Saturday, November 18, 2006

Elections, Conservatives, and Iraq

One week ago last Tuesday, national election results left me reeling. History could have taught me to expect a shift of power. History could have taught us to know better than let that happen. At such a time as this in world politics, I thought there was no way the American people would entrust their defense to those who would surrender to terrorists, grant amnesty to foreigners who break our laws, and spend money on the destruction of our economy and infant population. I was wrong.

Given my track record the past two weeks, perhaps I should not be surprised, then, at the reaction to Democrats’ victories in the press. Already stories are filling papers and television news stations of the Democrats’ plans. What went wrong? Did the people vote Democrat because of Iraq? What are the people saying?

Under similar circumstances a quarter of a century ago, President Ronald Reagan said that the results of the election were not determined by the dissatisfaction of those who voted, but of those who stayed home. All that is required for evil to conquer is for good men to do nothing. Nothing is exactly what too many good men did.

The most shocking result of last week’s election is the transformation of conservatives. President Bush has issued press releases hinting that he is reconsidering his policies in Iraq. In meetings with the Congress majority leaders-elect, he has indicated willingness to compromise in many areas. Conservative talk show hosts, who just weeks ago were defending the war in Iraq as just, well-founded, a struggle with evil, and necessary for the security of the American people, are now doing segments on what went wrong in our war. Doubt creeps into their minds, and screams from their comments. Was the war a good idea? Did we misjudge? Would it be better to just get out? Is Iraq’s new government really doing all they can to take charge of their own country?

What changed? Do popularity ratings determine what is right? Is national security a matter of politics? Will a Democrat-controlled congress really offer our safety on the altar of power and spite?

“Maybe isolationism was right all along,” they’re saying. “We have nothing to gain in Iraq. The war on terror is propaganda. Citizens of countries we liberated from oppressive terrorist regimes don’t want us there. Iraq is too tribal a culture for democracy. More soldiers die every week. We’re losing. It was all in vain.”

I sigh, remembering history. “Peace in our time,” cheered Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of England, trusting a signature on a peace of paper to prove the victory of diplomacy and compromise in the cause of peace. Just two years later an emboldened Fuhrer Hitler marched into Poland, trampling the theories of containment. His fighter pilots dropped bombs even on London. America tried to stay out of the European conflict; that is until Germany’s allies in Japan flew hundreds of miles to attack an “isolated” naval base in Hawaii. Does containment work? Pacificism? Isolationism?

“What can we gain in Iraq?” some ask. What can we gain by surrendering? What would it cost to have a terrorist-infested country in the world, encouraged by our retreat to continue using terror to accomplish their will? How long would it take before they were attacking us on our land again?

"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace.
The war is actually begun!
The next gale that sweeps from the north
will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms!
Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle?
What is it that gentlemen wish?
What would they have?
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet,
as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?
Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me,
give me liberty or give me death!"
~ Patrick Henry

To God be all glory.

1 comment:

Lisa of Longbourn said...

I think I might need to clarify:
Most of my questions in this post were from the "other side." I do not question our reasons for entering or continuing to fight in Iraq.

With technological advances in the past century, isolationism is no longer an option. Potential enemies are potential global enemies. To leave Iraq or show a weak front there would be disastrous for us and for the Iraqi people.

I decided against posting a comment submitted on this article. It isn't because I'm offended, but just because I don't want to promote that viewpoint (or allow it published) on my blog. You can write a post of your own about this topic if you're interested. Thanks.
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn