Delaware’s Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the committee, offered the
most laughable quip. He said, in so many words, that the grandstanding vote was “not an
attempt to embarrass the president. ... It's an attempt to save the president from making a
significant mistake with regard to our policy in Iraq.”

Excuse me? Isn’t embarrassing the president the over-riding reason for practically
everything the other side has done? Embarrassing the president, carried out by the left
and their willing accomplices in the mainstream media, has been honed to near-
perfection during the past six years. Sadly, it seems to work on too many Americans.

And it’s not just the left who are openly fragging our commander in chief. Senator Richard
Lugar, a moderate Republican on the same committee issued this marshmallow: “I am not
confident that President Bush's plan will succeed.”

Watching this dog-and-pony show in Washington has helped me understand, even more
clearly, what has happened throughout our nation.

Are you ready for some down-home, ranch-seasoned analysis? I can’t claim credit for
this, since Tom and Rafe have helped me hone it down to a few brief points (okay, there
were a few tense moments in the honing process, but we’re still friends).

Here goes: It appears to me that at least 51% or more of our nation’s leaders and citizens
no longer have the intestinal fortitude to win any war—domestic or abroad.

How’s that for between-the-eyes, going-to-hell-in-a-hand-basket analysis?

I’m just getting started. Here’s the worst—unless we wake up to today’s harsh realities, we
probably will never win another war.

The problem isn’t with our brave young people. So many of them understand more about
the cost of freedom and victory than their parents and grandparents. It’s obvious when
you talk to virtually anyone in uniform today. They serve proudly, but they are volunteers
who go willingly, knowing what could happen. They and their young families have been
willing to put their futures on hold and lives on the line to wage war against our enemies.

They are amazing. Truly amazing. Sometimes I wonder how so many brave young ones
have emerged from a nation who doesn’t understand the cost of freedom and victory.

Again, young people aren’t the problem.

The problem is with the Vietnam-era has-beens in Washington with no vision grander
than the next photo-op or election, or any opportunity to tear down our commander in
chief, no matter what he says. I voted for the war. Ooops, I really meant to vote against it.
I think we should send more troops….ooops, since the president is for it, it’s wrong to do
it. It really is that sickeningly clear.

The problem is also a mainstream media still locked in the 70s, when dragging down
politicians and authority figures was championed. Many in the media are too young to
remember the 70s, so apparently they have been heavily influenced by professors who
still gaze fondly at the golden era of Woodward and Bernstein when “unnamed sources”
could destroy presidents.

The problem is not our commander in chief. Though I certainly don’t walk in lock-step with
him, I can say without reservation that I have the utmost respect for George W. Bush who
has been willing to put his legacy on the line, polls be damned, setting his principles and
the survival of our nation above all else. Whether you like him or not, he is today’s
embodiment of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt, calling us to overcome our
fears and doubts for the greater good.

But George W. Bush apparently isn’t enough. Maybe he was born too late. Regardless,
too many Americans don’t seem have the stomach for winning wars anymore, nor do we
want a president who challenges us to finish what we set out to do.

The going has gotten rough, and the not-so-tough have decided to watch “Survival” and
“American Idol” instead. Reality TV has replaced reality, and it comes conveniently
packaged in 30-minute blocks so we can hit the fridge without missing another exciting
adventure before bedtime.

Too many have capitulated to leftover ideas of yesterday’s publicity-hungry ideologues
willing to do anything to grab and keep power, even if it involves failure and defeat for our
once-proud country.

What we seem to want today, unfortunately, is Bill Clinton’s type of war. Saber-rattling.
Indecision that only breeds greater contempt by the enemy. Lobbing a few bombs toward
the problem. Getting out quickly. Leaving our allies unprotected. Avoiding anything
confrontational or unpopular. Hoping that nothing bad will really happen. Blaming
someone else when it does. Keeping the polls high, no matter what it costs internationally.

But Bush is a throwback to tougher times and a tougher citizenry. Maybe we have simply
become too soft and compliant for a Bush-type presidency and a war that demands real
sacrifice at home.

Not today, apparently. War is hell, especially when it lasts more than a month or a year,
and as a nation we don’t seem to be willing to make that kind of commitment it takes to
win real wars.

If that is the case, get ready for more of what we are already beginning to witness in
Washington. We now have a Senate and Congress dominated by people who won their
power largely by reminding voters of the “quagmire” in Iraq.

So here we are. If we can’t defeat an enemy like worldwide terrorists so obviously sworn
to our destruction and so openly defiant, simply because we choose to listen to the
grandstanding Hagels and Bidens, along with the marshmallow-tossing Lugars, rather
than the iron-willed Ws, maybe we don’t deserve to win any more wars.

And if Korea and Vietnam taught us anything, if we aren’t in a battle to win it completely,
let’s stop pretending that we are a proud nation ever again.

No matter what you think of Iraq, if we pull out before the job is over, it means that we lose.

We lose there. They follow us home. Then we lose here.

Will it be peace at any cost? What cost?

