Jewish World Review Nov. 10, 2003 / 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5764

Jack Kelly

Jack Kelly
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President Bush is willing to risk his presidency to protect American security. Are Dems willing to make Iraq another Somalia?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | On Oct. 30, America suffered its bloodiest day in Iraq since major combat operations ceased when a CH-47 "Chinook" helicopter was downed by a surface to air missile. Sixteen soldiers were killed.

Not everyone in America was unhappy.

"I hope the bloodshed continues in Iraq," said "Starpass," a poster on the Democratic Underground weblog. "The only way to get rid of this slime bag...government...relies heavily on what a s**t-hole Iraq turns into.

(American soldiers) need to die...to show these ignorant, dumb Americans that Bush is incompetent."

Most of the posters on the Democratic Underground criticized "Starpass," but a distressingly large number did not.

Meanwhile, Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee are preparing to politicize intelligence. Fox News obtained a copy of a staff memorandum discussing timing a possible investigation of pre-war intelligence on Iraq to embarrass President Bush in the election campaign.

"You can't politicize the Intelligence Committee," said its stunned chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan). "This memo is blatantly partisan. Members on the Republican side are frustrated, outraged and indignant."

The statements they made from 1998 onwards (when Saddam Hussein tossed out the UN weapons inspectors) make it clear Clinton administration officials shared the Bush administration's concerns about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs.

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Since the liberation of Iraq, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Va., has accused Bush of claiming, falsely, that Saddam's WMD programs posed an "imminent" threat.

Bush never said that. But Rockefeller did. "I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat," Rockefeller said in a speech last fall. "But I also believe that after Sept.11, the question is increasingly outdated. It is in the nature of these weapons and the way they are targeted against civilian populations, the documented capability and the demonstrated intent may be the only warning we get. To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk."

Now that the danger is past and an election is near, Rockefeller is revising history, including his own, and preparing to distort intelligence for partisan political purposes.

For the aging leftists in the Democratic party, Iraq is another Vietnam. But for Saddam and Osama bin Laden, Iraq is another Somalia. In Mogadishu in 1993, militiamen loyal to the warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed downed two Blackhawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.

The American commandos had killed nearly 1,000 of Aideed's militiamen in the firefight, and wanted to go back and finish them off. Aideed's allies were terrified they would, Mark Bowden recounts in his book, "Blackhawk Down!"

But President Clinton was spooked. His abrupt withdrawal from Somalia convinced the terrorists that Americans have no stomach for a fight. Kill a few Americans, and they'll turn tail, the terrorists believe. It will take years of resolve to overcome the damage done by that moment of pusillanimity.

It is always a tragedy when brave young Americans die. But perspective is required. If the downing of a single helicopter - a near daily occurrence in Vietnam - can produce the single bloodiest day for Americans since the end of major combat operations, it means the other days haven't been all that bloody.

A "long, hard slog" remains. But we've achieved remarkable success at relatively low cost. We're winning in Iraq, and victory there is critical to victory in the war on terror.

Our enemies in Iraq know they cannot defeat us militarily. Their campaign of terror is intended to sap our will.

Their strategy dovetails with that of Democrats, who do not wish to acknowledge American successes, for fear President Bush will get credit for them.

President Bush is willing to risk his presidency to protect American security. Democrats are willing to risk American security to advance their political ambitions. The election in 2004 is the most important since the one in 1864.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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