There is a must-read editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal for anyone who wishes to understand the political calculation that is driving attitudes about the war in Iraq. It is very clear now that Senate majority leader Harry Reid and others have concluded that they will reap a partisan advantage if the U. S. war in Iraq fails. On April 12, Senator Reid said this:
“We’re going to pick up Senate seats as a result of this war. Senator Schumer has shown me numbers that are compelling and astounding.”
In other words, Reid and Schumer have calculated that if our troops are defeated in Iraq, then the Democrats will win elections at home. If our troops succeed in Iraq, then the Republicans will make gains at home. Whatever happened to politics stopping at the water’s edge? How did we come to the point in this country that a major political party would bet its fortunes on America’s losing a war?
This is precisely what happens when partisan politics are allowed to determine decisions about national security. The Vice President is right:
“Maybe [Reed’s stance is] a political calculation. Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics. Senator Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election. It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interests of our country, not on the interests of their political party.”