Friday, May 04, 2007


Thoughts on a New Day

No, I wasn't able to watch the first Republican Presidential-candidates debate last night, unfortunately. (It would have been difficult -- we don't have cable-television access at home.)

I would have enjoyed listening to it on the radio, had I been available. But it's been busy at home; heck, I wasn't even able to sneak over to MIT to watch this. (It was an Air Force ROTC event, with a parade and an F-15 flyby.)

So I'll be reading the capsule summaries and looking online for the transcripts. (Of the debates, that is, not the flyby.) So far, this summary appeals to me; and you can't beat this one for conciseness.

In the meantime, thanks to the Powerline guys, there's this gem from Lawrence F. Kaplan at The New Republic, which really deserves quoting in full:
Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. But, when Nancy Pelosi confessed last year that she felt "sad" about President Bush's claims that Al Qaeda operates in Iraq, she seemed to be disputing what every American soldier in Iraq, every Al Qaeda operative, and anyone who reads a newspaper already knew to be true. (When I questioned him about Pelosi's assertion, a U.S. officer in Ramadi responded, incredulously, that Al Qaeda had just held a parade in his sector.) Perhaps the House speaker was alluding to the discredited claim that Al Qaeda operated in Iraq before the war. Perhaps. But the insinuation that Al Qaeda's depredations in Iraq might be something other than what they appear to be has become a staple of the congressional debate over Iraq. Thus, to buttress his own case for withdrawal, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, "We have to change course [away from Iraq] and turn our attention back to the war on Al Qaeda and their allies"--the clear message being that neither plays much of a role there....
(emphasis mine)

Do prominent Democrats honestly believe that al-Qaeda is not in Iraq, and has nothing to do with Iraq? (Perhaps: James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal's "Best of the Web" has a lot of fun citing AQWHNTDWIIIWHNTDWAQ -- which, of course, stands for "al-Qaeda (which has nothing to do with Iraq) in Iraq (which has nothing to do with al-Qaeda)".

Granted, the argument has been made -- so often that it's too old to be a cliche -- that al-Qaeda was never in Iraq before America invaded. (In other words, al-Qaeda's presence in Iraq, according to some, is America's fault. If you accept that argument, though, I'd think you'd want America to get rid of al-Qaeda in Iraq; shouldn't we clean up our own messes?)

Even if it's true that al-Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before 2003, let's face it -- it no longer matters. We had good and sufficient reasons for invading Iraq... and if al-Qaeda was never in Iraq before, they're certainly there now. If al-Qaeda decided, for their own reasons, to make Iraq the front-line of their battle against the West, we should be grateful -- they went where our troops are, instead of forcing us to hunt them down elsewhere in the world. And we'll continue to hunt them down there, if Congress can be prevented from pulling the plug.

In short, Ms. Pelosi, your efforts -- and those of your colleagues -- to claim that Iraq has nothing to do with the War on Terror, well, they make me sad. I'm sad because I wish you'd take your blinders off, gain some understanding as to who your nation's enemies are, and remember your duty to your country -- as its third-highest elected representative -- and remember also that, between your country and your party, your country should come first.

This is not about who will inhabit the White House in 2009 -- although current rhetoric makes me wonder if I'll ever vote for a Democrat again. This is about keeping America safe. If we can't do that, then little else matters.

If the Democrats and Republicans can ever unite on the need to fight this war and win it, and convince me that they're serious about it, then I'll make time to worry about health care and gay marriage and teacher's unions. Right now, I have more pressing things to think about... and so does Ms. Pelosi.

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