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Line in the sand

House Democrats show how much is at stake in November

Issue: "Books and Movies 2006," July 1, 2006

Where have you gone, Harry Truman?

On June 16, the House of Representatives voted on a resolution that declared the United States "committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq." The resolution honored the sacrifice of the men and women who have served in the war and concluded with a vow that "the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary."

Some 214 Republicans and 42 Democrats voted for House Resolution 861, but more than three-quarters of the House Democrats-149 in all-opposed it. With that vote the dynamic in November has turned. To vote for a Democrat at the national level is to vote against victory in Iraq.

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That party's leadership and its activist base want to abandon Iraq no matter what the cost and no matter the status of the enemy. This position was already firmly held before Zarqawi was killed, and not surprisingly it hardened after al-Qaeda's No. 1 man in Iraq was dispatched. Democrats don't believe in the war, and they don't believe in the threat. Many of their "netroot" activists want to see the United States fail in Iraq because of the scorn they think such a failure will bring on George W. Bush. The inability of the country's left to beat the president in an election has led to a bitterness that is as deep as it is disfiguring.

Hardly any other issue matters in November when the gulf between the two parties is so vast. If Democrats secure a majority in either the House or the Senate, they will cripple the war effort and oblige retreat from the front lines in the war. If that happens, the certainty of another 9/11 cannot be seriously argued; only the date.

Clarity is useful in elections, and the House Democrats at least deserve our thanks for unapologetically declaring their beliefs.

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