We are not arguing that one had to agree with the surge or the Bush decision to go into Iraq. Dissent is a deep tradition in U.S. politics, and this war has become a bitter subject.
It is evident, though, that the opposition to Iraq after the Democrats won control of Congress in 2006 has put these candidates in a corner. For the past year, Democrats in both the Senate and House have enforced rock-solid party opposition to every jot and tittle of the Bush policy. They now have four candidates running for the U.S. Presidency who seem to believe it is to their political advantage to deny manifest reality.
Over the past 12 months, U.S. troops in Iraq have risen every day and gone to work, dangerous work, implementing General David Petraeus’s counterinsurgency strategy. The surge. Across the political spectrum, observers have announced the surge a success. This achievement must be a source of enormous pride to the U.S. soldiers and Marines who have pulled it off.
So what we take away from the four Democratic Presidential candidates’ stunning display of misinformation and false statements about the surge Saturday evening is that they have simply stopped thinking about Iraq. They seem to have concluded that opposition to the war permits them to literally not know what the U.S. or the Iraqis are doing there. As the nation commences the selection of an American President, this is a phenomenon worth noting.
Has the self-directedness of these candidates gone so deep that they now believe they can get away with saying anything at all on national TV?