UPDATE: Joseph Loconte writes:
Compare this to Churchill’s governing philosophy during a season of intense political strife. As Martin Gilbert recounts in his gem of a book, Winston Churchill’s War Leadership, the new prime minister resolved to forget the past. Even those associated with the disastrous policy of appeasement toward Hitler found a place in Churchill’s administration: The achievement of national unity against the enemy was all important. “Of this I am quite sure,” he said, “that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.”
Democrats insist on keeping open this quarrel between past and present, and their posturing has deepened the nation’s political divisions. The Bush administration has begun meeting regularly with high-profile critics, such as former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Yet Bush has failed to recruit a single, respected Democratic leader to help prosecute the war. (There are, to be sure, pitifully few to choose from.) What might the debate over Iraq be like today, however, if the president had named Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of Defense during his second term?
Perhaps the most insidious domestic enemy that confronted Churchill in wartime was the spirit of defeatism. There was lots of it in the early days of the war, when Britain stood alone against the Nazi juggernaut. There were proposals to sue for peace with Hitler, fears of a successful German invasion of England, and military blunders that cost thousands of British lives. Churchill never lost heart. “The prime minister expects all His Majesty’s Servants in high places to set an example of steadiness and resolution,” he said. “They should check and rebuke expressions of loose and ill-digested opinion in their circles.”
The loose and ill-digested opinions about the Iraq war could fill volumes. No matter what the sign of progress in the country — fair elections, a liberal constitution, a representative government — some detractors seem seized by an almost pathological gloom.
Read it all.