by Peter Bearse Ph.D.

The votes on Iraq by Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and other politicians that make up the new Democratic majority in the Congress represent a mirror image of the bad qualities that they use to splat-paint President Bush -- ignorance, arrogance and unconstitutionality. So the Iraq war was unconstitutional and based on poor intelligence! -- Democrats were not elected to replay the tape of an old, bad movie but to set a new course. Lacking such a strategy and contrary to the Constitution, they try to play Commander-in-Chief and micro-manage foreign policy. They foolishly ignore new and better intelligence. They arrogantly presume to misread and judge the President’s intentions, as if they are still driven by the same “anti-Bush” theme that got them elected in ‘06.

One can’t help but recall the “loyal opposition” that helps a democratic system to work. Democrats have gone from one extreme to the other. Most of them were so “loyal,” as a largely unquestioning minority from ’03-‘05, they followed the President like lemmings over a cliff, voting to hand him power, a blank check, to execute a “war of choice.” Now they can’t even provide any benefit of doubt as they act like a disloyal majority. Mean-while, there’s room for doubt, lots of it. Consider some key questions:

* Does the President’s new, “Petraeus” strategy embrace learning from experience? [YES, but Democrats don’t even allow the question, let alone the possibility that the President is capable of learning anything}

* Is the new strategy the right one even though arrived at belatedly? [YES, for many reasons rooted in fact and history, but Democrats ignore the possibility. They’re not prepared to talk “strategy,” lacking any but a defeatist idea of what it might be.]

* How can we hand responsibility for Iraq to Iraqis without appearing to withdraw in defeat with our tail (and no onions) between our legs? [As a majority, Democrats now have prime responsibility to face the consequences of our being in Iraq, but do they not offer defeatist answers to this key question?]

The fact of the matter is that we have not been defeated in Iraq -- nor can we be -- unless we choose to defeat ourselves through knee-jerk, defeatist overreactions to media coverage. We have constructed several massive military bases in Iraq. There they will remain for years to come until the country stabilizes with some form of democratic government in place. We can move U.S. Army and National Guard troops out of harm’s way. We can adopt a patient, selective, unpredictable “shock and awe” strategy.

Al Queda-in-Iraq’s only hope is to take power locally in some Iraqi cities and towns. There is no way they can take over the whole country. If the Petraeus strategy fails or its successes are spotty, let us withdraw to our bases and offshore floating fortresses in the Persian Gulf. Let it be known throughout Iraq that Islamist-fascist control of any locality will subject that place to massive assault by U.S. Marines and Special Forces – at times and places of our choosing. Nationally, we can continue to support the Iraqi national government with military and non-military foreign aid – if they want our help and can honor performance benchmarks for its use.

Democrats have consistently refused to assume responsibility for what may happen in Iraq from this point forward, even though some students of the Middle East, Sen. John McCain and other Republicans point to potentially “disastrous” consequences if defeatist Democratic policies are followed. Unfortunately, as their recent votes reveal, Rep. Shea-Porter and most other members of the new majority are disloyal legislators, representing polls and political opportunism at the country’s expense.

PETER BEARSE, Ph.D., Fremont, 895-8487, International Consulting Economist who expects to soon return to Iraq to help provide non-military, development assistance. 4/28/07.