In an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday Newt Gingrich talked aboutÂ why he thinks the Democrats are so eager to pull the troops out of Iraq.Â Chris Wallace asked Gingrich why some Democrats want to start pulling out of Iraq before the Petraeus progress report is issued in September? Gingrich answered, â€œThe left wing of the Democratic Party is deeply opposed to American victory and deeply committed to American defeat. In 1975, when there were no Americans left in Vietnam, the left wing of the Democratic Party killed the government of South Vietnam, cut off all of its funding, cut off all of its ammunition, and sent a signal to the world that the United States had abandoned its allies.â€
Gingrich had a message for any Democrats who want to leave Iraq. â€œWhat I would say to any Democrat who wants America to leave is quite simple. Millions of Iraqis have sided with the United States. They are known in their neighborhoods. They are known in their cities. If we abandon them, they are going to be massacred.
How can you, in good conscience, walk away from these decent people and leave them behind to a fate which we’ve seen, for example, in Afghanistan, where the Taliban recently was machine-gunning girls as they walked to school because the Taliban is determined to stop women from getting educated? We are faced with evil opponents. Those opponents need to be defeated. And if General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker come back in September and say, “We actually can win this thing,” I want to understand the rationale that says, â€˜No, we don’t want to let America win. Let’s legislate defeat for the United States,â€™â€ Gingrich said.
In the next segment, Wallace asked Sen. Russ Feingold if the Democrats were ignoring signs of success that the troop surge is working. â€œAnd I’m happy to acknowledge any signs of success, but the truth is since this surge began, we’ve had some of the highest numbers of American deaths and some of the greatest tragedies in Iraq of the entire period. I do not buy the notion that the surge is working. I do not buy the notion that somehow Petraeus is going to be able to tell us that things are moving in the right direction. And in fact, he’ll come back in September and he’s going to say, â€˜Let’s wait till the end of the year. â€˜So this is an endless game that continues this tragedy, and I think it’s just the opposite of what Speaker Gingrich said. The truth is this is draining America’s strength. It is costing us $12 billion a month,â€ Feingold said
The senator continued, â€œWe’re losing over 100 people almost every single month, and it is hurting us in the fight against those that attacked us on 9/11. So this disaster has to end. And a number of Republicans, of course, now have voted saying, â€˜We can’t just wait till September. We’ve got to get this done.â€™â€ Feingold was then asked if he had already made up his mind on the Petraeus report.
He replied, â€œWell, I’ll listen to whatever he says. But he’s not going to be the only person I consult with. We’ve heard from the White House and generals before about how there’s no civil war, about the insurgency is in its last throes, and time and again it proved not to be true. So I’ll give all the respect to General Petraeus’ remarks that are due, but every indication I get â€” and I’m on the Intelligence Committee and the Foreign Relations Committee, so I get a lot of information on this â€” suggests that it is virtually impossible that he’s going to be able to give the kind of rosy scenario that you’ve concocted here.â€
Gingrichâ€™s argument is that Democrats are opposed to victory and committed to defeat, and this is why we are losing in Iraq.Â In short the Democrats, through their lack of patriotism, are losing the war. This argument plays well with the loyal right wing crowd, but the problem is that when Gingrich claims that the Democratic position is committed to defeat and opposed to victory, he is also criticizing the patriotism of about 75% of his fellow countryman. The flaw in the Gingrich logic is this. He assumes that 30,000 additional troops are going to be able to turn the tide in a nation of over 26 million people. He assumes the current strategy will work. However, the amount of additional troops needed to make this strategy work is estimated to be more like 100,000-150,000. This is a question of either finding a strategy that works or getting out or Iraq. The status quo wonâ€™t cut it.
If we have millions of friends in Iraq, where are they? Why arenâ€™t they doing the fighting and handling the security in their country? The reality is that the United States has few friends and enemies on all sides in this conflict. The number of American troops who die in a month is not an adequate measure of either the security situation, or the governmentâ€™s ability to govern in Iraq. Petraeus isnâ€™t going to come back with a report that says the U.S. is failing in Iraq. At heart, he is a solider. He wants to believe in the mission. He has to believe in the mission in order to be able to do his job. I think Feingold is correct the troop surge will probably keep being extended until President Bush leaves office. Newt Gingrich can say that Democrats are committed to defeat, but people like himself are ensuring it, by supporting maintaining the current policy.
Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com. Â His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politicsÂ
Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse