A Careful, Exacting Indictment
By: Jon Kyl
NationalLedger.com | Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The following is one of the first reviews of the new book Party of Defeat, a meticulously footnoted tour de force examining how "Radicals Undermined America's War on Terror Before and After 9/11." Its author could hardly be more qualified. Sen. Jon Kyl, the junior senator from Arizona, serves as Senate Minority Whip, the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate. Among his many assignments, Sen. Kyl sits on the subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology, and Homeland Security; and the subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law. He previously joined 17 other prominent members of Congress in stating, "Every American concerned about the future of their country in the war on terror should consider the arguments in this book." -- The Editors.
As the president’s term comes to an end, his critics are out to define his legacy in their terms, particularly with regard to Iraq. Of late, their efforts to rebuke the war effort in Iraq seem to have intensified, and no doubt they will continue in the months ahead. The latest rehashes all repeat the same charges we have heard for years now—President Bush and his administration distorted the facts and in doing so initiated the war in Iraq on “false pretenses."
The charges have no empirical support, but it seems critics hope that, with enough repetition, their attempt to rewrite history will one day be accepted as the truth. This is a cynical political calculation that has severe consequences for the United States. The antiwar Left’s myth-making surrounding the war in Iraq has undermined the commander-in-chief’s prerogative to lead the nation in wartime and fractured the unity that has traditionally bound our nation in times of conflict.
Fortunately, a recent book provides a necessary antidote and essential companion to the tendentious reports and narratives about the case for the Iraq war and the war effort itself.
In their book, Party of Defeat, David Horowitz and Ben Johnson have published an historical guide that examines the war we have waged against the terrorists and the concurrent fight that antiwar activists have waged against the administration. In careful fashion, Horowitz and Johnson present a chronology of the war effort and the criticism it has encountered every step of the way.
As the book reminds us, terrorists had threatened the United States long before the attacks of 9/11. It also reminds us that Saddam Hussein did have ties to terrorists and did pose a threat to our country. And it emphasizes the oft-forgotten fact the United States offered Saddam Hussein, even after his decade-long refusals to comply UN resolutions and weapons inspections, a way to avoid going to war—he and his sons could leave the country. As Horowitz and Johnson write, “If Saddam had complied with this eleventh-hour request, there would not have been a war with Iraq.”
The United States liberated Iraq amid opposition to the mission. “In all previous wars, America’s troops could go into battle secure in the knowledge that their country was behind them,” Horowitz and Johnson relate. “But in the war to remove an oppressive tyrant…America’s soldiers would have no such support.”
Liberal activist groups, like MoveOn.org, shamelessly attacked the president and even the troops. MoveOn even impugned the integrity of General Petraeus in a full-page ad in the New York Times.
The media have abetted antiwar activists. Major newspapers have used leaks of sensitive, classified information to publish stories that could do harm to our national security.
This “war against the war,” as Horowitz and Johnson call it, has taken its toll on the war effort. “To destroy the credibility of the commander-in-chief as his troops are in battle is to cripple his ability to support them and to win the war they are fighting.”
In times of war, the question a nation should ask is “How do we win?” not, “Did the President lie?” (He did not.) Because of the success of the surge, the answer is by allowing our troops to complete their mission. Our troops and our military leaders have done their duty, despite discouraging news from home. We cannot fail them by failing in our duty to support them.
U.S. Senator Jon Kyl is the Assistant Republican Leader and serves on the Senate Finance and Judiciary committees. You can visit his website here.
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