Investor's Business Daily has an editorial today that points out the fact that we have been here before. The political situation is quite similar to the situation not in 1994 but in 1974. That's an important point.
Democrats are hoping a nation weary of a tough war in Iraq and a campaign against an alleged "culture of corruption" will result in an electoral tsunami similar to what returned the GOP to power in Congress in 1994.
But this election is more like the one in 1974, when a "third-rate burglary" led to a president's resignation and his party's defeat, plus disastrous political and economic consequences.
Not long thereafter, we saw the slaughter of nearly 4 million people in the killing fields of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the incarceration and torture of former allies in "re-education camps" and the tragedy of the "boat people."
Two years later, in 1976, Jimmy Carter took office. By 1979, he had run our economy into the ground, with 12% inflation and 11% unemployment. Our armed forces were reduced to a shell, with — as Ronald Reagan would note in 1980 — ships that couldn't sail and planes that couldn't fly for lack of spare parts.
We saw the withdrawal of support from a steadfast ally, the Shah of Iran, and the turning of that country over to mullahs who now threaten us with nuclear weapons and aid terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. We saw our embassy officials held hostage for 444 days. We saw an emboldened USSR invade Afghanistan.
Now the Democrats want power again, exploiting a third-rate sex scandal while mocking a presidential commitment to "stay the course" in a war that, for the moment, is not going very well.
In war, stuff happens. Did Eisenhower anticipate the Battle of the Bulge? Did Nimitz plan for kamikaze attacks against our fleet? Our death toll in Iraq isn't close to the carnage of a single battle in World War II, Iwo Jima, or one in our own Civil War, Antietam.
Speaking Tuesday in South Carolina, Sen. John McCain, who knows a little about war and the consequences of weakness, said of Iraq: "Yes, we made mistakes . . . (but) we've made mistakes in other wars. There's been no war that we haven't made mistakes."
The biggest mistake in war, as we found out after Vietnam, is to give up and go home. GOP fortunes look bleak at the moment, as do prospects in Iraq. But the consequences of cutting and running, as the party of John Murtha would have us do, are far bleaker.
I have, of course, pointed this out repeatedly. If there is a precipitous pullout of American troops there will be a bloodbath of unimaginable extent. The blood will be on the hands of those forcing the withdrawal. Not on someone else's hands. Their hands. We have been here before. We must not make the same mistakes again.