Maybe it will only be 3000 at a time, but it won’t happen just in New York City. It will
happen on the streets of Hagel’s Nebraska, Biden’s Delaware, Lugar’s Indiana, and
anywhere else these monsters choose to wage their terrorist attacks.

And eventually, as in the Middle East, we will have to confront them on Main Street or
simply let them take control of entire regions of our once-proud land.

And the mainstream pundits will undoubtedly blame George W. Bush for whatever

Sadly, amidst all the windbag rhetoric, Senator Hagel spoke one major nugget of truth:
“No president of the United States can sustain a foreign policy or a war policy without the
sustained support of the American people.”

He’s right, you know. And Hagel should know. He and his cohorts have done everything in
their power to ensure that the American people don’t support our president in what is
undoubtedly the beginning of a battle for the soul and survival of our nation.

Do I have hope?

Of course!

I am a student of history, and our God-ordained land of liberty has an amazing legacy of
discovering iron-willed leaders who help us find the will to win, even during the darkest

Out of the worst moments in our nation’s struggle for independence, George Washington
and other great leaders stepped forward, calling us to sacrifice for the greater cause of
liberty, helping us to overcome overwhelming odds.

Out of the deepest rift in our nation’s history, Abraham Lincoln stood tall in helping us our
united nation would literally disintegrate if allowed to be ripped asunder.

Out of one of the worst depressions followed by an open attack on our country, Franklin
D. Roosevelt reminded us again and again that we could not give in to fear, that we could
win victory over our enemies, no matter what it cost us.

Out of the malaise of Carter’s 1970s charged Reagan, challenging us to believe in
ourselves again, championing free enterprise, building up our courageous military and
calling for less bureaucratic chains on the American spirit.

Out of the wag-the-dog idiocy of Clinton’s 1990s appeared George W. Bush who helped
us move out of recession, to overcome the worst attack on our homeland, and to stand
up for freedom, even when much of the world wanted to appease the Baghdad Madman.
He has paid a tremendous price, but as with Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and
Reagan, history will undoubtedly be much kinder to W than today’s critics.

Who will lead us out of the Pelosi and Reid-led mess into which we are slogging today?

No favorite is emerging yet, but it just might be former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, one
of the 2008 Republican presidential hopefuls.

I disagree with much that Rudy espouses. However, his stock certainly rose in my eyes
after the State of the Union address when he appeared on NBC’s Today Show to say, “I
believe we should give the president the support to do this. I want us to be successful in
Iraq. I know how important it is to the overall war on terror. Success in Iraq means a more
peaceful world for America, and it means a victory against terrorists. Failure in Iraq
means a big defeat against terrorists and the war on terror is going to be tougher for us.”

A voice in the wilderness?

He’s no Reagan yet, but he’s sounding more and more Reagan-esque.

In these days when grandstanders and marshmallow-tossers strut victoriously through
the halls of Congress, Giuliani’s words are both surprising, courageous and encouraging.

It’s wonderful to see someone that doesn’t wet his finger, test the winds, then make policy
statements to match the mood of the moment.

I don’t know if he will make a good president. I’m not sure if I would vote for him if he were
running in a primary tomorrow.

But Rudy’s got courage, unusual courage.

Our here on the ranch, savoring our cups of coffee from the mugs, my
buddies Tom and Rafe agree with me that these days we need a hell of a lot more of
what Rudy’s got!

At least that’s my view from this side of the back porch.

Tom, Rafe and I have sure had a lot to discuss during our recent coffee and bull-
sessions. Things can get pretty heated sometimes when the three of us get together,
and we definitely don’t agree on everything.

One thing we all agree on, though, is how exasperated we are with the posturing in
Washington since the overthrow back in November.

Case in point: To no one’s surprise, within hours after President Bush’s iron-willed
stand on Iraq in his State of the Union Address, the Democratically-controlled Senate
Foreign Relations Committee repudiated our Commander in Chief’s plans to increase
troop strength as “not in the national interest.”
The official coffee mug for
bull-sessions with Sterling,
Tom and Rafe.
Order yours today!
The vote was non-binding, 12-to-9, largely along party lines. For the
uninitiated, non-binding is politico-speak for symbolic. Symbolic is
another word for grandstanding, showboating, showing off and doing
anything possible to attract attention.

The problem of such wartime grandstanding is that it puts our armed
forces in the area at greater risk. Worse, it emboldens our enemies.
Much worse, it cowardly proclaims that some of our nation’s top leaders
are not committed to defeating the sworn enemies of our country.

Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican on the committee
who mind-melded with the other Democrats, offered this amazing bit of
explanation: “We better be damn sure we know what we're doing, all of
us, before we put 22,000 more Americans into that grinder.”

Does he prefer the “grinder” to be on the streets of Omaha and Lincoln,
rather than in the Middle East? Make no mistake, Chuck, the enemies of
our country don’t give a whit whether they are blowing up fellow Iraqis or
Nebraskans. Not a whit! And the extremists have vowed to use every
resource in their well-financed arsenal to kill every American who
doesn’t convert to their religion.
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Joseph Biden chairs
the Senate Foreign
Relation Committee.

Nebraska's Senator
Chuck Hagel