Monday, November 19, 2007

1864 = 2008

Tigerhawk fleshes out the full correlation between 1864 and 2008, but here is one of the excellent articles he brings:
While things in Iraq could turn around again, it now looks as if the change in US strategy and the injection of additional forces in 2007 is on the way to producing a military victory over al-Qaida and domestic Iraqi terrorists. Equally important has been the decision by a number of Sunni tribes to turn against the foreign terrorists. The result has been the restoration of security to Fallujah and a large part of the country and a sharp reduction in casualties. Next November it is likely to be clear that defeat was avoided and that troops are coming home.

Another result has been that more astute critics of the war have stopped talking about the hopelessness of the military effort and switched to complaining that the Iraqi government has failed to do what they believe is necessary to achieve "reconciliation." But the development of a non-dictatorial political system in Iraq is a slow, delicate, and uncertain process and voters may not think that American senators are the best judges of how well the Iraqis are doing....

In 1864 Americans were fed up with the Civil War, in which there were days on which more soldiers were killed than have died in four years of the Iraq war. "Mr. Lincoln is already beaten," wrote Horace Greeley, perhaps the leading journalist. And three months before the election Republican leaders told president Lincoln that he had no hope of reelection. As Peter Wallison of AEI recently recalled, the Democratic platform denounced "four years of failure" in the war effort and Gen. George B. McClellan, the Democratic candidate opposing Lincoln recommended making peace on Southern terms.

But on September 1 the news reached Washington that Atlanta had fallen to the Union army, and on election day it appeared as if the North was on the way to victory. Lincoln was decisively reelected. And, according to historian Allan Nevins, "The damage done to the Democratic Party by the platform could not be undone. Its … stigmatization of the heroic war effort as worthless gave the Northern millions an image of the Democratic Party they could never forget….and would cost the party votes for a generation."

For well over a year now most prominent Democrats have insisted that the Iraq war had been lost and that the US should get its troops home as quickly as possible. It was true that the US was losing the war in 2006. Two responses were possible. The Democrats response was, in effect, "the war is hopeless, we should give up." The administration response was, "we have to do something different so that we can win."

Most voters prefer the second response - especially when it is successful.

In November 2008 it is likely to be clear that if the US had followed the Democrats' advice the US would have suffered an unnecessary defeat. Those voters who believe that the US is facing dangerous threats from jihadis may well feel that it is not safe to bring to power the party that would have brought defeat in Iraq....


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