In the Democratic war on the war, a key talking point is the war’s status as a civil war. The sectarian fighting between Shiites and Sunnis gives the point substance, but the war also goes well beyond a civil war. In that respect the war indeed resembles the Vietnam War.
As I recall, the Democrats also characterized the Vietnam War as a “civil war” up until the final North Vietnamese offensive that featured tanks from the north rolling into Saigon. Having tied President Ford’s hands to keep him from responding, the Democrats didn’t much care that their long-standing antiwar argument had been revealed as a joke, or as enemy propaganda. To refresh your memory on the course of events, see, for example, Gabriel Schoenfeld’s great essay “Was Kissinger right?”
By the same token, at Back Talk the anonymous proprietor (a professor at a major research university) notes the eerie Democratic mantra on Iraq (“this is not the United States versus al Qaeda”). Ace of Spades notes al Qaeda’s reliance on the Democrats to force an American withdrawal. Ace comments:
Notice Al Qaeda is not pressuring us to stay, which is odd, because I keep being told that Al Qaeda loves having American troops in Iraq and Bush is “playing right into their hands.”
I don’t think this is going to have the effect Al Qaeda seeks. It’s getting harder and harder for the media to pretend that Al Qaeda isn’t the major source of violence and terrorism in Iraq — and the biggest cause of US troop deaths — and they’re going to have a hard time avoiding using the words “Al Qaeda” when they run these tapes.
Question: Would these tapes be considered a “coordinated” media buy for the Democrats under McCain-Feingold? Will the FEC investigate?
Maybe that’s the way to get the media remotely perturbed at Al Qaeda — we can sell them on the idea that “Al Qaeda is swift-boating Iraq.” They really do seem to despise “swift-boating.”
John noted the phenomenon of Democratic denial in “‘Sad’ Nancy Pelosi” this past November. Michelle Malkin eleaborates in the context of the weekend’s news here.
In today’s New York Sun, Eli Lake reports that as the surge begins to take hold, tribal leaders are turning on al Qaeda. On the other hand, the Bush administration approach to the foreign elements we are fighting in Iraq also recalls Vietnam:
[Foreign fighters] comprise a relatively small percentage of the overall insurgency, but they account for a very high percentage of the most grotesque attacks–80 to 90 percent of all suicide bombings, according to General Petraeus’s briefing with Pentagon reporters on April 26. These jihadists are of many nationalities, but most infiltrate from Syria. The Bush administration has repeatedly vowed that Syria would suffer unspecified consequences if it did not cut off this terrorist pipeline, but so far this has been an empty threat. The administration has refused to authorize Special Operations forces to hit terrorist safe houses and “rat lines” on the Syrian side of the border, even though international law recognizes the right of “hot pursuit” and holds states liable for letting their territory be used to stage attacks on neighbors. It’s high time to unleash our covert operators–Delta Force, the SEALs, and other units in the Joint Special Operations Command–to take the fight to the enemy. They can stage low-profile raids with great precision, and Syrian president Bashar Assad would have scant ability to retaliate. We also need to apply greater pressure to Iran, which continues to support both Shiite and Sunni terrorist groups in Iraq, but that will be harder to do because Tehran is a more formidable adversary than Damascus.
For related considerations, whenever Iran is mentioned — as it is today — check in with Michael Ledeen at Faster, Please!