I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Defeatism and attacks on the Commander-in-Chief during a time of war

We have a rule in our country that "attacking the Commander-in-Chief during a time of war" helps The Terrorists and emboldens our enemies. Joe Lieberman put it this way: "in matters of war, we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

President Bush said during the campaign that John Kerry's criticisms of Iraq "can embolden an enemy." And this year he warned us: "In a time of war, we have a responsibility to show that whatever our political differences at home, our nation is united and determined to prevail." And last week, Ken Mehlman gave a speech in Cleveland and attacked what he said is a growing "defeatism," and then oh-so-cleverly remarked: "Today's Democrat Party has become the Defeat-ocrat Party."

In the wake of the Bush administration's engineering of the Israel-Lebanon U.N. resolution, it looks like the Commander-in-Chief has a lot of new enemies and the The Terrorists have a lot of new allies:

National Review Editors

In addition to winning in Lebanon, Iran has the upper hand both in Iraq and in the contest over whether it will be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. If current trends continue, the Bush administration’s project in the Middle East will require the same sort of expedient we have just seen in the Israel–Lebanon conflict: a papering over of what is essentially a failure.

Dan Riehl

So, it turns out the lofty anti-terrorism rhetoric of Bush was little more than what some speech writer wrote to be read from a screen. . . . The man has looked over his head for much of his second term. Now, it's becoming more clear just how far. This will embolden the opposition in Iraq and could lead ultimately to the destruction of Israel.

Our war President has turned out to be a disgrace. At this point in world history, the Islamofascists look like they deserve to win. In fact, they might.

Paul Mirgenoff, Powerline Blog

Over at NRO's corner, John Podhoretz contends that this would mean the end of the Olmert government. I'm tempted to suggest that our government, having seemingly lost its will to oppose (or even to let others oppose) our deadliest enemies, deserves the same fate.

Michelle Malkin

Israel and the West surrender to Hizballah.

Terrorists and the U.N. win.

Peter Brookes, Senior Fellow, Heritage Foundation, NRO Symposium

If there is a clear winner in this war, it’s Iran.

Soshana Bryen, NRO Symposium

Thus far, the U.S. and Israel lose; Iran wins.

Anne Bayefsky, NRO Symposium

Kofi Annan’s wide grin, as he stood side-by-side with Secretary Rice on Friday, said it all. He won. But America and freedom’s cause lost.

Jeff Goldstein

Israel and the US have been defeated. Hizballah will grow emboldened. As will Iran.

Pamela "Atlas" Oshry, interviewer to John Bolton

Bush Administration Betrays Israel and America

Daily Pundit - in a post recommended by Instapundit: "Read the whole thing, especially if you work in the White House."

Bush's proud words of five years ago stand revealed as hollow and meaningless. What happened?

What happened was one of the biggest failures of leadership in Presidential history. Bush supporters will claim that Bush was done in by a liberal media and the ferocious hatred of liberals and leftwingers, but that is one of the things true leadership is all about: Managing and overcoming opposition in order to achieve the necessary goals - in this case, the destruction of world Islamist terrorism and the regimes that support it.

Bush turned out to be singularly ill-equipped for this task, both by skill and by temperament. His public relations management was curiously hesitant and badly timed, and, of course, his inabilty to speak effectively in public was a gigantic handicap. His temperament, it eventually became clear, was hesitant, overly calculating, timid, and "compassionate."

Compassion has its place, but not in warfighting. The Bush we know would not have pulled the trigger on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He abdicated the hard decisions in favor of political maneuvering and meaningless gestures.

As for me? I've moved on. The first administration of the first century of the American Third Millennium will, in my estimation, be remembered as one of the biggest failures of that century. Bush's great failure was, not invading Iraq, but not weathering the adversity that followed through acts of real leadership, and then pressing on with the necessary military destruction of the other regimes he, himself, named as most dangerous five years ago.

I'm hoping we can get through the next two years without any major disasters, and then I'm looking to elect a real war leader to the White House - somebody with a warrior's temperament and a leader's skills. George Bush has neither. He is a dangerous failure, and America will be well rid of him.

Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer both said this weekend on Fox that Hezbollah won and Iran has been strengthened. Attacks on the Commander-in-Chief and proclamations of American defeat are ubiquitous - among the same group that insisted for the last five years that such attacks are dangerous and wrong and that talk of American defeat helps the terrorists.

Aren't terrorists going to be so happy to see that Americans are divided in this way? Doesn't it make us less safe for all of these people to be branding the U.S. as weak losers and to be glorifying the strength and power of our enemies? Don't these people realize that we're in a war and that weakening the Commander-in-Chief with such criticisms and declaring American defeat endangers all of us?

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