The real dagger pointed at the heart of the War Party isn't the Democratic mobilization that is even now gathering to bring down the GOP, it's the people Hagel's been talking to back in Nebraska, all of them rock-solid Republicans. They will prove decisive in putting the war plans of the neocons on indefinite hold:
"Hagel said even some who had previously backed Bush strongly on Iraq now felt deep unease. 'The feeling that I get back here, looking in the eyes of real people, where I knew where they were two years ago or a year ago – they've changed,' he said. 'These aren't people who ebb and flow on issues. These are rock-solid, conservative Republicans who love their country, support the troops, and support the president.'"
The neocon radio screamers and the Fox News bleach blondes are always carrying on about how it's "the Left" and "the leftists" who are driving rising antiwar sentiment across the country, but if you look at the polls, it just isn't true. Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and a Democrat running in a heavily Republican district, almost beat the GOP candidate in a special congressional election in Ohio, winning 48 percent of the vote, against the 52 percent won by Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent in 2004.
Victor Davis Hanson
Third and most important, is the battlefield, the final adjudicator of political disagreement. War more often creates political reality, rather than politics determining the course of the war. If the United States winds down its presence, curtails its losses while Iraqis beat the terrorists and ensure a democratic government, then the victory, to paraphrase John F. Kennedy, will still have a thousand fathers. WMD controversies will be a distant memory.
But if the insurrection increases, topples the government, and we withdraw from a new Lebanon, then the Iraqi defeat will be an orphan.
My own view remains absolutely unchanged — that we were right, in both a practical and a moral sense, in removing Saddam, that despite depressing lows and giddy highs, the democratic reconstruction of Iraq will work out, that an emerging constitutional government will make both Americans safer and the Middle East in general more stable, that preexisting jihadists are flocking to Iraq and being defeated rather than being created ex nihilo, that anti-Americanism will gradually subside in the Muslim world as millions see that we are consistent in our support of democratic reform, that the United States military has proved itself the preeminent fighting force in the world today and is on the offensive in Iraq and winning a difficult asymmetrical campaign, and that old allies in Europe and Japan and new ones from India to Russia will slowly come to appreciate American constancy and leadership as never before.
But I am not naïve enough to think that most Americans at this moment would agree with all — or any — of that.