The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Looking Ahead (or Backward)

With less than a month until the November electrions, it appears that the Democratic party will gain a majority in the House and may very well also take over the senate. George Will comments:
If after the Foley episode -- a maraschino cherry atop the Democrats' delectable sundae of Republican miseries -- the Democrats cannot gain 13 seats, they should go into another line of work.

But politics is what the Dems do, and they’re going to get the opportunity (after many years in the wilderness) to lead the parade. My concern is what they’re going to do as leaders.

Will the Dems spend their time looking backward, chairing “investigations” of the Bush administration and attempting to learn what nefarious activities the new Satan and Rummy were up to? Or will they show the American public that they can lead — looking forward and proposing concrete, rational alternatives to the Bush doctrine in foreign policy. I’m sad to say that I suspect the former, although I long for the latter.

We live in a very dangerous world, one in which appeasement and retreat will do great harm to the country today and even more harm in the future. Ed Koch, the former Democratic mayor of New York City comments on this when he writes:
It makes no difference in determining our current position whether we were right or wrong to go into Iraq in 2003; we are now there. To those who say, if we were wrong initially, we can never justify staying, I say, ridiculous. The enemy is worldwide Islamic terrorism, and its center today is Iraq. If we were to leave Iraq, would al-Qaeda and other groups allied with it stop their attacks on Americans? Certainly not. We were not in Iraq, nor was George W. Bush our President, when in 1993 Islamic terrorists bombed the World Trade Center killing six and injuring one thousand people; when Islamic terrorists blew up the U.S.S. Cole, killing 13 and injuring 33; when they blew up U.S. Army barracks in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 and injuring 515; when they blew up two American embassies in Africa, causing 257 deaths and 5,000 injuries. We were not in Iraq, and Bush was the President, when Islamic terrorists hijacked and drove passenger planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001, killing some 3,000 people.

The Islamic terrorists have declared their ultimate goals to include the destruction of the U.S. and the takeover of such moderate Arab states as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf countries. Why do we continue to refuse to believe their stated aims? They couldn't be more clear than Musab al-Zarqawi, the number one al-Qaeda operative in Iraq before he was killed by a U.S. airstrike, who stated before his death, "Killing the infidels is our religion, slaughtering them is our religion, until they convert to Islam or pay us tribute."

Can the Democrats lead by looking backward? Can they lead by refusing to clearly acknowledge the threat we face? I think not. Will they propose clear alternatives to the hated Bush doctrine that are not viewed as appeasement or retreat? We’ll see.

Those of us independents who reside in the center will be watching their “leadership” carefully. If they truly do lead on an international level, they will regain the Presidency in 2008. But if they do what I suspect and look backward for the next two years, they will squander yet another opportunity to become what they once were—a party populated by pragmatists who never let liberal ideology get in the way real leadership.