THE SENATE Democratic leadership spent the past week trying to prove that Congress is deeply divided over Iraq, with Democrats pressing and Republicans resisting a change of course. In fact that's far from the truth. A large majority of senators from both parties favor a shift in the U.S. mission that would involve substantially reducing the number of American forces over the next year or so and rededicating those remaining to training the Iraqi army, protecting Iraq's borders and fighting al-Qaeda. President Bush and his senior aides and generals also support this broad strategy, which was formulated by the bipartisan Baker-Hamilton commission. Mr. Bush recently said that "it's a position I'd like to see us in."The Post argues that the futile result of Democratic obstructionism is to delay a decision on future Iraq strategy until after the Petraus report in September -- which is exactly what the president wanted to do in the first place! Democrats ultimately want a precipitous pullout, with the Iraqis taking over primary security responsibility rapidly:
The emerging consensus is driven by several inescapable facts. First, the Iraqi political reconciliation on which the current U.S. military surge is counting is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Second, the Pentagon cannot sustain the current level of forces in Iraq beyond next spring without rupturing current deployment practices and placing new demands on the already stretched Army and Marine Corps. Finally, a complete pullout from Iraq would invite genocide, regional war and a catastrophic setback to U.S. national
The decision of Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) to deny rather than nourish a bipartisan agreement is, of course, irresponsible. But so was Mr. Reid's answer when he was asked by the Los Angeles Times how the United States should manage the explosion of violence that the U.S. intelligence community agrees would follow a rapid pullout. "That's a hypothetical. I'm not going to get into it," the paper quoted the Democratic leader as saying.
There's no guarantee that Mr. Bush can agree with Congress on those points or that he will make the effort to do so. But a Democratic strategy of trying to use Iraq as a polarizing campaign issue and as a club against moderate Republicans who are up for reelection will certainly have the effect of making consensus impossible -- and deepening the trouble for Iraq and for American security.There you have it, from the mainstream press even: The Democrat majority under Harry Reid is endangering national security. While Republicans are working to develop an acceptable plan to ease the U.S. into a drawdown while preserving security in Iraq, the Democrats are "praying for failure," and mounting every parliamentary trick they can find to bring it about.
Since January the Senate Democrats under Reid's leadership have pushed nine votes to withdraw the troops or hinder military operations. Eight measures passed the chamber, and Congress's emergency war-funding bill with timetables was vetoed by Bush.
The American public can largely thank the Democrats' hard left antiwar faction for the endless obstructionism on Iraq policy. It's clear the Dems are driven by political calculations rather than sound military strategy. The troops in the field, the Iraqi people, and the average American voters are paying the price.