The first will be the effect on the Democratic party itself, now riding high in its antiwar invective. Yet for a quarter century after Vietnam its antiwar hysteria warped its stance on issues such as the military, retaliation abroad for attacks on America, and the use of force in general.
Jimmy Carter’s paralysis during the hostage taking, the sending of Ramsey Clark to beg Tehran for a reprieve, Bill Clinton’s half-hearted responses to the attacks from the first World Trade Center to the USS Cole, all this, rightly or wrongly was seen as the legacy of the party that had imploded after Vietnam.
Now again we have gone from sizable majorities in the Congress, warning about Saddam all during the 1990s and voting to remove him in October 2002, to essentially a single Joe Lieberman sticking through the messy reconstruction. Instead Howard Dean’s once-pathetic yeehawing has now infected the likes of Senators Boxer, Durbin, Kennedy, Kerry, and Rockefeller, who have respectively rebuked Condoleezza Rice for childlessness, compared our troops to Pol Pot, Nazis, and terrorists, assured that our soldiers are no different from Baathist killers at Abu Ghraib, and suggested that things in Iraq were once better under Saddam.
All that may, like Vietnam-era street theater, play well to the media. But eventually Iraq, also like Vietnam, will be over — while the protocols and culture of hysteria and derangement, like low-lying marsh gas, will linger and smell. A Henry Jackson or JFK would have had nothing to do with a Michael Moore, who now has entrée with the Democratic elite. If the Republicans were once embarrassed of the Buchanan Right, and the Democrats of the Cindy Sheehan Left, now the Democrats have apparently both of them in their antiwar camp. Good luck…
Let's recall, shall we, what the likes of Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry and Rockefeller said a few short years ago (assembled from Power Line and an earlier post of my own) :
Nancy Pelosi, December 1998:
"Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process."
Ted Kennedy, September 2002
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
John Kerry, October 9, 2002:
I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force -- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.
Jay Rockefeller, October 10, 2002:
There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years... We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.
And, how about those Democratic presidential wannabes:
Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002:
In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members .. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.
We could go on and on, but I'll close with one more from
John Kerry, January 23, 2003:
Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime... He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation... And now he is miscalculating America's response to his continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction... So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real...
That was then, I guess, and this is now. Democrats seem to have short memories.
John Edwards, 2002
“I think Iraq is the most serious and imminent threat to our country. And I think Iraq and Saddam Hussein present the most serious and most imminent threat.”
Al Gore, September, 2002:
"We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country" and "Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power."
As I have mentioned before, the Democratic Party has lost whatever anchor it once had in the real world and is blowin' in the wind. It has become the party of nothing; led by vapid nothings, who stand for nothing, and whose opportunism appears to know no bounds. They have said and will say whatever they happen to think in any given moment is necessary in order to obtain or keep political power.
As they continue to intellectually approach the complete moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the leftist base they pander to, we will have the continuing pleasure of watching these moral pygmies, currently even more intoxicated with power because they have a majority in Congress, as they actively undermine (all with the help of their media propaganda wing) any and all American interests around the world; impede and vilify US military actions (while saying they "support" the troops), and generally behave as prototypical leftists are wont to do--all, of course, in the name of "peace".
Though they have been prattling and whining about the use of executive powers by President Bush for some years now, please note that they actually have no real understanding or appreciation of the constitutional separation of powers and have no problem with trying to usurp that of the other branches.
Hanson conclude with this warning:
Democrats and liberals should likewise realize that for all their hatred of George Bush and the partisan points to be gained by coddling up to the libertarian and paleo-conservative Right, George Bush’s embrace of freedom was far closer to their own past rhetoric than almost any Republican administration in history. And such an effort to foster democracy was in the long run smart as well, since ultimately a free Iraq would be the worst nightmare of the Islamic jihadists — as we read repeatedly in the rantings of Dr. Zawahiri.
In short, the next Democratic president who wishes to do something about the genocide in Darfur or another mass murderer in the Middle East, will find no support from Republicans, or — in no small part due to liberals’ slurs against the war they voted for — from the country at large.
Yes, we may see thousands killed, displaced, and maimed if the United States flees from Iraq. And that tremor in the foundations of American power may embolden everyone from Hugo Chavez to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
But that is only the half of it.
Leaving Iraq prematurely will also damage the credibility of the Democratic party, the reputation of American ground forces, and the idealism of American foreign policy — just those principles that the critics of the war oddly claim they will be saving by fleeing.
I predict that the political opportunistic hysterics of today's Democratic Party are too far gone to heed his warning.