by Bruce S. Thornton
The champion of shameless chutzpah has always been the guy who murders his parents then throws himself on the mercy of the court because he’s an orphan. But White House spokesman Jay Carney might be the new champ, given his response to the House vote not to authorize President Obama’s un-war in Libya: “We think now is not the time to send the kind of mixed message that it sends when we are working with our allies to achieve the goals that we believe are widely shared in Congress.”
A Democrat like Carney has to be brimming with chutzpah to talk about sending a “mixed message” to our allies and enemies. What did his party do for eight years but undercut with “mixed messages” President Bush’s foreign policy? Bush was “working with our allies” in Iraq and Afghanistan to pursue the presumably “widely shared goals” of making us secure by destroying jihadist bases, taking out dysfunctional regimes that facilitated terrorism, and replacing them with democratic governments. And unlike Obama and his Libyan adventure, he obtained Congressional approval for both wars. But once the tin-pot Jacobin Howard Dean gained political traction by exploiting a left-wing-organized anti-war movement, major Democratic politicians felt no compunction in undercutting our efforts, knowing full well that we are fighting an enemy who knows it cannot win on the battlefield, but only by destroying our morale — precisely the strategy that those “mixed messages” aided and abetted.
In 2007, for example, then-Senator Barack Obama bitterly opposed the “surge” of troops to Iraq that succeeded in turning that conflict around. Channeling the antique “Vietnam syndrome,” Obama called the surge a “mistake” and a “reckless escalation,” and introduced legislation to remove all US combat forces by the end of March 2008. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent Bush a letter calling the surge “a serious mistake.” Democrats in both houses of Congress introduced non-binding resolutions rejecting the surge. Harry Reid notoriously announced in April 2007 that “this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything.” Joe Biden agreed a few months later: “We need to stop the surge and start to get our troops out.” After violence in Iraq declined as a result of the surge and General Petraeus’ counter-insurgency strategy, Senator Dick Durbin accused the General and the President of manipulating statistics, and Senator Hillary Clinton said that the General’s report to Congress required “a willing suspension of disbelief.”
All this came after several years of incessant attacks on President Bush’s foreign policy that undercut the powerful message of renewed American strength and confidence that destroying the Taliban and Hussein’s regime had sent. The nadir of this “message” of defeat and doubt came in June 2004, when the Democratic leadership, including Al Gore, Barbara Boxer, Tom Harkin, and Tom Daschle, joyfully attended the premier of Fahrenheit 9-11, the cinematic libel concocted by left-wing propagandist Michael Moore, who that same month called the terrorists in Iraq “Minutemen” and crowed that their “numbers will grow, and they will win.” Such cheering for the enemy killing our troops did not disqualify Moore from occupying the seat next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention. This “mixed messaging” culminated when the Democrats nominated for president Senator John Kerry, whose thin Senate record included supporting massive cuts to the intelligence budget and pledging to “almost eliminate CIA activity,” not to mention his flip-flop on the war in Iraq he had voted to authorize. And as a candidate, he heartened our enemy by dismissing terrorism as a “nuisance” like prostitution, and by calling the war in Iraq the fruit of “the most inept, reckless, arrogant and ideological foreign policy in modern history.”
And let’s not forget the mother of all mixed messages — newly elected Obama’s “apology tour” that dismissed American exceptionalism, donned the hair shirt of contrition for America’s “imperfections,” and groveled before the alleged cultural and religious superiority of Islam. This embrace of weakness and retreat was confirmed in Obama’s foreign policy actions, whether it was abandoning our allies like Poland and Czechoslovakia to curry favor with Russia, anxiously soliciting the favor of the thuggish, WMD-seeking mullahs in Iran, sending diplomatic billet-doux to Syria’s murderous “reformer” Bashar al-Assad, alienating and endangering our stalwart ally Israel over some housing construction, abandoning the creepy but useful ally Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, “leading from behind” in the un-war in Libya, and now announcing to the Taliban and Pakistan that we have a time-certain for skeedaddling from Afghanistan, so all they have to do is wait a bit before rebooting their unholy alliance.
If you want a “mixed message,” look no further. For all his mistakes and arguable aims about creating democracy in the Middle East, George Bush sent a powerful message of American strength and resolve, and a rejection of the American self-doubt, moral weakness, and historical guilt that had convinced the jihadists that American civilization was, as bin Laden put it, “built on foundations of straw,” and so could be defeated by destroying our morale. But for nearly a decade that message has been scrambled by the Democrats and Obama, whose embarrassment about American power and righteousness and doubt about the goodness of our aims and actions have sent a quite different message about America: that the “mincing leviathan,” as Dennis Miller describes the Democrats’ America, doesn’t have the stomach for the all-out fight necessary to destroy jihadism.
©2011 Bruce S. Thornton