Reid the reaper: Dems plan Iraq Awakening's wake
By Daniel Clark
President Bush has repeatedly said that as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seems to have taken him too literally.
On April 19th, representatives of 50 Iraqi Sunni tribes announced the formation of a new political party called Iraq Awakening, whose mission is to oppose terrorism and improve Iraqi-American relations. Later that very same day, Sen. Reid demanded the pullout of American forces, on the basis that Iraq had been "lost" -- which may or may not be accurate, depending on exactly whose side he's on.
Iraq Awakening is rapidly spawning branch organizations at the provincial level, with the aim of fielding candidates in elections at all levels of government, including the parliamentary elections in 2009. In the predominantly Shiite country, this large scale political organization among the Sunni population is precisely what al-Qaida has been determined to prevent. If somebody doesn't break up the party soon, NBC News may have to call off the civil war that it had gleefully but erroneously declared months ago.
Refusing to be swayed by the significance of this development, Reid and his fellow Democrats have tried (unsuccessfully, thankfully) to defund the war effort, and establish deadlines for withdrawal. If they'd gotten their way, we would have stood behind the Iraqi people just long enough to tape "kick me" signs onto their backsides.
Critics of the war often argue that the Iraqi people aren't capable of handling freedom and self-government. Even many of the war's supporters have voiced frustration with the Iraqis for their reluctance to take control of their own country, as if it were only natural that they volunteer to become fodder for terrorists. The Iraqis have the internet and cable news just like the rest of the world does. That means they're well aware of the political divisions we have in this country regarding their future. It cannot have escaped their attention that the faction that now controls our Congress has been working earnestly to undermine the new Iraqi government every step of the way.
Until the Iraqis are confident that they can protect themselves, their willingness to stand up depends heavily on their trust in the United States. They must recognize that if the leadership of the Democratic Party had its way, it would leave them at the mercy of the terrorists, just for the sake of calling President Bush a failure. Nevertheless, these courageous Sunni leaders are starting to stand up, despite their knowledge that if we stand down now, they'll never make it all the way to their feet before they get clobbered.
In politics, timing is seldom coincidental, and no sooner did Iraq Awakening spring up than Harry Reid, the Grim Reaper of the Senate, started furiously hacking at it with his scythe. Reid's reaction suggests that he does not believe the war is lost, as he says he does. Instead, he and his party have wagered their future on the enemy, and are therefore panicked by the prospect of victory.
If we are frustrated with our allies in Iraq, the feeling must be mutual. At a time when loyalty matters most, we continuously make excuses for the disloyal ones among us. Leaders of the Democratic Party accuse our soldiers of torture and acts of terrorism, suggest that the president might have known about the 9-11 attacks beforehand, contradict the administration's foreign policy while visiting hostile countries, and try to turn the American people against the military by proposing a draft.
Yet most of their fellow Americans blather that we shouldn't "question their patriotism," because they "support the troops."
Elected Democrats have also cast doubt upon the legitimacy of the historic Iraqi elections, claimed that the Iraqis were better off under Saddam Hussein, and snubbed interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi when he came to Washington to give his country's thanks to America. Now, our Iraqi allies can't even hold a press conference without a Democrat response, delivered by Sen. Reid. Still, the Jellyphants of the Republican Party can't bring themselves to even question anyone's patriotism.
With such conflicting signals emanating from America, the question is not what has taken Iraq Awakening so long to stand up, but what gives them the fortitude to stand up at all. Sen. Reid is surely at a loss to explain it, which must be why he looked so grim while issuing his rebuttal.
Well, all right, so that's the way he always looks. But happily, this time he had a reason.
Daniel Clark is a Staff Writer for the New Media Alliance. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.
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