Now the President can afford to step back:
After fiercely defending his Iraq policy across Asia, President Bush abruptly toned down his attack on war critics Sunday and said there was nothing unpatriotic about opposing his strategy.
"People should feel comfortable about expressing their opinions about Iraq," Bush said, three days after agreeing with Vice President Dick Cheney that the critics were "reprehensible."
The president also praised Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., as "a fine man" and a strong supporter of the military despite the congressman's call for troop withdrawal as soon as possible.
I have no problem with expressing differing opinions on the war. What I object to are the lies about the war that the anti-war side is peddling, and their efforts to make us lose this war.
As for Murtha, he has genuinely fought for our country, but past sacrifice and bravery do not immunize him from criticism that he is undermining our war effort and engaged in political pandering at the expense of our troops today. I honor his past as a Marine. I am disgusted by his present conduct. And though the President may honor Murtha, I disagree with the President that Murtha's position is based on careful and thoughtful analysis.
As I said, the President can check out of this debate and move on to the next stage: reminding Americans that we are winning. In our present debate, this is a crucial message to press home.
In 490 B.C., the Athenians went out to meet the invading Persians on the battlefield of Marathon. Unwilling to defend their city's walls because too many Athenians were ready to betray the city to the invaders, the army was sent to fight the enemy where the potential fifth column could not affect the fight. When the Athenians won on the battlefiled, they sent a runner back to the city--26.2 miles--to let the people know that Athens had won and so dishearten those who might have opened the gates to the enemy should the Persians reach Athens by sea before the army could return home.
Our President must now spread the word hidden by our press that we are winning, in order to defuse the impact of those calling for immediate retreat and effective surrender. I wish our politicians listened to our troops who know we are winning rather than the press that hopes we are losing. But they do not so the President must bolster the spines of our Congress and let our people know the true state of affairs in Iraq.
It would help to first refute the idea popular among many (but certainly not Represenative Murtha) that the enemy in Iraq constitutes a "resistance" to our presence. Most Iraqis hate the so-called resistance and know they are murderers. The enemy doesn't even fight in organized units and it has been close to a year since I can recall a platoon-sized enemy attack on our forces. They plant IEDs and send in suicide bombers, fire mortars, or sit in buildings out west as we come after them. They are terrorists despite what the press reports:
First, there is definitely a terrorism problem. Not an insurgency, not a guerilla war, not a resistance. A portion of the Sunni Arab population refuses to recognize the Sunni Arab loss of power in early 2003. They are supporting a campaign of terror to either get back power or, more pragmatically, to get immunity for most Sunni Arabs for crimes committed during Saddams decades in power. The majority of support the terrorists get is from the amnesty crowd. Hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arab families have one or more members who did Saddam's dirty work. That has left millions of Kurds and Shia Arabs looking for revenge. Remember, this is where the legal concept of "eye-for-an-eye" was invented thousands of years ago.
Second, we are winning against these well-armed and financed thugs:
For the military, the campaign in Iraq has been a success. The enemy, the Sunni Arabs, have been determined and resourceful. But the American strategy of holding the Sunni Arabs at bay, while the Kurds and Shia Arabs built a security force capable of dealing with the Sunni Arab terrorists, has worked. But that's good news, and thus not news.
We will win this war as long as we remain determined to win, even though our military fights against both an enemy and the press. Sadly, our press is the more formidable enemy than the terrorist thugs who cannot win barring a sudden retreat on our part. I'm glad our president jogs. He has a long road ahead of him to spread the word that we are winning in Iraq.
UPDATE: And for those of you who doubt that there are people here who would figuratively open the gates to the enemy, read this and this. But don't dare ever suggest they are unpatriotic.