"I believe myself that the secretary of state, secretary of defense and -- you have to make your own decisions as to what the president knows -- (know) this war is lost and the surge is not accomplishing anything as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday."
-- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, April 19, 2007
The thumping has already begun, the wailing of "They don't support the troooooops!", and if past experience is any indication, the Democrats will soon be issuing "clarifications" about what the senator really meant and trying to water down what was actually a much-needed stiff drink.
So before Senator Reid ascends the wobbly tower of public relations Jell-o, let me throw in my own opinion.
He's right. The war is lost.
It was lost long ago. Maybe from the very first day.
It wasn't lost by the troops. It was lost very much in spite of the troops.
It was lost by old men in Washington, D.C.
If they can resist the indignant cries from that small but loud percentage of the extreme right who would unconditionally support the president even if he shot up a college campus or ate a puppy on television, the Democrats might just turn back into a party with some measure of leadership.
They just need to know one thing most of all. Here's that thing, the one they might not completely know because no one on either side of the aisle seems to be able to hear the voice of the People (with a big P) very clearly,
We already know the war is lost.
We may be stupid, easily distracted, American Idol-watching children, but we know the war is lost. Speak what's true, and we'll listen, we'll listen because we already know it, even if we're not all ready to say it. We need leaders to say it and to actually lead us out of the dark.
I've had my heart broken in the past by Democrats who stood up and spoke hard truths, only to weasel and wiggle back across the line when the heat got turned up. But even knowing how it usually turns out, I do still so love that brief moment when the party of my idealistic youth stands up like an aging bull ready to take one last futile stab at the matador, forgetting for just that moment of clarity to fear the butcher's block and the Hamburger Helper yet to come.
Support the troops with more than a ribbon magnet on your SUV. Get our people out of there.