That isn’t an opinion, it’s a statement of fact. If you want proof, I’ve got tons of it. Let’s start with Jack Reed’s ‘rebuttal’ of President Bush’s speech:

Tonight, a nation eager for change in Iraq heard the President speak about his plans for the future. But once again, the President failed to provide either a plan to successfully end the war or a convincing rationale to continue it.

The truth is that Jack Reed didn’t hear a “convincing rationale to continue” the war because he’d made up his mind months ago. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to say that he made up his mind in 2002 when he voted against authorizing the President to take military action in Iraq.

As for Sen. Reed’s claim that President Bush didn’t provide a convincing rationale for continuing the war, what doesn’t he think this paragraph provides that rationale?

In Iraq, an ally of the United States is fighting for its survival. Terrorists and extremists who are at war with us around the world are seeking to topple Iraq’s government, dominate the region, and attack us here at home. If Iraq’s young democracy can turn back these enemies, it will mean a more hopeful Middle East and a more secure America. This ally has placed its trust in the United States. And tonight, our moral and strategic imperatives are one: We must help Iraq defeat those who threaten its future and also threaten ours.

Why doesn’t Sen. Reed think that breaking the terrorists’ backs in Iraq is a worthy mission? Why doesn’t Sen. Reed think that preventing state sponsors of terrorism like Iran from dominating the Middle East is a worthwhile mission? Doesn’t Sen. Reed think that keeping our word with a freedom-loving ally is worthwhile?

When Sen. Reed wasn’t mischaracterizing President Bush’s plan for defeating the terrorists, he was mischaracterizing Gen. Petraeus’ testimony:

Yet, as General Petraeus has repeatedly stated, Iraq’s fundamental problems are not military, they are political. The only way to create a lasting peace in Iraq is for Iraqi leaders to negotiate a settlement of their long-standing differences.

Sen. Reed knows that that’s nonsense. You must defeat the enemies of the elected Iraqi government before you can have longlasting political progress. That means killing off the terrorists. If you don’t do that, the government can’t operate and the civilians have to live in fear, just like they did when Saddam was ruler.

I watched most of Gen. Petraeus’ testimony. He made it especially clear that the military had to take action in Ramadi before reconstruction could start. That was imperative because Ramadi was a terrorist stronghold. Notice that I said was. Ramadi is now well on the path to rebuilding. During his allotted time, Sen. Norm Coleman, my senator, spoke excitedly about how the Ramadi mayor told him about eventually building a resort area.

By the way, doesn’t the thought of building a luxury resort in Ramadi speaks volumes about how much progress has been made in Anbar Province?

It was a mere year ago that so-called military experts wrote off Anbar as being a permanent AQI stronghold and base. I’d say that it’s nothing short of amazing that Anbar, especially Ramadi, went from being AQI’s base of operations to being a rebuilding sectarian city.

Sen. Reed isn’t the only Democratic pessimist who’s demanding troop withdrawals. Earlier today, I wrote about Sen. Obama’s speech in Clinton, IA, which he touted as a major foreign policy speech. Here’s the main point he made in the speech:

“Let me be clear: There is no military solution in Iraq and there never was,” Obama was expected to say in a speech Wednesday at Ashford University.

“The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year…now,” the Illinois senator was to say.

Sen. Obama must be pandering to his MoveOn.org contributors because elected officials can’t be foolish enough to think that “there never was” a military solution to Iraq’s problems. Again, where’s the proof that Sen. Obama thinks that the American military can’t defeat the terrorists? How would he respond to this portion of President Bush’s speech?

Anbar province is a good example of how our strategy is working. Last year, an intelligence report concluded that Anbar had been lost to al Qaeda. Some cited this report as evidence that we had failed in Iraq and should cut our losses and pull out. Instead, we kept the pressure on the terrorists. The local people were suffering under the Taliban-like rule of al Qaeda, and they were sick of it. So they asked us for help.

