Monday, July 02, 2007
Luther McLeod raised a very legitimate concern regarding the possibility that the Copperheads of the 110th Congress might be able to replicate the betrayal of the Vietnamese people by the 94th Congress, with the substitution of Iraqis for Vietnamese. While I agree with Luther's central premise that the current Copperhead ranks have a sufficiency of deserting cowards which, left to their devices, would turn and run (with some Republicans giving them a race to be first to the exit), I believe the likelihood of helicopters departing from the roof of our embassy in Baghdad to be rather low.
Richard Nixon's resignation in August of 1974 presaged an electoral defeat of Republicans that makes '06 seem comparatively picayune. The Copperheads picked up 49 House seats, increasing their majority lead to 147 seats while adding 4 seats in the Senate to raise their total to the magic 60 number. The Copperheads were actually able to add one more seat in both the House and the Senate in '76. In '78 the electorate began expressing its regret, the tide turned and Copperhead legislative power ebbed (with a few exceptions) until last year.
The point of the electoral review is that the Copperheads of '74-'77 had 'mandate' level authority backing up their perfidy - and threw it all (and more) away, much as Miz Clinton destroyed her husband's chances for passing anything meaningful during his tenure with her overreach on health care. In '06 the Copperheads 'won' by dressing their candidates up as moderates and it's very difficult to pick out a real white feather artist among the freshman Copperheads. The truly loud mouthed runners are all shouting from the parapets of their castles in the Blue Baronies.
The other truly sad factor as to why we won't be leaving Iraq as we left Vietnam is that Vietnam actually had very little strategic value. The Copperheads knew (or thought they knew) that betraying the Vietnamese people had a low geopolitical cost. The Vietnamese were disposable. The geopolitical political cost of betraying the Iraqis would be much higher and both parties know it.
The President has doubled down on the Petraeus Plan and part of the bet is laying out some very clear metrics to use as clubs come September when the Copperheads start howling again. I'll admit to a certain level of disenchantment with the President's recent play acting on immigration but I still would not bet against him on this one.
There will be a large troop draw down next year but it won't be because the "war is lost" - and it won't be a betrayal in any sense.