Democrats and the losing, anti-war line

I once heard a fellow say, "If you don't believe it, it's not because there's not enough evidence for you to believe it."

As in so many circumstances in politics, this pearl of wisdom applies to the war in Iraq. Democrat leadership keeps saying they don't and won't believe that we're having success in Iraq, but it's not because things aren't going favorably for the good guys.

Such is the case with the Democrat leadership on all matters Iraq. Maybe it's just me, but I'm thinking the Democrats have invested a lot in seeing the United States not win in Iraq. So many have invested politically in our non-success that they don't want to hear truth and they ignore evidence. Conversely, Republicans were so politically invested in winning that we ignored Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's failed war policies early on.

For evidence of this failed investment, one needs to look no further than their local headlines before Gen. David Petraeus testified before Congress. Talk about a rush to pre-judgment.

"Democrats Already Discrediting Upcoming Petraeus Report," bannered an story. Leaving any doubt that Sen. Harry Reid knows the heart and mind of one of the most respected military leaders our country has produced, the majority leader proclaimed, "(Petraeus' report) will pass through the White House spin machine, where facts are often ignored or twisted, and intelligence is cherry-picked."

As if that weren't conclusive enough, Reid impugned the general's integrity with this gem: "He has made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual."

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois came out with this whopper. "Even if the figures are right, the conclusion is wrong."

And, perhaps my favorite of all, wanna-be president Sen. Joe Biden -- a self-proclaimed civilian expert on foreign affairs -- had the impudence the week before his testimony to declare Petraeus is "flat, dead wrong."

Frankly, I agree with those who believe the execution of the war under Rumsfeld was abysmal. Sen. John McCain and others were correct when they said at the outset of the war that we didn't have enough troops in play. We now have employed a strategy devised by those on the ground, using reasonable and objective standards, who say we can win this thing if we just show some resolve.

The Democrats constantly referred to Iraq policy as a failed policy, and called for a new strategy.

But when the president and his new team devised the "surge" strategy early this year, Democrats acted like a 6-year old who didn't get the video game he wanted for Christmas. After much counsel and debate, the president and his team recommended more boots on the ground.

More troops allowed the Syrian and Iranian borders to be more secure, and kept out more of the agitators.

It also allowed a ring around Baghdad to keep the bad guys out, letting the good guys, led by the Iraqis and reinforced by U.S. troops, go door to door, flushing out insurgents. This new strategy worked to create tangible results and is trending this brutal war in the right direction.

Predictably, the president's move to draw down troops over the coming months isn't enough for the naysayers.

Some months ago, the Senate voted unanimously for Petraeus to take on the job of executing the new strategy in Iraq. Why? Because Petraeus, by all accounts, is a stand-up guy.

Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called the general "America's finest." called him "General Betray Us."

McCain called him the most impressive man he'd seen in action in a long time. Allies of the Democrats call him a war criminal.

The facts and evidence in the general's testimony were supportive of the new strategy. The military objectives of the surge are being met. Violence is declining. Petraeus will withdraw a brigade of combat troops in mid-December, followed by reduction in more troops over the first half of 2008.

Today, locals are working with the U.S. military. Many who were enemies are now our allies. We're trending in the right direction.

Fact is, if you're going to invest in the failure of this effort in Iraq, enough is never going to be enough. It's unfortunate but it's where we are.

No insult toward a soldier is more injurious than to be accused of betraying his country. Petraeus accepted one of the toughest assignments in our nation's history, and is investing his life to keep us safe at home.

The way Petraeus has been treated by anti-war zealots is testament to how even good soldiers will be treated if they don't accept the losing, anti-war line.

J.C. Watts writes twice monthly for the Review-Journal. He is chairman of J.C. Watts Companies, a business consulting group, and the former chairman of the Republican Conference of the U.S. House, where he served as an Oklahoma representative from 1995 to 2002. His e-mail address is