To take advantage of this opportunity, I sent an additional 4,000 Marines to Anbar as part of the surge. Together, local sheiks, Iraqi forces, and coalition troops drove the terrorists from the capital of Ramadi and other population centers. Today, a city where al Qaeda once planted its flag is beginning to return to normal. Anbar citizens who once feared beheading for talking to an American or Iraqi soldier now come forward to tell us where the terrorists are hiding. Young Sunnis who once joined the insurgency are now joining the army and police. And with the help of our provincial reconstruction teams, new jobs are being created and local governments are meeting again.

Here’s what happened in AQI’s former stronghold:

  • Sunni sheikhs worked with the Iraqi military and the multinational forces to drive out terrorists.
  • Anbar citizens now provide intel on terrorist hideouts.
  • Sunnis are joining the military and police instead of joining the insurgents.
  • The economy is growing.

How dare Sen. Reed and Sen. Obama say that progress isn’t being made. How dare they say that there isn’t a compelling reason for staying on the offensive. How dare they say that there isn’t a military component to stabilizing Iraq.

Most importantly, the changes that’ve taken hold in Anbar are sustainable, long-lasting reforms because the citizens have rejected AQI’s brutality.

Here’s how other Democratic presidential candidates reacted:

DEMOCRATIC SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN OF DELAWARE:

“This is bizarre. It’s all about handing the war off to the next president. It’s not about solving any problems…All this is is a continuation of a God-awful failed policy…There is no strategy here.”

DEMOCRATIC SEN. HILLARY CLINTON OF NEW YORK:

“What the president told the American people tonight is that one year from now, there will be the same number of troops in Iraq as there were one year ago. That is simply too little too late, and unacceptable to this Congress and the American people who have made clear their strong desire to bring our brave troops home.”

FORMER DEMOCRATIC SEN. JOHN EDWARDS OF NORTH CAROLINA:

“Unfortunately, the president is pressing on with the only strategy he’s ever had: more time, more troops, and more war…Now, after General (David) Petraeus reports the surge has produced no progress toward a political solution, what does the president want? More time for the surge to work, when all of us know it won’t.”

Let me repeat what I said earlier: What’s obviously missing is the belief that the American military can defeat terrorists. That’s what the Democrats stand for. If the Democrat’s name isn’t Joe Lieberman, they don’t believe that victory is possible. Shame on them.

Despite all the information that conditions have dramatically changed in Al-Anbar, Democrats insist that President Bush refuses to change strategies. Despite all the proof that Iraqis turned against the terrorists because President Bush wouldn’t abandon America’s ally when the going got tough, Democrats insist that there isn’t a compelling reason to stay in Iraq. Despite all the proof that Iran wants to establish a regionwide hegemony the minute America abandons Iraq, Democrats think that leaving is the right thing to do.

Finally, let’s contrast the Democrats’ defeatism against what Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani and John McCain said:

FORMER REPUBLICAN SEN. FRED THOMPSON OF TENNESSEE:

“Every day, our troops in Iraq demonstrate a heroic resolve to win. I wish Democrats in Washington would dedicate as much time and energy to winning as they do on how to surrender the fight.”

FORMER REPUBLICAN NEW YORK MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI:

“The mission in Iraq is safety and security in Iraq, and of course the end purpose of that is so we can have an ally against Islamic terrorism. We can be successful in that. I don’t see the idea of running out, withdrawing and retreating.”

REPUBLICAN SEN. JOHN MCCAIN OF ARIZONA:

“I think what I find interesting is the lack of appreciation of success on the part of many of my friends on the other side of the aisle, success that we have achieved in a relatively short period of time after four years of failure under the (then Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld doctrine, strategy, which was a disaster.”

I especially love Fred Thompson’s statement because it perfectly characterizes the Democrats’ top priority. They’ve spent their time complaining about President Bush’s “failed strategy” but not putting forward a plan to defeat the terrorists in Iraq.

They didn’t put forward such a plan because it would’ve eliminated the biggest source of their campaign contributions.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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