Watching President Bush's latest "jaw-jaw" about the "war-war" from the White House press room, I had a Rumsfeldian revelation: a nation goes to war with the president it's got, not necessarily the president it wants.
I voted for George W. Bush twice and, if given the same options as before, I'd do it again — which says everything that needs to be said about the disastrous state of the Democratic Party.
The "Cut and Run" Democrats currently running their party believe Iraq is a war of choice. They apparently believe that if we just quit fighting and came home, all the Islamist terrorists of the world and the regimes that fund, arm, and train them would give us a big hug, and we could happily go back to debating global warming.
At least President Bush understands that Iraq is a war of choice only in the sense of "Do we attack Hitler at Normandy or Calais?" The war is on, whether we admit it or not. It's been on since the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. And as the Germans discovered in two suitcases at a train station just the other day, the war with Islamo-Fascism isn't going away.
So given the choice between "War, what war?" and "I get that we're at war, but I'm just too dumb to win it," I am forced to choose Plan B.
For most of the Bush presidency, America's been divided into three camps. One group supports the war because they support the president. Had President Gore led the invasion, these Republicans would be screaming "Where are the WMDs?" today.
Another group hates President Bush so much that they don't want success in Iraq if it makes George W. look good. They don't even bother to pretend to have a strategy for war; they just chant "Bush Sucks!" and call it a day.
Then there's the third camp of true pacifists, the Sheehan-Moore kooks who honestly believe the right response to Islamo-fascists is to literally do nothing. Fortunately, the only people who take them seriously are Democratic primary voters.
There are many Americans who find all three of these options unacceptable. I believe we represent a new political movement rising across the United States. Call us the "Victory Party." We don't care about Republicans versus Democrats. We don't care about who had WMDs and who didn't. All we care about is winning this damn war.
Unfortunately, President Bush is not a member of the Victory Party.
The invasion of Iraq was completely mishandled. What began as Saddam's paid insurgent strategy has been allowed to grow into a near civil war. Last month, more civilians died than in any month since the fall of Baghdad, and we are facing the very real possibility of Iraq falling apart, with the Kurds separating and leaving behind a failed rump state dominated by the terrorist regime of Iran.
And nobody, not even his most ardent defenders, believes George W. "Stay the Course" Bush has any clue what to do about it.
The problem with President Bush is that winning the war is not his number one priority. Other things — personal loyalty, for example — are more important to him than victory in the field. After four years of poor progress in Iraq, everybody is still "Rummy" or "Brownie" or "Stinky," but nobody ever gets dragged out of the West Wing and thrown unceremoniously into the employee parking lot, accompanied by a security guard with their belongings in a cardboard box.
My point is not that mistakes have been made. Of course mistakes get made. It's war. We lost nearly as many soldiers just training for D-Day as we've lost in the entire Iraq War.
The disaster here is that President Bush seems utterly incapable of learning from his mistakes. But I do expect — no, I demand — that he get the generals in place who do know how to win this war, and who demonstrate that knowledge by winning.
When it comes to war, there is no Karl Rovian way to spin out of it or triangulate it or push-poll it. There is only one allowable outcome to war. Victory. Period. There is no substitute.
We have to win it because our soldiers deserve it. Sending them to war without an absolute commitment to victory is a heinous, unforgivable crime by any president.
And we have to win it because, until we do, the Islamists will continue to fight and kill. Iran is close to having the bomb. Pakistan has nukes already, and is just one assassin's bullet away from going Islamist. And as Israel has demonstrated in Lebanon, anything short of absolute defeat is cheered by the terrorists as a victory, and inspires them to greater action.
After 9/11, I thought the worst possible outcome would be for America to refuse, yet again, to face the Islamists and fight. I was wrong. The very worst thing would be to fight ... and lose.
Let's hope President Bush comes to the same conclusion before it's too late.