat of that war they have so often warned about. “American attitudes on Iraq similar to those in Vietnam,” reads a front-page headline in Wednesday's edition of USA Today. Although the administration has finally begun to fight back against the charge that Bush lied the U.S. into the war, it is still not on the crisis political and communications footing that the moment demands. Iraq is a little like a Katrina every day, undermining the public's confidence in the administration's competence and stewardship of the country. There is no substitute for actual progress in Iraq — and we still aren't convinced that the U.S. government has the sense of urgency about achieving it that it should — but the argument for the war must be made constantly, with intelligence and rigor.

Here the administration continues to fall down. And it is here — in the political fight over Iraq — that the administration truly needs allies. Instead, like the “Sunshine Patriots” of yore, it has “Sunshine Senators” on its side. Only 13 Republicans — an honor roll including John McCain and Jon Kyl, and notably missing George Allen — voted against the GOP alternative. Most Republicans figure they are helping themselves when they, as so much of the media put it, “rebuke” Bush on the war. They are really undermining a president and a war that they are, like it or not, tremendously invested in, and hastening their own exit strategy as a majority.
Democrats hold the whip hand on Iraq. Our hope is that the Democrats will continue to do what they have done constantly throughout the Bush presidency, overplay their hand.

Meanwhile, one positive development is the Vice President following the President's lead in fighting back:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: "As most of you know, I have spent a lot of years in public service, and first came to work in Washington, D.C. back in the late 1960s. I know what it’s like to operate in a highly charged political environment, in which the players on all sides of an issue feel passionately and speak forcefully.

In such an environment people sometimes lose their cool, and yet in Washington you can ordinarily rely on some basic measure of truthfulness and good faith in the conduct of political debate. But in the last several weeks we have seen a wild departure from that tradition.

And the suggestion that’s been made by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of this Administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city...

Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein. These are elected officials who had access to the intelligence, and were free to draw their own conclusions.

They arrived at the same judgment about Iraq’s capabilities and intentions that was made by this Administration and by the previous Administration. There was broad-based, bipartisan agreement that Saddam Hussein was a threat … that he had violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions … and that, in a post-9/11 world, we couldn’t afford to take the word of a dictator who had a history of WMD programs, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, who had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder.

Those are facts.

What we’re hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war. The saddest part is that our people in uniform have been subjected to these cynical and pernicious falsehoods day in and day out. American soldiers and Marines are out there every day in dangerous conditions and desert temperatures – conducting raids, training Iraqi forces, countering attacks, seizing weapons, and capturing killers – and back home a few opportunists are suggesting they were sent into battle for a lie.

The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.

We’re going to continue throwing their own words back at them. And far more important, we’re going to continue sending a consistent message to the men and women who are fighting the war on terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other fronts.

We can never say enough how much we appreciate them, and how proud they make us. They and their families can be certain: That this cause is right … and the performance of our military has been brave and honorable … and this nation will stand behind our fighting forces with pride and without wavering until the day of victory.
I just love this line:
The President and I cannot prevent certain politicians from losing their memory, or their backbone – but we’re not going to sit by and let them rewrite history.
Yes! Let's repeat this line again and again!

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