Alexander's Column

Clinton-Obama on Iraq: The Silence is Deafening

By Mark Alexander · Jan. 11, 2008

“To judge from the history of mankind, we shall be compelled to conclude that … to model our political systems upon speculations of lasting tranquility would be to calculate on the weaker springs of human character.” –Alexander Hamilton

Pondering the '08 presidential candidates this week, with the primaries finally underway, I find that recent changes in the Democrat strategy are most telling.

Whatever happened to the Left's relentless protests about Operation Iraqi Freedom – you know, the quagmire in Mesopotamia? Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who never let a media minute pass a few months back without condemning OIF, have been all but silent on the conflict.

Why, it's almost as if their traitorous use of OIF sound bites for campaign cannon fodder has decreased as the success rate of our military campaign in the region has increased.

Could it be? Is good news on OIF bad news for Democrats? Clearly, good news is bad news for those Leftists who have staked their political fortunes on America's failure, surrender and retreat from Iraq.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), not the brightest bulb in the box, was recently asked about the political implications should there be significant progress in Iraq. Clyburn replied, “Well, that would be a real big problem for us, no question about that.”

Let that sink in, for a moment.

Indeed, the inverse relationship between the frequency of the Left's objections to OIF, and our successes in the region, is painfully clear. As our combat forces have proven the value of General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy, “the surge,” they have also reduced the Democrats' political objections to campaign-trail rubble.

Of course, when pressed for answers on OIF, as they were at last week's debates in New Hampshire, Clinton and Obama provide answers that will keep linguists and contortionists busy for years.

Clinton, who infamously complained to General Petraeus that only a “willing suspension of disbelief” would lead one to conclude the surge was working, says now that her assessment is still right and that that there is no justification that our troops “should remain beyond, you know, today.”

Obama, for his part, repeated the tired Demo mantra that “we have not made ourselves safer as a consequence” of OIF – which explains all the terrorist attacks on our soil since 9/11. He then insisted that the real reason for any success in Iraq is that “the Democrats were elected in 2006” – no doubt because the specter of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent chills up and down the spines of all those wonkish Sunni insurgents.

Making sure they don't alienate their jihadi constituency in the U.S. or abroad, neither Clinton nor Obama dared refer to our adversary in terms of “Islam,” even though moderator Charles Gibson posited his questions in reference to “Islamic radicals.”

Of course the Republican candidates made clear they understood who the enemy is.

John McCain was clear that “the transcendent challenge of the 21st century is radical Islamic extremists.” Mike Huckabee said the threat we face is “an Islamic problem … a jihadist problem … an Islamofascism problem.” Mitt Romney said, “[T]he philosophy of radical jihadism says, 'We want to kill'.” Fred Thompson insisted, “We are in a global war with radical Islam. They declared war on us a long, long time ago. We took note, really, for the first time on September 11, 2001.”

While the cardinal duties of the President, as defined by our Constitution, pertain to the security of the nation, it would seem that the Democrats are not even willing to define our enemy, much less acknowledge that the jihadi WMD threat is a clear and present danger.

Instead, since the first shots were fired to secure freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq (keeping the battlefront on their turf rather than ours), Clinton and Obama have condemned our Armed Forces operations, opting to invoke the Vietnam model: Use their political soapbox and Leftmedia sympathies to rally their political base.

However the effect of their actions is no different from what it was in Vietnam: Their political gambit greatly emboldens our enemy, and costs American lives.

On that subject, we recently quoted a reputable columnist who, along with some other national commentators, made reference to the consequences of Leftmedia and “anti-war” political campaigns when our troops were in Vietnam. He attributed this quote to North Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap: “We were elated to notice your media was definitely helping us. They were causing more disruption in America than we could in the battlefields. We were ready to surrender after Tet. You had won!”

On further review, we determined there is not sufficient documentation for that attribution. However, Giap did have this to say in a 1989 interview with CBS: “We paid a high price [during the Tet offensive] but so did you [Americans] … not only in lives and materiel. Do not forget the war was brought into the living rooms of the American people. … The most important result of the Tet offensive was it made you de-escalate the bombing, and it brought you to the negotiation table. It was, therefore, a victory…. The war was fought on many fronts. At that time the most important one was American public opinion.”

More to the point, in a 1995 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Bui Tin, a communist contemporary of Giap and Ho Chi Minh, who was serving as an NVA colonel assigned to the general staff at the time Saigon fell, had this to say about the Leftmedia and Soviet puppets like “Hanoi” Jane Fonda and John Kerry: “[They were] essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.”

Bui stated further, “Those people represented the conscience of America. The conscience of America was part of its war-making capability, and we were turning that power in our favor. America lost because of its democracy; through dissent and protest it lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.”

Most notably, Bui observed, that the 1968 Tet Offensive was “to weaken American resolve during a presidential-election year. We had the impression that American commanders had their hands tied by political factors. Your generals could never deploy a maximum force for greatest military effect.”

After the war, Bui Tin served as Vice Chief Editor for the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of Vietnam. However, he became disillusioned with the Communist regime and, in 1990, immigrated to Europe as a dissident.

So, is the Left's Dezinformatsia model during Vietnam equally effective at undermining success in Iraq? Are Clinton, Obama and their Leftmedia minions “essential” to the jihadist strategy, “weakening American resolve during a presidential-election year” and emboldening our enemy?

Consider this excerpt from a Patriot dispatch last year: “At a recent national-security briefing, the most senior presenter, a vice admiral, discussed the topic 'Media as Terrain' – how our adversaries use the media as a battleground. He used this declassified quote to make his point: 'I say to you: that we are in a battle, and that more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.' That quote is from an intercepted and authenticated communique between Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, Sheikh Muhammad al-Zawahiri, to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi…”

“Commander in Chief Clinton”? “Commander in Chief Obama”? The consequences of either scenario would result in unprecedented threats to our national security. For the sake of our nation, let's not go there.

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