Don't Forget the Wars

Democrats ought to stress the less-than-successful results in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Although voters rank the worsening economy as their main issue, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should not be forgotten.

Even allowing for hyperbole, presumptive Republican candidate John McCain argues that our forces may be there for 100 years. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates thinks we may need a presence in Afghanistan for the next decade since we mostly are alone there now.

How did we get to this end? President Bush abandoned the battle in Afghanistan early in his pell-mell rush to invade Iraq. Now the Taliban is on the march again, and acts of terrorism are on the rise.

In Iraq, the Bush administration's dismal failure to prepare for the aftermath of "Mission Accomplished" has left the U.S. military overextended and battle weary.

The Republicans want us to forget all of this when we go to the polls in November. The argument is that we are safer as a nation and will be under McCain. Democrats, on the other hand, are accused of surrendering, if you listen to Mitt Romney.

The Democratic front-runners are scorned for refusing to say that things have improved in Iraq since the surge. But we haven't heard these same critics call on Republicans to admit their strategies in Afghanistan and Iraq have been disasters.

Senator McCain has been willing to blast former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for his role in Iraq. But his voice has been drowned out by most Republicans, including the president, for any willingness to admit fault.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made an interesting observation in a speech at Georgetown University last week. Speaking on the issue of reforming the State Department, she said she wanted to address the future rather than the past.

Since she was an integral part of the sprint to war in Iraq and bringing democracy to that sectarian country, it is understandable.