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The Democrats' Quagmire By: Kenneth R. Timmerman
The Washington Times | Monday, November 26, 2007

Democrats in Washington just can't seem to help it. Even when great opportunities arise that would allow them to look like patriots, they sponsor yet another bill to cut off funds for our troops in Iraq.

Last week, Democrats in the House of Representatives voted yet again to fix a firm deadline to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. It was their 40th such vote. Luckily, their motion died in the Senate, where the Party of Surrender failed to muster enough votes to survive a presidential veto.

Also last week, House Democrats passed a measure, inappropriately titled the RESTORE Act of 2007, that would stick consumers with billions of dollars in legal fees and enrich trial lawyers, as part of an across-the-board assault on the administration's effort to wage the war on terror.

The RESTORE Act eliminates a key provision from a bill to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs how the U.S. government can intercept suspected terrorist communications, to allow private lawsuits against telecommunications providers who answered the government's call to turn over phone records of suspected terrorists.

As former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton noted in a recent Baltimore Sun opinion column, eliminating immunity for the telecom providers “would deter companies and private citizens from helping in future emergencies when there is uncertainty and legal risk.”

I just returned from Iraq, and one thing leaped out at me, as it has to just about anyone who has been there recently: This is not the same war we were fighting just one year ago. Then, the president faced a U.S. Marine Corps intelligence report that Anbar Province had been “irrevocably lost” to al Qaeda and that we would never win it back.

Today, Sunni Arab sheikhs in Anbar have rallied to the United States and to the cause of freedom, and have launched an all-out war against al Qaeda. The terrorists — not the U.S. Marines — are on the run.

In the Kurdish-controlled region, also known as “the other Iraq,” a boom economy is threatening the Democrats with what they fear the most: a frank and overwhelming U.S. victory in Iraq.

Oil is flowing. U.S. and foreign companies are starting to invest. And on the ground in the cities of northern Iraq, the greatest threat to life and limb is getting smashed by a swinging construction crane, not a homicide bomber. Bit by bit, security and economic revival spread to other parts of Iraq.

Stunning turnarounds such as this often happen in war. But for the Party of Surrender, it doesn"t matter. They will insist on a U.S. defeat in Iraq, regardless of the facts on the ground.

Even as the Anbar awakening was taking root this past April, Senate majority leader Harry Reid proclaimed the war was “lost.” Last week he fudged, saying victory remains “out of reach” because politicians in Baghdad have yet to resolve their differences. (Gee: since when have politicians in Washington resolved their differences?)

When it became apparent in August that Lt. Gen. David Petraeus would have good news for Congress, House Majority Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina warned darkly such news would be “a real problem for us."

As House Democrats pushed through their latest bill to defund U.S. troops in Iraq last week, House speaker Nancy Pelosi again proclaimed that the war has been lost. “Staying there in the manner that we are there is no longer an option,” she said.

The Party of Surrender is floundering. Yes, it is time to talk of “quagmire.” But the quagmire is not the artificial one in Iraq, which the media and the Left had hoped would doom George W. Bush. This is a quagmire of the Democrats own making. It is a quagmire of defeatism and surrender, where a common-sense approach to our national security has been replaced by partisan measures aimed to enrich trial lawyers and endanger Americans.

And it is a quagmire in which the Democrats are now stuck.

Kenneth R. Timmerman was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran. He is Executive Director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran (Crown Forum: 2005).

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