From today’s OpinionJournal column:
Anyone who thinks that vote was simply cheap political theater and not connected to the larger debate on how to fight the war on terror hasn’t been watching Mr. Hunter and the other defense hawks in the House over the past four years. It’s not an accident that the House hasn’t passed the “torture ban” that John McCain and John Warner pushed through the Senate. Nor is it a coincidence that intelligence reform stalled in the House last year until it was amended to insure that troops in the field would still have the intelligence they need.
It’s not lost on Mr. Hunter, or on Reps. Steve Buyer, John Kline and many others, that Iraq is the most visible front in the war on terror and is therefore a symbol for whether the political elites of this nation have what it takes to confront global terrorist networks. If politicians can’t stomach going after terrorists who openly attack U.S. soldiers, they won’t have what it takes to go after terrorists who hide in some of the most remote or ungoverned reaches of the world.
It should now be clear–if it wasn’t already–that the Democratic Party is the party of withdrawal. Had John Kerry won the election last year, the U.S. would today be packing its bags and preparing to leave Iraq under something similar to the Murtha plan. The fallout from that would be disastrous. “Rapid reaction force” or not, Iraq would descend into political chaos and then perhaps fall under the power of a dictator. Maybe Saddam Hussein himself would return, though there is no shortage of Saddam wannabes in that part of the world. Following that, no U.S. president for a generation or maybe two would have the political muscle to topple a rogue regime anywhere. In the meantime, the U.S. would be on the run, while terrorists and the dictators who nurture them would have the upper hand.
The MSM analysts who tried to spin Friday’s vote into blunt political theater, or even more laughably, a “stunt” that backfired on the GOP still don’t get the huge divide in the country and especially in the Congress. It is still the divide between the people serious about the war and the people who don’t think we are in a war.