John Hinderaker at Powerline has a timely summary on Congressional Democrats' continued investment in the strategy of defeat. He found a recent article in The Hill, which suggests that a growing number of House Democrats now favor pulling out of Afghanistan, as well as Iraq.
According to the paper, a few Democrats are actually talking about leaving Afghanistan immediately, while others favor addressing that issue after a pullout from Iraq. The apparent leader of the "Get Out of Afghanistan Now" movement is Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie. Mr. Abercrombie is not some Democratic back-bencher; he heads the Air and Land Armed Service Sub-Committee and wields tremendous influence in shaping the nation's defense budget.
“We are finished there, militarily speaking,” said Abercrombie.
“There is no useful purpose for our troops there, Abercrombie stated in a recent interview. “The military should withdraw now,” he said, though he stressed that the U.S. could keep “isolated pockets” of special operators.
Instead of using the military to effect political change, the U.S. should have a complete diplomatic re-engagement in the region, “with an understanding that our role there should change,” Abercrombie added.
Congressman Diane Watson of California expressed similar thoughts, while Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha suggested that our NATO partners take a wider role. You know, countries like Germany and France, which send their troops to Afghanistan, but won't let them participate in combat operations. Yeah, that's the ticket.
As Mr. Hinderaker observes, the Democratic plan--if it's ever approved--could literally snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. He also uncovered this recent item from Strategy Page, noting that Taliban spokesman have admitted that things are not going well for their side. In recent interviews, they've announced a switch in strategy to suicide bombings (the result of recent battlefield defeats). They've also confirmed that U.S. forces have managed to penetrate their networks, resulting in the death of several high-level leaders, and the capture of other important operatives. Making matters worse, their vaunted "spring offensive" was a total flop. Taliban fighters spent much of their time on the defensive, and expected major attacks against Allied bases never materialized.
The comments of Congressional Democrats should certainly give a measure of comfort to our enemies in Afghanistan. No matter how bad things might be right now, if they can only hang on, the Democratic Party will eventually ride to their rescue, and save them from a final defeat.
We should be thankful that Mr. Abercrombie and Ms. Watson didn't serve in Congress during World War II. They would have pushed for a "negotiated settlement" after Pearl Harbor, and a "strategic redeployment" after any bloody battle. But, we're also guessing that FDR wouldn't tolerate such defeatists in his party, and it's unlikely that an Abercrombie or Watson would have won a Democratic primary--let alone a general election--in 1942 or 1944.
Today, Mr. Abercrombine chairs an important sub-committee for his party, and Ms. Watson's views are certainly in line with other Democrats. It's another sad reflection of how far the party has evolved--most would say fallen--since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.