Rocco DiPippo recently spent six months in Iraq managing the renovation and reconstruction of police stations near Baghdad. In that time, he got to know Iraqis well and came to realize the importance of mutual trust to the success of our efforts there, and how the efforts of the
Copperheads Democrats and the anti-war Left in the US are seriously undermining that trust, and thus endangering the mission: Looking Iraqis in the Eye.
So it is with the effort to stabilize Iraq – without trust and respect between coalition and Iraqi security forces and ordinary Iraqis, no amount of weaponry or diplomacy will succeed in bringing peace there. And nothing can accelerate that process more than a firm commitment from the US that it will stand side-by-side with the Iraqi security forces, and with ordinary Iraqis, until peace and stability is at hand – no matter how long that takes to achieve.
Unfortunately, since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Democratic Party, the leftist media and the nation’s cultural elite as a whole have done little to help build trust between America and Iraq. Indeed, they have done exactly the opposite, filling the airwaves and the front pages of US newspapers with endless negative messages: the experiment to bring democracy to Iraq is a total failure; US soldiers are psychopaths and murderers; President Bush is a greater threat to the world than those who torture and murder innocent Iraqis; the US presence in Iraq is the problem, not part of the solution, to ending the 30 years of brutality that Iraqis endured under the boot of Saddam; the game is over – al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have won and the Iraqis and Americans have lost.
Who can say that the morale of ordinary Iraqis and American soldiers was not damaged when one of the most powerful men in America, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, stood in front of the world and declared, “I believe… that this war is lost.” Who can expect them to ignore the defeatist postures of men and women like John Kerry, Richard Durbin, Edward Kennedy, John Murtha, Jack Reed, John Conyers and Nancy Pelosi? Who can forget the media deification of people like Cindy Sheehan and groups like International A.N.S.W.E.R and Code Pink, who are far more concerned with pushing a radical social and political agenda than they are with bringing peace and stability to Iraq?
Whenever defeatists like Senators Reid or Kerry or "activists" like Sean Penn are criticized for harming the war effort, they hide behind a shield of wounded honor and cry "how dare you question my patriotism? I love my country!" Yet, as DiPippo so eloquently shows, their constant carping about the war, their repeated demands to set a timetable to pull out have an effect on Iraqi morale and their willingness to stick their necks out to help us. I’ve seen this reported time and again over the last couple of years in reports from independent journalists such as Michael Totten and Michael Yon — many Iraqis are reluctant to help because they aren’t sure they can trust us.
As much as it pains me to write this, they have good reasons for their doubt and caution. Not just because of the god-awful brutality they experienced under Saddam’s rule, but from American history, too. In 1975, we abandoned South Vietnam; millions in Southeast Asia died as a result. In 1991, we encouraged the Shia and the Kurds to rise against Saddam and, when they did, we did nothing to help. Tens of thousands died while we stood by and watched. Less than a score of Americans were killed in the 1993 "Black Hawk down" incident in Mogadishu, yet we ran.
And now with Harry Reid saying the war is lost just weeks after voting to fund the (so far successful) surge and John Murtha telling every Sunday talk-show that will have him that "our military is broken," is it any wonder that Iraqis who might want to help us instead hang back, fearful that we’ll leave them swinging in the wind — again?
It is one thing to be opposed to the invasion and liberation of Iraq: good, intelligent, honorable people can believe this, yet still also believe it is not in the United States’ interests to lose, once committed. Men like Congressman Brian Baird, who voted against the original authorization to use force and still thinks it was a bad idea, but who now is convinced we have to see the fight through.
It is another thing altogether, however, for American elected officials and American media leaders to do everything in their power to bring about their nation’s defeat by smearing its military; making wild, unfounded accusations against the president; revealing vital national security operations in wartime; and providing a steady diet of slanted, anti-war coverage almost since before the Iraq operation began. In short, by doing everything they can to break the nation’s will to continue all for their own short-term electoral interests. For that, I do indeed question the patriotism of the Democratic Party leadership, their allies in the mainstream media, and our so-called cultural elites.
The only real question, frankly, is whether this lack of patriotism is due to maliciousness, stupidity, or both.