We must not allow U.S. history to repeat itself

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 27, 2004

“Those that forget history are bound to repeat it,” said Woodrow Wilson, our 28th president.

Just 30 years after our withdrawal from Vietnam familiar voices of surrender and appeasement are calling us to what could be a humiliating and dangerous withdrawal from Iraq.

Almost 25 years after he allowed Iran, a key U.S. ally and perhaps the most Western of the Middle Eastern nations, to be taken over by radical Shiites, former President Jimmy Carter had the temerity to declare the Iraq campaign “a tragedy.”

Email newsletter signup

Perhaps President Carter has forgotten the hostages in Tehran or the servicemen killed in the ensuing rescue attempt.

Perhaps the images of the severed limb of an American being displayed by one of the mongrel Shiite clerics or of Iranians desecrating the charred bodies of U.S. soldiers have faded from his memory.

Along with Carter, Teddy Kennedy (D-Mass.), Democrat presidential nominee John Kerry’s most ardent supporter in the U.S. Senate, has become the most potent propaganda weapon in Al Qaeda’s arsenal for encouraging more deadly attacks against our forces and for undermining the morale of our troops and the American public.

Thankfully, most Americans have at least enough of an understanding of what is at stake in Iraq that they are not willing to cut and run like Teddy Kennedy or others like would do if they were running things.

Most Americans do not want to return to the days of malaise and low national morale that plagued us in the aftermath of Vietnam.

Thank God most Americans have more respect and devotion for our troops today and more confidence in their mission than left-wing America has demonstrated.

Perhaps most people realize that this war is nothing like Vietnam, where after we left their country the Vietnamese did not send terrorists to attack us on our own soil.

It is incredibly nave to believe that if we pack up and leave Iraq the terrorists will be content with simply torturing and killing fellow Muslims that they suspect collaborated with us.

There will certainly be plenty of that going on; there may even be a civil war.

But whatever distractions such retributions might cause, the terrorists will still be focused on attacking us.

Even if we completely removed ourselves from the Middle East, if America completely abandoned Israel … the terrorists would still send their human bombs to kill us.

But if we stay the course, if we keep killing or capturing their leaders and their followers wherever they are … we will eventually win.

Not because we will have killed them all or even killed enough of them that they are no longer willing to fight.

We will win because we will have demonstrated to the vast majority of Muslims that we have the stomach for the fight and the tenacity to see it through.

And it vitally important that we demonstrate to the Muslim world, particularly those who want democracy, that we will not quit.

Historian and author Victor Davis Hanson says that, for a majority of Muslims in the region, observing the war in Iraq is like watching a tennis match.

They are watching us exchange volleys with the terrorists, seeing things go back and forth, and wondering which side will be the first to give up the game.

Although they recognize our power, they are unsure of our resolve to use it with the fatal certainty that they will respect and fear.

They are right to question our determination when we are plagued with liberal propagandists such as Ted Kennedy draped around our ankles trying to slow us down, impeding our chances to win.

Teddy Kennedy and Jimmy Carter and their ilk are the very ones that seriously weakened our military and national morale decades ago.

Yet they would have us go back to a period of humiliation and defeatism by declaring our cause unwise and even unrighteous.

They have apparently forgotten the first attack against the World Trade Centers in 1993.

They have forgotten the bombing of the USS Cole, the bombing of two U.S. embassies and the killing of American soldiers during the terrorist attacks on their barracks in Saudi Arabia.

They have forgotten how during the Clinton Administration our human intelligence capabilities were tremendously weakened and our military spending tremendously cut.

They have forgotten how firing cruise missiles at a baby formula factory in Sudan or at empty tents in Afghanistan were totally ineffective in preventing further terrorist attacks.

And they must have forgotten how our failure to act with deadly resolve against those behind those attacks led us to the 9/11 disaster.

Our friends and our enemies are watching closely as Ted Kennedy and his liberal allies sow the seeds of discord and failure that must not take root in their hearts and minds, nor ours.

We must not return to the failed policies of dealing with terrorists prior to 9/11 that made us look weak and vulnerable.

We must not allow history to repeat itself.