A lot of voters in the recent midterm elections were not yet born when President Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, taking with him a great many good and decent Republican members of Congress. The election of 1974 gave carte blanche to Democrats, most of whom were salivating to yank the nation to the left, socially, economically and militarily. For those of us who remember those post-Watergate days, 2006 has an eerily familiar feel to it.
In 1974, as that anti-war Congress prepared to take control of the national purse strings, the United States of America was engaged in a decades-long struggle with international communism. The Johnson and Nixon administrations had told us that the central front in that struggle was located in the jungles of Vietnam, where thousands of my generation had already lost their lives fighting a war they had not been allowed to win.
In 2006, as Nancy Pelosi and her current crop of Democrats prepare to take power in Congress, we are locked in a decades-long struggle against international terrorism. The central front of that struggle is said to be the cities and the deserts of Iraq, where thousands of my sons’ generation have laid down their lives in a war they, too, have not been allowed to win.
In 1974, Americans were weary from years of slaughter in Southeast Asia. It was an undeclared war in which our forces had never lost a battle but were never allowed to finish the job. In 2006, America is again weary of war, not because we don’t believe it is important but rather because, once again, the best and bravest of a generation appear to be caught in a military meat grinder, with victory nowhere in sight.
One of the first acts of the 94th Congress, which gaveled itself arrogantly into power in January 1975, was to de-fund the war in Vietnam. As James Robbins has opined in his recent post-election piece titled “Back to the Seventies,” posted at National Review Online, the 110th Congress likely will be more subtle in its approach to de-funding the war in Iraq, both because of a potential presidential veto and because withdrawing financial support of our troops would, in Robbins words, “appear reckless to the large portion of the electorate that was not motivated by antiwar fervor.”
However, there are signs that the liberal base of the Democratic Party will not wait long for the payback they think they deserve. Before most Americans could digest the ramifications of the congressional elections, former presidential loser extraordinaire George McGovern was on his way to Capitol Hill to inform his fellow leftist Democrats (let’s just call them the “McGovern Caucus”) that they should see to it that U.S. forces were withdrawn from Iraq by next June. So much for the subtle approach. This is the same George McGovern who, when he was cruising to a 49-state loss in the 1972 presidential race, once said that America should simply declare victory in Vietnam and withdraw.
This is what many of the newly elected members of Congress believe the American people want: an unconditional surrender disguised as “redeployment.” Rep. John Murtha, golden boy of the anti-war media, has used just those words. Murtha, who is always identified by the press as a former Marine who fought in Vietnam, has said that U.S. forces in Iraq should be “redeployed” to Okinawa.
Democrats delighted during the campaign in comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. The McGovern Caucus of left-wing nut jobs who are still in denial about our war with Islamic terrorism, want us out of Iraq yesterday. Of course, that pesky U.S. Constitution stands in the way of their complete control of U.S. foreign policy, so there is only one way they can accomplish their goal: cut off funding. They may not succeed, but they will try, because they believe it is in their interest to ensure that Iraq does, indeed, become another Vietnam.