The Democrats' 'Slow-Bleed' Strategy
A disgraceful moment in Congress.
Feb 26, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 23 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Politicians often say foolish things. Members of both parties criticize cavalierly and thunder thoughtlessly. They advance irresponsible suggestions and embrace mistaken policies. But most of our politicians, most of the time, stop short of knowingly hurting the country. Watching developments in Congress this past week, though, one has to ask: Can that be said any longer about the leadership of the Democratic party?
President Bush is sending reinforcements to join our soldiers fighting in Iraq. Democrats are entitled to doubt this will work. They are entitled to conclude the whole cause is hopeless or unjust--and that we should withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible or on some other more responsible timetable. They are entitled to move legislation in Congress to compel such a withdrawal, on a schedule and with provisions that seem to them appropriate.
But surely they should not fecklessly try to weaken the U.S. position in Iraq, and America's standing in the world, by raising doubts as to our commitment in Iraq without advancing an alternative. That is precisely what they are doing with the nonbinding resolution condemning the dispatch of additional troops to Iraq. The fact that some Republicans have embraced this resolution does not excuse the Democratic party for its virtually monolithic support of it. The GOP has its share of fools and weaklings. But it is the Democratic party that now seems willing to commit itself, en masse, to a foreign policy of foolishness and weakness.
For the nonbinding resolution passed by the House Friday is merely the first round. What comes next are legislative restrictions and budgetary limitations designed to cripple our effort in Iraq. As Politico.com reported Thursday:
So the nonbinding resolution is only the first step in the slow-bleed strategy. The Murtha plan intends to block further relief and reinforcement for American troops, leaving them exposed and unable to succeed. Surely Democrats (and fellow-traveling Republicans) will turn back from this path while they still have time to save some of their honor. But the antiwar groups won't make it easy. John Bresnahan's Politico.com report continues:
No, the Democrats and the antiwar groups shouldn't "be seen" as "hand in glove." But they are. The national Democratic party has become the puppet of antiwar groups. These groups do not merely accept-reluctantly--American defeat in the Middle East. They seek to hasten it. Some seem to welcome it.
The leaders of those groups believe their slow-bleed strategy is "kind of an ingenious thing." In truth, it's not really so "ingenious." But it is disgraceful. In our judgment, it will fail as a political strategem, it will fail to derail the president's policy--and we will ultimately prevail in Iraq. The slow-bleed strategy will, however, stain the reputation of its champions, and of the useful idiots in both parties who have gone along with it.