While I'm all about tilting at windmills and taking a stand, idealogical absolutism always leaves me queasy. I'm very happy that, despite the considerable dishonest spin to the contrary, the Republican party is fairly diverse. We have a broad range of opinions on most subjects, and I like that.
This petition therefore gave me pause:
If the United States Senate passes a resolution, non-binding or otherwise, that criticizes the commitment of additional troops to Iraq that General Petraeus has asked for and that the president has pledged, and if the Senate does so after the testimony of General Petraeus on January 23 that such a resolution will be an encouragement to the enemy, I will not contribute to any Republican senator who voted for the resolution. Further, if any Republican senator who votes for such a resolution is a candidate for re-election in 2008, I will not contribute to the National Republican Senatorial Committee unless the Chairman of that Committee, Senator Ensign, commits in writing that none of the funds of the NRSC will go to support the re-election of any senator supporting the non-binding resolution.
This is a huge, unsavory and un-Republican step and it smacks of the sort of things the Kossacks did to Lieberman. Despite its focus on the Senate it also has considerable potential to hurt solid libertarian leaning republicans like Rep. Ron Paul, who, while I disagree with them on the war, are otherwise nearly exactly where I want the party to be heading.
But this Senate resolution it opposes is poison. However well intentioned, (and I readily acknowlegdge that many who look at this do so in good faith,) the resolution in question aids and abets the enemy, will demoralize our troops, and can do nothing but undermine the war effort.
This long war is tremendously important to the future of the world, not just the US. If we pull out the bloodshed will be on a scale with the Khmer Rouge, the damage to our foreign policy will be catastrophic. When we abandoned SE Asia to the gentle ministrations of the far lefts darlings, millions died. For those that can shrug off the human cost of that as a necessary omlet, well first...screw you...second, the cascade effect was terrible. The word went out that the US was weak, in decline and could be pushed around. The obvious conclusion was that the US was an unreliable ally if the chips were down.
That catastrophy helped to fan the flames of the current extreme Islamic resurgence. The revolution in Iran was partly because of the diminished respect the US held. With wahabbist and Shiite extremists already ascendant now the future consequences of a pull-out could be catastrophic on a strategic as well as human level.
We could have replaced Saddam with another, more reliable autocrat like the Shah. Picked from the army we instead chose to disband. It would have been a bit of an improvement. Note that this sort of thing was arguably necessary during the cold war when we needed reliable surrogates on our flank as we faced an enemy with 26,000 warheads aimed at us...who defined peace as an abscence of opposition to world communism. The Bush administration did not do this. They attempted to build something better and were misled by wretched intel. This was a rational mistake and even a noble one for we did NOT take the realpolitick road on Iraq....we did what Carter and others had made hollow pronouncements about for decades, we started fresh to give them a real chance at democracy and freedom...it is costly...far costlier than I imagine any in the administration thought...but it is ever so slowly making progress. AlQuaeda, sensing victory at hand in the form of a Saigon style pull-out are pushing hard to put as much blood on American TV's as they can and their media dupes are only too happy to oblige.
Despite the terrible cost, we are sloooowly making progress. The Iraqis went out and voted under threat of death while many in America balk and claim oppression at showing an ID. We have given them a pledge hat we would stand by them, and our reputation and honor dictates tha we do so. For those who sneer at honor, then basic humanity or at least enlightened self interest should give one pause from setting the cascade of horror and danger that would result from a withdrawal.
A petition such as this is disturbing and eats at the soul of the Republican party, it has far more in common with the Dems. We should be VERY cautious about turning on our own and using such heavy handed tactics, which are ripe for abuse on a myriad of other issues for which there is disagreement in our party.
In this case, the stakes are high, so very,very high, and for that reason alone I sign this petition.
Pray we don't make a habit of this.