Just now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on TV, in response to the veto of the Iraq spending bill by President Bush, "The Democrats are committed to ending this war." Immediately afterward, Senate majority leader Harry Reid reemphasized that the Democrats' goal is "to end the war."
Note that they are not committed to winning the war, just "ending" it. Reid is still speaking as I write and his mantra seems to be "ending the war," which he's said several times. Wait, Pelosi again, "we have to end the war."
This is just stunning. Neither of these tiny lights of American politics (nor their colleagues) seem to recognize that just as it takes two sides to wage war, it takes two sides to end it. The Democrats think they can end the war simply by packing the troops up and bringing them home.
Is it possible for two such prominent politicians to be that stupid?
1. The war will not end in Iraq just because US troops evacuate. The insurgencies will continue more intensely. The power vacuum created by American departure will have to be filled by someone. Iran is already operating inside Iraq; we can expect their presence there to climb dramatically if the US packs up and leaves. Many knowledgeable observers say there is a real risk that Saudi Arabia will send troops into Iraq to protect Iraqi Sunnis from the Shias and their Iranian sponsors. This is a recipe for a regional war that no one wants, even Iran.
2. The enemy of the United States in Iraq is not really either Shia or Sunni militias. It is al Qaeda. Al Qaeda will not agree that the war is "ended" just because Pelosi and Reid say so. They will absolutely see the Democrat-envisioned withdrawal of US troops as a stunning victory on their part. But, in al Qaeda's mind, it will not be a fin de la guerre victory. It will be a victory that will embolden them to intensify their offensive operations against the West.
The Democrats' plan to "end the war" is really a plan to prolong it, increase its violence and bloodshed and raise the probability that the war will be brought to our shores in ways and lethality we cannot yet foresee.