Written by Arnold Ahlert
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush got it right regarding Iraq in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Tuesday night. “That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill,” he declared. “Where was the secretary of state, Secretary of State Clinton, in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away.”
Unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton senior policy adviser and former State Department aide Jake Sullivan leaped to Clinton’s defense. “This is a pretty bold attempt to rewrite history and reassign responsibility,” he said. “They cannot be allowed to escape responsibility for the real mistake here. They might hope we’ll all forget, but the American people remember.”
Perhaps the American people might remember that Hillary Clinton, along with other Democrats, including John Kerry, John Edwards, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer, voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq — only to subsequently betray the American military’s commitment there for nothing more than crass political considerations. And as David Horowitz illuminates in his book “The Black Book of the American Left, Vol. III: The Great Betrayal,” these opponents of the war “attacked the moral character of the commander-in-chief and the mission both parties had endorsed,” resulting in a “devastating blow to American power and freedom from which they have yet to recover.”
As Horowitz explains, the opposition to war in Iraq and the concomitant support for Saddam Hussein had been driven by the same communist-dominated mindset of leftists who supported our enemies in Vietnam and the Soviet Union prior to its disintegration. It is a mindset that was in search of another opportunity to denigrate America, and the war against the war on terror provided the perfect vehicle.
The Left’s collusion with America’s Islamist enemies began well before the Iraq War was launched. After the pushback following 9/11 began with the enormously successful rout of al Qaeda and the removal of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, leftists condemned George W. Bush’s war strategy and his assertion that we were dealing with an Iranian, Iraqi, and North Korean “axis of evil,” an observation that was as prescient as it was accurate. And in spite of 9/11, the Left’s reflexive antipathy towards increasing our intelligence capabilities to prevent a follow-up attack was twisted as a violation of the Constitution and racial profiling, while leftists like Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali and Edward Said insisted the 9/11 atrocity was a logical response to the “root causes” engendered by American oppression, as opposed to religious jihad.
This view gained wide-ranging support on the Left following the invasion of Iraq. A war was subsequently waged by the Left at home to sabotage the war abroad. The New York Times published classified information that destroyed essential intelligence programs, anti-war demonstrations were organized by the same communist-backed leftists who opposed the Vietnam War, and Democrats and their media allies characterized any criticism of their efforts to undermine the war as beneath contempt. Yet such contempt was problematic, because “America has been attacked and American citizens have been slaughtered in their places of work,” Horowitz observed, noting the critical difference between Vietnam and 9/11. “Sympathy for an enemy 10,000 miles away in Vietnam was one thing. Sympathy for the architects of 9/11 is another.”
Nonetheless it persisted, aided and abetted by pro-Saddam academic shills and city councils in leftist-dominated towns passing resolutions refusing to cooperate with the Homeland Security Department. Hussein’s black Muslim sympathizers included South Central Los Angeles’s Hasan Akbar, who rolled three grenades into his fellow American soldiers’ tents killing one and wounding 15, and Louis Farrakhan, who traveled to Baghdad and insisted American Muslims were praying for Saddam’s victory. They were joined by the likes of Columbia anthropology professor Nicholas De Genova, who claimed the only true heroes “are those who find ways to defeat the U.S. military,” and International ANSWER, a Marxist-Leninist entity with ties to North Korea.
During election season, leftists in and out of the Democratic Party perpetuated the malicious “Bush lied, people died” campaign, courtesy of hypocrites like John Edwards and John Kerry who became anti-war supporters to bolster their 2004 presidential aspirations as they competed against anti-war candidate Howard Dean. Al Gore was equally despicable, tying his opposition to the Iraq war to the 2000 election, implying the recount in Florida was an effort to de-legitimize his claim to the White House.
The Left’s campaign to undermine the war included the central lie that we went into Iraq solely to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. However, Bush was worried about Saddam’s ability to acquire WMDs as he explained in his 2003 State of the Union address. He talked about the possibility of terrorists with WMDs that could bring this nation “a day of horror like none we have ever known.” “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent,” Bush continued. “Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?…Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”
Even more important, the justification for that war were the 23 clauses contained in the congressional authorization and in U.N. resolution 1441. It was Democrats and their media allies who sought to reduce the 23 clauses to one.
The Democrats’ agenda with respect to Iraq became one of defeatism, sabotage and surrender. Horowitz and co-author Ben Johnson chronicled the consequences of this mission in “Party of Defeat.” The book details the rise of entities like Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan, defeatists such as Harry “the war is lost” Reid and Hillary Clinton, who was more than willing to attack the integrity of Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus to further her 2008 presidential ambitions. We are reminded that Reid and Nancy Pelosi signed a letter insisting the surge had “failed to produce the intended results” before it was fully implemented, and that they urged a phased redeployment of American troops, even as they conceded the Iraqi Army was “uneven in their quality and reliability”—indicating they were perfectly willing to accept the possibility of the defeat Obama ultimately engineered.
Democrats were so invested in losing the war in Iraq, Senator Dick Durbin discredited Gen. Petraeus’s report on the success of the surge, insisting, before he read the report, that even if the figures it contained were correct, “the conclusion is wrong.”
The “Party of Defeat” was written in 2008, and yet its warning about the premature withdrawal from Iraq precipitated by Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was spot on. “Iran would immediately reap the spoils and become the dominant power in the Middle East,” the authors wrote. What neither writer could foresee was a president and a Democratic Party so committed to our nation’s retreat from the world stage, they would actually assist Iran’s ascension, just as many of those same Democrats and their ideological forebears abetted the ascension of Communism and the ensuing bloodbath in Southeast Asia following our leftist-orchestrated retreat from Vietnam.
Democrats have been more than willing to take the tremendous sacrifices made by American men and women in harm’s way and throw them away for nothing more than political gain. There was a time in this country when politics stopped “at the water’s edge” with regard to national security in time of war. This time Democrats purposefully fomented internal divisions “greater than any the nation had experienced since the Civil War, and the betrayal by the Democrats of a war policy they had supported was without precedent in the history of America’s wars overseas,” Horowitz explains. Thus, Democrats own the loss of Iraq, the rise of ISIS and every other ugly permutation that will arise from their calculated capitulation.