Monday, October 23, 2006

The Battle for the Battle for Iraq

With an election looming, the anti-war Democrats and the mainstream media have gone into overdrive in their attempts to undermine support for the fight in Iraq. They lied about the conclusions drawn by all of America's intelligence services. They continue to emphasise the deaths of American soldiers while ignoring all they've done. They talk about splitting the country apart, thus ceding part to Iran, part to al-Qaeda and part to war with Turkey. They can't even decide whether they want to send more troops, or pull all our troops out -- and if the latter, whether precipitously or on a predetermined schedule.

Above all, Democrats and the media are desperate to see Iraq as a repeat of Vietnam. The irony is that it can only become so if the Democrats win.

There was a brief, but intense, flurry in the media last week. "Bush Accepts Iraq-Vietnam Comparison," screamed the headlines after an 18 October interview with ABC news. But the truth is, the President merely agreed with columnist Tom Friedman that the current situation might be compared to the Tet offensive... not, as those on the Left want to hear, to the entirety of Vietnam. That will have to wait until a Democrat-controlled Congress refuses to fund the troops, followed by a humiliating US withdrawal and a wholesale massacre of those who had trusted us to protect them. If we're going to draw analogies, let's at least make them accurate.

The Tet offensive of January 1968 was a last-ditch attack launched by the Viet Cong during an agreed cease-fire. The VC simultaneously attacked some 80 towns, cities and military bases, hoping to overwhelm the Americans and rally the South Vietnamese to their cause. The attack was a miserable failure, from the enemy's point of view -- over 45,000 VC died, and the Vietnamese declined to give up their democratic government. The Americans stood strong, beating back the multiple surprise attacks with surprisingly few casualties -- about 2,500. The Viet Cong leaders unanimously saw the attack as a complete disaster, and prepared to negotiate a surrender.

And then Walter Cronkite, the most trusted man in America, told his viewers that "The referees of history may make it a draw." He ominously predicted that the Marine base "Khe Sanh could well fall, with a terrible loss in American lives, prestige, and morale, and this is a tragedy of our stubbornness there." Cronkite sowed doubt about the future of democratic Vietnam, saying that "past performance gives no confidence that the Vietnamese government can cope with its problems, now compounded by the attack on the cities. It may not fall, it may hold on, but it probably won't show the dynamic qualities demanded of this young nation." Cronkite continued, "To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion." The resulting wave of negative public opinion caused President Johnson to decide against running for reelection, and ultimately forced America to abandon Vietnam, after the Democrats took control of Congress and defunded the war. Congress even refused to send promised aid to Cambodia, where an estimated 1.7 million people died during the Khmer Rouge takeover.

That's precisely the scenario those on the Left want to repeat. CNN, for instance, recently aired what can only be termed a terrorist propaganda piece. In the film, produced by the enemy and "obtained" by CNN through intermediaries, snipers are seen targeting US soldiers for assassination at will. CNN added a helpful voiceover and interviews painting the "insurgents" as an unstoppable force, telling the viewers that "the deaths will continue" as long as US troops are in Iraq. Representative Duncan Hunter (D-CA), Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has asked the Pentagon to remove all embedded CNN reporters in response to what some have called "a terrorist snuff film."

Obviously, the film only shows successful sniper attacks, but the impression is that all such attacks are successful. Unlike al-Jazeera, which airs similar propaganda pieces daily, CNN has the ability to reach -- and influence -- American voters... the real target of terrorist attacks.

Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) will head the Ways and Means Committee if the Democrats win in November. When asked how he planned to stop the fighting in Iraq, he replied, "You've got to be able to pay for the war, don't you?" The 73 members of the "Out of Iraq" caucus agree with his viewpoint. Representative James McGovern (D-MA) already has a bill aimed at halting funding for troops in Iraq. Even if they don't directly pull funding for the war, President Bush -- when not fighting trumped-up impeachment hearings -- will be unable to get a single bill through the Democratic House until he complies with their demands. The anti-war faction is not above taking hostages to get what they want.

And once they force US troops to withdraw from Iraq, their hopeful Vietnam scenario will be complete. Al-Qaeda and Iran will massacre innocent Iraqis, terrorising them into a reign of terror even worse, perhaps, than they suffered under Saddam. Iraq's oil wealth will fuel (no pun intended) a whole new generation of terrorists, with the means to attack targets all over Europe, Asia and America.

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