The “Bush Surge” vs. the “Reid Surge”
Not too long ago I posted a criticism of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), the Speaker of the House of Representatives, for trekking to Damascus to meet with the thug dictator of Syria. In arguing against her trip, I used a scene from the Godfather as an analogy: Sonny dissenting from a decision made by his father, Don Corleone, during a meeting with a representative of another Mafia family. The representative—Virgil “the Turk” Sollozo—an assassin for the Tattaglias, immediately concludes that if the Don is eliminated, Sonny will take his place and cooperate. And sure enough, shortly thereafter, the Tattaglias attempt to assassinate the Don.
If “Sonny” Pelosi’s Syrian trip was ill-advised because of Assad’s likely perception that if he can wait out the Bush administration, he can make a better deal with the Democrats, how much worse was the widely-reported statement two days ago by Senate Majority Leader Harry “the Copperhead” Reid that the war in Iraq is lost? According to news reports, Reid told journalists “I believe … that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week.”
America’s enemies in the Middle East certainly took note of Pelosi’s trip; the Arab press was full of favorable reports of the Speaker’s pilgrimage to Damascus. The Middle Eastern press has also, not surprisingly, taken note of Reid’s comments (which he tried to take back later in the day). So in addition to feeding defeatism in the United States and demoralizing the troops who are in Iraq (or soon to be on their way there), Reid has most likely encouraged our enemies in that unhappy place.
Our enemies know that the war that counts is the one for the American mind. If we believe that the war is lost, they win. They have an incentive to keep fighting and to kill as many people as they can. In a gun battle with American troops, the insurgents lose. So they concentrated on killing as many Iraqis as they can in the hope and expectation that the news will demoralize the American public.
Lincoln noted that in a democratic republic, “public sentiment” is critical. During the Civil War, Robert E. Lee was an assiduous reader of Northern newspapers. By 1864 he understood that the only hope for the Confederacy was that war weariness in the North would lead to Lincoln’s electoral defeat. The Confederates put a great deal of hope in the “Copperheads,” the so-called “Peace Democrats” who did everything possible to obstruct the Union war effort.
During Vietnam, the Tet Offensive of 1968 was a military defeat for the North Vietnamese communists, but a public relations victory that helped turn the American public against the war. In audiotapes released by the insurgents over the last couple of years, their leaders such as the late and unlamented Abu Musab al-Zarqawi have demonstrated that they understand the lessons of Tet very well.
I believe that the bomb attacks in Iraq that caused such carnage in recent days are the expected consequences of the Democrats’ efforts to undercut the president’s new team and the changed strategy represented by the so-called “surge.” We know what the Bush surge is. I think a good name for the increasing body count in Iraq is the “Reid surge.”
Update: I have been pushing the similarities between today’s Democrats and the Civil War “Copperheads.” On Friday’s “Best of the Web,” James Taranto picks up the theme, comparing Reid’s statement to the Democratic Party platform of 1864, which was written by the Copperheads. Indeed, a Copperhead, Rep. George H. Pendleton of Ohio, was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. Not much has changed.
“Resolved, that this convention does explicitly declare, as the sense of the American people, that after four years of failure to restore the Union by the experiment of war, during which, under the pretence of military necessity, or war power higher than the Constitution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every part, and public liberty and private right alike trodden down, and the material prosperity of the country essentially impaired, justice, humanity, liberty, and the public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention of the States or other peaceable means, to the end that at the earliest practicable moment peace may be restored on the basis of the federal Union of the States.”–1864 Democratic platform