Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Winners Are Optimists

David Petraeus on Iraq's progress is an effective counter to the doom and gloom of the Kerryites. Petraeus is the commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq and, among many other things, he says this:

[T]here are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.

Within the next 60 days, six more regular army and six additional Intervention Force battalions will become operational. Nine more regular army battalions will complete training in January, in time to help with security missions during the Iraqi elections at the end of that month.

Iraqi National Guard battalions have also been active in recent months. Some 40 of the 45 existing battalions - generally all except those in the Fallujah-Ramadi area - are conducting operations on a daily basis, most alongside coalition forces, but many independently. Progress has also been made in police training. In the past week alone, some 1,100 graduated from the basic policing course and five specialty courses. By early spring, nine academies in Iraq and one in Jordan will be graduating a total of 5,000 police each month from the eight-week course, which stresses patrolling and investigative skills, substantive and procedural legal knowledge, and proper use of force and weaponry, as well as pride in the profession and adherence to the police code of conduct.

There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the way. It is likely that insurgent attacks will escalate as Iraq's elections approach. Iraq's security forces are, however, developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition - and now NATO - support, this trend will continue. It will not be easy, but few worthwhile things are.

There are a couple of thoughts which come to mind when reading this article. First, it seems evident that time is on the side of the coalition. The longer things go, the more trained forces the Iraqis will be able to deploy against the terrorists in Fallujah and elsewhere and the less of a threat they will be. The worst thing we can do at this point is to pull out.

Second, no great thing has ever been accomplished by those who are always looking for reasons to justify their belief that it can't be done. Great deeds require men with vision and a positive spirit. They require leaders with a "can-do" mentality, men who see the goal and have the stamina, strength, and courage to pull the rest of us with them to that objective. Winners are optimists. They are cheerful and confident in the rightness of what they are about.

Senator Kerry offers us nothing but retreat, criticism, defeatism, and the politics of pessimism. According to him everything we're doing is wrong. We are, he asseverates, fighting the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, in the wrong way. Such an attitude certainly does not inspire our troops to strive for successful completion of their mission. It only discourages, disheartens, and demoralizes the people who hear him. His gloomy negativism makes him the wrong man to serve as our commander-in-chief in these momentous times.

The Politics of Paranoia

Massachussetts Senator Ted Kennedy has repeatedly made the claim that we are becoming less and less safe from terror attacks on our homeland. We keep hearing this assertion from all sorts of people in the opposition party but the question one wishes someone would ask the senator and anyone else who makes this fatuous claim is: How do you know that what you're telling us is, in fact, true? What is the metric by which Senator Kennedy can descry an increasing probability of a terror strike in the U.S.? Is it that he, like so many others in his party, believes that any assertion critical of the President, no matter how incredible or outrageous, is self-validating?

Of course, claims like these are low risk/high yield investments because there's no way they can be falsified. If there is a terror strike Kennedy and his votaries will shriek and howl about how they warned us that it was coming, and if there is no attack, well, they will assure us, it's on its way, and Bush is doing nothing to stop it. Either way, there's no price to pay for their reckless dishonesty. Indeed, it's possible that by continually shouting to the world that we are in a pitiful state of unpreparedness, the senator and his allies may well be emboldening the Islamists to attempt an attack that they might not otherwise have risked.

At any rate, these sorts of unsupported allegations are rhetorical parries directed at morons. The Democrats have decided that they will say, and perhaps do, whatever they think an intellectually uncritical public will accept. They're putting out so many baseless charges about the administration's "secret plans" to do dastardly harm to virtually every constituency the Dems can think of that the Republicans are finding it impossible to refute them all. There are "secret plans" to deprive African-Americans of their right to vote, to draft young people, to strip away social security from old people, just to name a few, and now Kerry reveals to us the administration's "secret plan" to take away subsidies from Wisconsin dairy farmers.

Perhaps we'll soon be hearing that Dick Cheney "secretly" had Halliburton pilots fly the planes into the WTT on 9/11 in order to boost the administration's poll numbers. One wonders in astonishment how Senator Kerry has come to be privy to the inner machinations of the Republican party. How does he uncover all these "secret plans"? Maybe Bush should have made Kerry head of the CIA when George Tenent resigned.

Of course, incessant assurances of "secret plans" to hurt this or that group of people is the politics of paranoia, and it's quite contemptible. The Democrat party, however, has long ago ceased to care how much it debases the American political process or how foul their allegations are against their opponents. For the left there are no moral constraints as most people understand them. For them the highest good is to win and regain power. Anything which achieves this goal is morally justified. The end of securing power warrants the application of whatever means are necessary.

If the voting public rewards their conduct with victory in November it will ensure that these tactics become standard fare in our elections, and in the long term it will have a severely corrosive effect on our democracy. These people don't deserve to win for a number of reasons, but the fact that they find such slimy tactics so agreeable to their character is surely foremost among them.